Thursday, January 15, 2009

Death... Comes to Hollywood

Wednesday night, January 14, 2009, was a definitive club experience that lifted the profile of the 3 of Clubs in Hollywood to top tier status in the pantheon of "my favorite venues". I'd been there once before to see a tremendous set by The Stevenson Ranch Davidians last July, but there were few shows there that I was aware of between then and now.

I'd like to see a lot more activity at this place because it is so comfortable and is so close to my home. Being centrally located, it also attracts the best of the East Side and the West Side audiences. At least that was the case on Wednesday when I wanted to chat with friends as much as I wanted to listen to music.

This dark little club is off Santa Monica Boulevard on Vine Street and is like being invited into someone's living room to hear some music and share some conversation. One-on-one conversation seems to be making a comeback in this digital/isolationist age. It's similar to the size and feel of The Viper Room, but without the "image" or the Sunset Strip crazies.

Walking in, the bar was so dark, I wasn't even sure I was in the right place until I entered the performance area and saw Elaine Layabout. I knew I was in the right place.

Death To Anders whipped through a super set of new and old material. While the songs from their terrific CD, Fictitious Business, are always a pleasure to hear, this was my second or third exposure to some of the new songs they're recording for their next release, and they sound even better than the others.

Amidst all the Rob Danson eye-rolling, antsy singing and Nick Ceglio's thrashing guitar and contrasting vocals, Pete Dibiasio's assured, anchoring bass and with John Broeckel driving it forward with his drumming, there's some really beautiful music going on. It's like we're witnessing these guy's lyric writing and compositional skills growing sharper and there was nothing short of group love coming from the audience. Good show.

Long Beach's The Soft Hands were up next and on my second time seeing them they really impressed me with the sharp precision of their playing and singing. It's fast, propulsive rock and roll, but played so astutely and assuredly I got hooked at the start. I need to pick up their full length CD because they sound very much the same on their recordings. Terrific energy and Matt Fry and bass player, Elizabeth Lindsey, have fine voices.

The final band was Les Blanks, who I liked when I saw them last October at the Echo Curio. Joshua Caldwell howls and shouts and wails the words and their aggressive punky music was so catchy it got much of the crowd up and dancing by the end of the evening. Not always an easy thing to do in L.A.

This was a pretty great combination of bands and audience in a swell atmosphere.


I was sad to learn today of the passing of Terrin Durfey last October, after a long battle with cancer. I'd seen him in The Jade Shader a couple of times and singing and playing keys in Pinback many times and and I admired his contribution to their live sound. My sympathy for the loss to his family and friends.

Surprised by the sudden demise of Indie 103.1 radio. I've enjoyed the many shows they've sponsored that I have attended.

Have heard talk that the upcoming releases by Elvis Perkins and Dios Malos are probably "best of year" albums. Given the quality of these artists, the rumors are easy to believe.

And on a happy note, Nikki and Aaron Embry, of Amnion, welcomed their little daughter, Mayla, into the world last week. All are well. My heartfelt congratulations to them.


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