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Arts and Entertainment

Mika Miko & No Age at the Downtown Public Library 04/20/08

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Sunday afternoon marked yet another turn in what has come to be a rather unpredictable career for Randy Randall and Dean Spunt.

The Los Angeles-based duo—who formed No Age after the demise of hardcore punk rockers the Wives—are not only known for their experimental noise rock music, but also for their extemporaneous performances in unorthodox locales.

Last November, I was lucky enough to experience one of these impromptu gigs, which occurred in the Los Angeles River. However, what transpired Sunday afternoon was entirely different altogether; it was unreal.

The mere notion of a experimental noise/punk rock show taking place in the Downtown Public Library—a location that is generally reserved for studious endeavors—is a hard to digest and, furthermore, a little unsettling. This feeling, of course, was compounded by the fact that the event was actually sanctioned by the powers that be—the police.

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Determined to break the uneasy silence, estrogen-driven punk rockers Mika Miko opened the show with giddily exuberant antics. The presence of inflatable beach balls and a miniature trampoline had clearly enlivened the audience. Yet, ultimately, it was the raucously good tunes that brought people to their feet.

Songs like the saxophone-infused "Sev", the generally unruly "Too Cute To Puke" and the Ramones-esque "Zombies Take One" enticed some into the front of the Mark Taper Auditorium. And even though the concert culminated in beach ball throwing, congo line forming, and bouncing up and down in seats, the stifling ambience was comparable to that of a high school assembly.

Randy Randall and Dean Spunt took stage shortly thereafter. As always, the overbearing anticipation built as the preparation time drew on.

The crowd was pining for some semblance of release from this constrained experience. We wanted to be loud. And at certain moments, you almost felt guilty for enjoying yourself under the given circumstances.

Randy and Dean relentlessly rocked out and relieved the crowd, unleashing generously cut noise into the palatial surroundings. The duo ran through a rather thorough set comprised of songs from 2007's Weirdo Rippers ("Neck Escaper," "Every Artist Needs a Tragedy," "Everybody's Down") and their forthcoming Sub Pop disc Nouns ("Teen Creeps").

No Age never fail to astonish me. Affording fans unique opportunities to see them perform in bizarre places like the Downtown Public Library, despite the overall reserved nature, merely solidifies my bond with the group.

All in all, the crowd and the bands seemed pleased with what they had accomplished: Yet another unprecedented step toward what will someday be considered orthodox.