Last Thursday was the perfect day to take off from work and drive up to LA. Most of the experiments I’ve tried to do in the last two weeks haven’t worked for some reason or another, so it was nice to break out of the routine and clear my head away from lab, even if only for a day.
I was pretty excited about this trip, although it didn’t really even sink in that I was going until a day or two beforehand. After taking care of some things and meeting British Joe on campus around 1, we were off to LA, Amoeba Records, and the Hollywood Bowl.
We headed straight to Amoeba upon arrival – thankfully I remembered how to get there from the last trip I took up there with P. Not that it’s all that hard to find or anything…I bought a few CDs, as did Joe, but Rosey somehow managed to restrain herself. For me, it’s kind of like my reward for not dying/going insane on the drive up. So I indulged myself, but just a bit.
After that, it was a quick hop down the street to The Cat and Fiddle, a British pub that Joe knew about. The food and wait service there turned out to be quite British in its mediocrity (we were all thinking it, but Joe was the one who said it), but the company? Well, wouldn’t you know if Owen Salerno and Tim Pyles happened to walk into the pub right as we were finishing up our meals. Talk about random. After sharing a quick chat with them, we were off to rendezvous with Rosey’s friend Kristian and head to the Bowl.
Once we got there, Joe and I parted from everyone with better seats than us (grad student salary + waiting awhile to get tickets = cheap seats). It felt like we kept climbing up and up, until finally we reached our seats – 5 rows from the back of the Bowl. Ah well. At least we were there, and pretty much right in time for LCD Soundsystem to start.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect from them. Joe saw their set at Coachella and wasn’t that impressed. I liked their new album, but I’ll be the first to admit that electronica/dance type music doesn’t always go over so well live.
In the end, I was thoroughly impressed with James Murphy and crew. It really wasn’t at all an electronica-type set – he had a full band backing him, and they were ridiculously tight. The drummer and bassist were amazing, and Murphy’s voice blew me away – even more than it does on record. Dude could literally be a lounge singer or something. He hit all the vocal tweaks in his songs dead on, playing them up for emotional appeal or just humor. In between songs he bantered about how lucky he was to be able to tour and get up on stage as a job (although he’s got plenty of other jobs as well), and joked about how they brought their own extremely wide microphone stand – because it’s slimming.
They worked through a set that included songs off both their albums, including the ever-popular “Daft Punk is Playing at My House,” “All My Friends,” “Us v Them,” “North American Scum,” and “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down.” All in all, it was a nice warm-up for Arcade Fire, even though I think it ended up being the better set of the night for me. But I’ll get to that later…