Music » Critics' Picks

The Valley Arena

Friday, September 9; Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center (3301 Lemp Avenue)



Although Long Beach, California's The Valley Arena is merely two years old, its list of accomplishments resembles that of a veteran band. After self-releasing an EP in 2003, the group met producer/engineer Jason Cupp and recorded an album, Take Comfort in Strangers, while still unsigned. Through a series of fortuitous circumstances, the disc landed on the radar of Thursday's Geoff Rickly -- who subsequently signed the Valley Arena to Astro Magnetics, the label he co-owns. Smart move, as Strangers is tailor-made for the mosh pit: Angular, zig-zagging guitars hurtle themselves around as violently as a sapling caught in the wind, while spiky rhythms and Warren Woodward's vocals -- a cross between Q and Not U's strident, peacock-strut yowls and the Cure's Robert Smith with a head cold -- battle for supremacy.

Tickets are $5; call 314-771-1096 or visit for showtime and more information.