A Review of Five Concerts in Five Nights
Last week I went to five concerts in five nights. It was a strange and unusual experience. I will review each of the shows in a second. But first I would like to dedicate the reviews to two people.
The first would be the to the guy who put those dollar bills into the urinal at the Troubadour during the Menomena show. Dear guy, I appreciate you challenging my values in regards to wealth. But in a place where two dollars doesn't even buy you a PBR, the shame and inconvenience of pulling two dollar bills out of a pisser were not worth the effort and aroma. But I did think about it for way longer than I expected.
The other would be to the lady in the front office of the Arclight who hung up on me while trying to blow me off. Look lady, all I asked for was a picture of the Silver Surfer allegedly being held in the projection room of your overpriced theater. As soon as I told you that I wanted a picture you tried to think of a way to say "no", which is retarded because all I was trying to do was show the world that no he hadn't been stolen due to lax Arclight security. But curiously you don't want me to take a picture of it, you don't want to explain why the studio didn't take it back, and you don't want to respect the local blog that broke the story, so whatever, you acted shady and unprofessionally and therefore we will continue to believe that he was stolen under your watch. Heck of a job!
So yes, lady who hung up on me while "trying" to find someone at "the studio" to pawn me off to, and dude who put two dollars in the pisser, these reviews are for you... after the jump...
Juliette & The Licks
Juliette was wild and wonderful. Her band was bearded and mighty. She ran around like Iggy, she dove into the audience like Patience (of the Grates), she looked into the eyes of the audience and enunciated every word.
And we got it.
It was a "secret show" that started at 9pm which she described as a Showcase, so who knows, maybe some bigger labels were in the crowd to swoop her away from her indie. Even if they weren't there, they shoulda been.
She asked her guitarist if he was sure he was guitarist even though he had most recently earned his living being an accountant. He wailed on his guitar. She screamed, ARE YOU SURE THIS IS REAL? ARE YOU SURE?
The rock was so good it made me want to work out so that if for some reason I was on a desert island with Juliette and she needed some really good love delivered to her that I would be ready to match her energy strength and power. But more than that, to be worthy of her.
She is the epitome of a hellion and of rock.
I floated all the way home. Which is miles. Happily.
The best thing about this job, to me, is that you get to work with great people who really know and love great music.
A few of them were going on and on about Menomena, a band I mised at SXSW, but were on the amazing Barsuk label who I love. Infact there's a short list of labels and people that I really love working with and Barsuk is definitely on that short list.
So after being repeatedly berated for not wanting to go to the Menomena show, I was given one last offer by the label and I took em up on it.
Sold out show. The kids were ready. Everything was there. But it fell so flat on me. Was it experimental? No. Negativland is experimental, Gwar is experimental, The Boredoms, Ghostland, Danielson, even the Flaming Lips to an extent, but I would not say that these guys were experimenting with anything serious other than what can happen to music when you take the soul out of it.
I sat in the back of the club in the bar with a pretty girl and we looked at how the tight shirts had their way with the curves of the bartenders.
And then when I went to pee I was offered the two dollar rebate pictured above.
Go back to grad school, Menomena.
The worst thing about this job is you end up with so many free tickets and free cds that sometimes you overlook the things that aren't being offered to you for review. And for some reason I had thought that Waters had already come and went, when that morning while doing Tonight in Rock in LA I noticed that the author of The Wall was going to play at The Bowl that night.
So I tried to unload my Datarock tickets, unsuccessfully, and took the subway to Hollywood & Highland and walked up the hill and saw a mass of ticket scalpers and possible marks and tried to make sense of it all.
It appeared that nobody was selling tickets really, but everyone wanted tickets. If one scalper ran over to the circle with a ticket (and his pants falling down) the horde would shout out ridiculously high prices. Suddenly a middle aged Middle Eastern woman approached the group and said "I have one ticket for $50". Scalpers nearly passed out, but I stayed cool and reached into my wallet. A scalper said here here but I said, ma'am I was first, here. And I gave her $60 and walked into the Bowl to enjoy my back row seat.
Because I'm a gazillion years old I'd seen Waters before. In fact his 1986 show at the Forum was one of my favorite concerts ever as it integrated a real narrative to go with his recently released Radio KAOS solo album, and to make things even better Jim Ladd played the role that he recorded on the album, of the dj talking to the troubled boy who wanted to destroy the world so as to protect it.
And I had seen Floyd at the Sports Arena which taught me every seat in the house is fine at these shows, especially at the Bowl where the plan was to get a few beers, sit back, and soak it all in.
The plan worked out nicely because the Bowl really was packed, and everyone was into it. It was Pink Floyd's greatest hits basically, which would have been fine with 75% of the globe, and was certainly cool with us.
Half way through it I realized that I was probably the only person in the place not smoking on some of the fragrant kush being passed around, and just as I thought that a guy offered to trade me a few puffs for my extra hot dog. Always being taught to be a good neighbor, I obliged just as the second set began, Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety.
The band was perfect, the singers were great, the trippy lasers above were fine, it was a beautiful evening and I floated to the subway grateful to be around during the era of Roger Waters and Pink Floyd, and very pleased to report that you can be sitting in the back row of the Hollywood Bowl and have a very nice time and see and hear absolutely fine.
The Mayan Theatre
The Format is one of my favorite new bands. They were in town to tape a DVD that they were funding with their own money. They were dressed up all sharp lookin like they were a shaggier version of Everclear. They invited a cute little string section and a horn section. And they seemed to have marketed to their biggest fanclub ever because for a band that I never hear on the radio or see on TV, they filled the Mayan with college and high school aged kids who sang along with every. single. word.
Gdub from Vox identified all of the special guests so he gets a gold star:
The Format opened up with Matches and played all the way through their newest album Dog Problems. It was simply amazing! They had a full horn section and a string section. There were tons of guest musicians. Among them were Robb and Patrick from Limbeck, Reuben's Accomplice, and Jim Adkins from Jimmy Eat World. After finishing all the Dog Problems songs the boys came back out for an encore which included songs from Interventions and Lullabies along with new songs "Janet" and "Swans." It was all perfect. I've got to say, these guys the most exciting thing happening in music right now. They're doing all this without the support from a major label, or really any label for that matter. It's all on their own terms. The music is exciting and fresh, while not abandoning everything good from the past. If you have the chance, make sure and see this band live; it will change your life.
Because I'm an old man I like earlier shows, especially in unusual circumstances. Therefore having my first taste of the Noisettes in the vinyl section of LA's biggest record store with the sun still out was ideal.
Sadly, chickie did not seem like she wanted to be there. Did not seem to want to sell us on the idea that her band was something that we should care about. And did not give us any reason to think that waiting a half hour for her to get on stage was worth the wait.
Just because you're a hot black chick with a few decent songs and a funny haircut doesn't mean that you can win us over simply with attitude.
Everything sounded like poop and if it was a bad show, fine, but it seemed to me that it was garbage in garbage out.
Photos by Tony Pierce