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The Legendary Joe Baiza & The Cardovas Live @ Taix 5/1/2007

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, June 3, 2007 11:48pm | Post a Comment
Joe Baiza is a truly unique guitarist. His guitar playing is a mixture of angular punk rock, free jazz and the funkiness of one who grew up on thousands of R&B albums. His first group, Saccharine Trust, was ahead of their time during their first incarnation. Between the years of 1981 through 1986, Saccharine Trust went from minimalist punk to free jazz and spoken word, confusing most pedestrian punk rockers that wanted to hear hardcore. After Saccharine Trust's demise, Joe Baiza started The Universal Congress Of, a band that further explored his jazz influences. Again, Joe found himself between a rock and a hard place, being too punk for the jazz purists and too jazzy for the alternative rock set. Fortunately for Joe, Universal Congress Of found success in a Europe enthralled in the Acid Jazz movement in the late 80's/ early 90’s.joe baiza

Joe continued to play in Europe for most of the early nineties until some idiotic German racists shattered his hand during a stay in Germany. He returned to Los Angeles to recover while his bandmates all remained in Germany. Joe decided to stay in L.A., starting a few new groups, The Mecolodiacs and Joe Baiza’s Congress Of, as well as reforming Saccharine Trust in 1999, who he still plays with to this day.

On Friday, I went to check out Joe’s latest musical endeavor at Taix Restaurant in Echo Park, The Cardovas. They played an all-Meters cover set, albeit with Baiza’s flavor. Normally, I don’t like the idea of seeing cover bands, but hey, it’s The Meters! And it's Baiza doing it! As I sat there waiting for The Cardovas to play, I couldn’t help but to look around. Taix looked like a punk rock rest home. I saw many people that I barely recognized from the punk scene back in the day because they look so much older. Some, like Nicky (formerly of the band Pop Defect), looked timeless. Nick is drumming in 3 bands, a sign that playing music will keep one looking young.

The Cardovas came on. It was Joe on Guitar, former Universal Congress Of bass player Ralph Gorodetsky on bass, former Claw Hammer/Devo Bob Lee on drums & vocals and local indie jazz icon Dan Clucas on the cornet. They also had an organ player as well who I did not recognize. They did all The Meters' classics, "Sissy Strut," "Look-Ka Py Py," "I Need More Time," "9 to 5," and, of course, "Cardova."

It was a blast! They were both tight and charmingly sloppy and of course, they had the funk. It was great to see those viejitos go at it. They looked like they were having a great time playing those songs. It made want to get married so I could hire them to play at my wedding.

The last song they played was "Hey Pockey Way," which is not my favorite song due to The Grateful Dead's butchering of it, but it got people up and dancing. Ex-punkers never made great dancers, so it was entertaining to watch them try to shake their thing. The band ended their brief set because they only learned so many Meters songs in the brief time they have played together. It was a bit of a letdown, only because I was having so much fun. I'm looking forward to the next Cardova show to hear what songs they will learn next. My requests: "Go For Yourself" & "Just Kissed My Baby." joe biaza


Joe Biaza 101

Saccharine Trust:

Pagan Icons (1981)
Surviving You, Always (1984)
Worldbroken (1985)
We Became Snakes (1986)
Past Lives (1988)
The Great One Is Dead (2001)

Universal Congress Of:

S/T (1987)
Prosperous & Qualified (1988)
This Is Mecolodics (1988)
The Sad and Tragic Demise of Big Fine Salty Black Wind (1988)
The Eleventh-Hour Shine-On (1990)
Sparkling Fresh (1992)

Mecolodiacs:

Glamjazz (
1998)

Puttanesca:

S/T (2006)

For more info on Joe Baiza, go here.

Relevant Tags

Dan Clucas (1), Universal Congress Of (1), The Meters (1), Saccharine Trust (1), Joe Baiza (1)