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Greg Proops, Jon Brion, Tony Visconti, Russell Brand & John C. Reilly @ Largo at the Coronet, 6/14/08

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Saturday night’s inaugural Greg Proops Chat Show at the new Largo at the Coronet Theater was a fun three-hour ride featuring music, storytelling and, of course, comedy.

The venue was close to being sold out, and the show began with one-man band Jon Brion, who threw a few Largo newbies for a loop. Some giggling people unfamiliar with his work must have figured that his sitting behind the drums was some sort of set up for physical comedy, but as he began layering some live tracks, their amusement turned to awe.

Greg Proops [LAist interview] soon took the stage and riffed on everything from politics to LA traffic to the new Largo location (with a strip club and fine dining establishments across the street, there’s something for everyone!) One highlight was his rant on people who try to pass on the right as you’re driving up steep and sinuous Los Angeles roads, and he expressed his desire to go all “Ben Hur chariot” on them.

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Next up was an unannounced guest, legendary record producer Tony Visconti, who is best known for his work with T. Rex, David Bowie, Morrissey and others. In addition to some rather funny moments, his behind-the-scenes music industry stories were fascinating—such as the time he got to hang out with Bowie and John Lennon when the two of them first met. [More stories can be found in his new book, Bowie, Bolan and the Brooklyn Boy, which he’ll be signing during an appearance at Book Soup next Saturday, 6/21/08, at 7 p.m.]

After that, Brion was up again and made good work of a number of the nine or 10 guitars sitting nearby. Then Proops invited British comedian Russell Brand to join him on stage. In a night full of comedy high points, this exchange was one of the best. Each of the two comedians is known for his rapid-fire wit and a manner of delivery that can make the most shocking statements seem endearing. The two covered everything from Blackbeard to limescale, throwing out references that would probably send even Dennis Miller running to Wikipedia.

Next up was the multi-talented John C. Reilly, whose storytelling prowess took center stage when, among other things, he told the tale of his brief journey to Sweden and the surreal day or two he spent with director Lars von Trier.

To close out the show, Reilly, who showcased his vocal chops in films such as Walk Hard and Chicago, took to the stage with Brion, Sean Watkins and Sara Watkins. They played some standards and it was a lovely way to end the first chat show.

As he was wishing everyone goodnight, Proops mentioned that his July 26 show will include Brion as well as the Flight of the Conchords. It doesn't look like this event is listed on the Largo calendar yet, but those wanting to catch the Conchords in a small venue should keep an eye on the Largo at the Coronet website and make a reservation as soon as the Greg Proops Chat Show pops up on the July calendar. If the Conchords' recent Orpheum gig is any indication, this one will sell out fast.

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A couple random Largo at the Coronet notes:

-Unless a show is listed as "sold out" on the Largo website, tickets are available for purchase at the door the night of the show. When it comes to picking up your tickets, your entire group must be present if you want to sit together. (They need to give each person a hand stamp when the tickets are picked up.)

-If you want to get a great seat, try getting there 75 minutes before the show begins--you'll get the best seats and you'll have time for dinner. Once you have your tickets in hand, there are a number of great restaurants nearby, one of the best of which is Real Food Daily, a vegan establishment that boasts a delicious "Real Food Meal."

Photo by Michele Reverte for LAist