Jukeboxparables

WT2010 – USA – Day 42/43/44 – New York, NY (Antiques, Art, Memorials & Alcohol)

Posted in Travels by jukeboxparables on April 26, 2010

WT2010 – USA
Day 42/43/44 – New York, NY (Antiques, Art, Memorials & Alcohol)
[On the iPOD] Brainiac / The Replacements / Sparklehorse / David Bowie / The Libertines / New Order / Pink Floyd / American Football / Dizzee Rascal / The Whitest Boy Alive / The Thermals / Johnny Foreigner

Heading over to Brooklyn for the last time, I wanted to see if I could find some more bargains in the excellent shops around there. Wandering into an antique furniture store for no real reason. It’s really interesting checking out antique stores in foreign countries because their cultural history is so dissimilar to anything you’ve experienced back home. Amongst the furniture were toys, instruments, trinkets and nik-naks. Something that stood out in this particular store was a huge collection of ‘Life’ magazines dating back decades. Flicking through them is like stepping back through time.

Another interesting collection near the vinyl music section of the store was a collection of photos, literally in a huge pile in a 2metre wide crate, you trawl your fingers through them finding snapshots of memories people had shared and mattered at some point in time. It’s funny how you can discern what era a photo was from by the style of print of the photo and fashion/style of the subject. There was something from every decade from the 20’s and 30’s I’d say. Another area had boxes and boxes of postcards; used and new dating from as far back as the 1920’s. I flicked through them reading the messages from sender to recipient, one dated 1917 another 1946 and another 1974. I literally wanted to read them all but it would have taken days.

Wandering onwards to a used clothing exchange, a cool shirt for $10; perfect. My stomach rumbling I wandered back to the main strip and a Pizza place. Have I mentioned New York’s obsession with Pizza? It’s utterly ridiculous, there is one on every corner and that’s not an exaggeration. This particular store had an amazing selection and was probably the best I’d had in NY. I was then staring down at the wall eating my bbq marinara ranch chicken with pineapple! when I noticed a banner reading “Welcome new recruits” and the logo reading “DHARMA” hold on…

An Internet link flashed straight into my mind. Over a year and a half ago I came across an Internet link where someone had blogged about being in Hawaii and roaming around in-where they somehow stumbled on the shooting location of the TV series “Lost” and found a whole bunch of props from the show unattended and started taking photos. I linked everyone I knew to this blog because I thought it was rather amusing (and I loved the show at the time)

I was all set to ask the attendant where the hell he’d gotten the banner but then overheard people in the booth next to me talking about it first hand; “So a guy who worked here was in Hawaii and…” (long story short It was the same guy!) and apparently he decided to take the banner as a souvenir. Here I am, having traveled 15,000km and I randomly stumble into the guy’s Pizza place staring at the very sign I’d seen online.

Got back to my hostel and spoke to a dorm mate Bryan who was going to see a movie with other pals, I ended up tagging along (the movie being Kick Ass, which is an apt movie title) Afterwards they all decided to head for drinks in Lower-Manhattan so I tagged along. Next thing I knew we were putting cool songs on the jukebox and ordering pitcher after pitcher and approaching 3am (on a tuesday mind you) we decided to grab some food and call it a night.

We were wandering towards the subway when Bryan spotted an Art mural being posted up. As it turns out the mural was this The Artist being none other than Shepard Fairey (he was actually there finishing it off) The name sounded familiar but it didn’t click. I’d soon realise it was the same artist responsible for the world-famous OBEY works. Bryan knew his work a lot better than me (I think a friend had mentioned him in passing a few years back) But it didn’t click immediately. It was quite the experience, seeing this being worked on whilst tipsy drunk in New York and actually meeting the Artist there.

The Following day and I’d been pondering visiting the WTC site. I didn’t initially want to do it, because I knew it’d effect me profoundly and I’d be on a downer for the rest of the trip which is not to be disrespectful but In the end I decided I had face up to reality and do it. I hopped a train down to the financial district and wandered about there first. I came across a man bowing down before a giant bull-statue (the symbol for wealth/wall st? I’ve been told?) I’m not sure if it was performance art or simply some poor disgruntled American whose lost his home thanks to the recent Crisis’ (He was yelling at it; “Are you mocking me?”)

I’ve always laughed off banking conspiracies (you know the ones about the major banks of the world knowingly plotting in some clandestine/cult-like fashion to control everything; a tip of the hat to the empires of Rome) It all still sounds like utter crap, except for the Architecture and sheer money put into these buildings. They do almost to some extent look like ‘holy’ shrines to a bankers/traders money-fueled way of life.

The WTC site is huge, the footprint of the area below where the towers stood is probably two regular city blocks. My first impression of the people around was one of ‘We’ve got work to do” the cranes and construction workers scaling cast-steal beams in the far distance directing the pieces of a new tower in place. Signs around me point you in the direction around the site though I stopped short at a fire-station memorial with a placard of the faces of some 100 firefighters who scrambled as fast as they could to get into the towers to help people only to give the ultimate sacrifice in doing so.

Around the corner was a permanent memorial cast into the walls of the building. Some personal effects of one of the family members hung off it along with flowers and a flag nearby. The area was mostly tourists and school kids visiting, learning about the scale of what happened and what the future of the site will hold. The plans included a few things; from a new tower, to a park, to a memorial to two huge receding 2-tiered-level square ponds (which occupy the original footprint of the two towers) which will look amazing at night I think. For now the area is a buzz with construction. I tried taking some long-distance photos of the construction workers erecting steal only to have one walk past me and whistle at his buddy 50metres up as if to say ‘look good, your on camera’.

The vibe of the area is one of reserved pride. All the workers minds are on the job; getting these plans built whilst all the tourists stand solemnly in remembrance gawking at the new constructions forming before them. I will visit this place again when it’s completed. I think it’ll be a fitting tribute, you can always trust Americans for that. America is a country built on a secular constitution and I believe this place is holier than any place of religious worship.

Wednesday night was a trip back to Brooklyn and a venue by the name of the Brooklyn bowl to see Portland’s finest The Thermals with the best Jerseygirl ever; Molly. The band played a solid set which numbered something like 16songs-18songs. It was the second show in two days (the show the night before sold out) The crowd got treated a huge selection of songs spanning all of their albums with songs from The Body, The Blood, The Machine and last album Now We Can See seeming to get the biggest crowd response. Lead singer Hutch Harris exclaiming they were playing a longer set than yesterday because It was the last show of the tour, he also mentioned their new album is finished and being mixed by Chris Walla and will be out soon. For me; “Here’s Your Future”, “We Were Sick” and “I Called Out Your Name” were stand-outs. The band also played the song off the split 7″ vinyl they’ve released with The Cribs (which I hadn’t heard yet) amongst other new material which sounds rad overall. Full of energy, but plenty of room on the floor. The Brooklyn bowl is amazing; It’s a bowling alley and a restaurant and a venue in one. And you can see the band no matter what your doing! They even had projection screens above the ten-pins so you won’t miss anything if you’d rather bowl and drink and have the music as a live soundtrack.

Thursday, Last day in New York. I was considering visiting The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) because people have said it was ‘good’ but I kind of felt “museumed out” but after hearing Bryan and Ed rave about some of the installations there I knew I had to go. Luckily it closed 8:45pm on a Thursday. Little did I know what I’d run into…

I was expecting another run of the mill gallery, instead I got 6 levels of wow. Ill quickly summarise some of the stand out moments. Marina Abramovic is a performance artist who uses her body as her medium. She’s been doing this since the early 1970’s (in installation form) and MoMA just happened to be showing a retrospective of all of her ‘works’. For the first time, her older works were being performed by other people whilst she was present in a new piece which struck me as soon as I walked in.

It was a room with a square painted on the ground; A table in the centre and 2 chairs, one with Marina sitting there in an eye-catching red ceremonial style gown and the other free for members of the audience to participate in. People queued around the square watching on as Marina and a member of the public stared each other down. There was no time-limit for a person to sit there, some took 5minutes some an hour or more. I actually walked through other exhibits and came back to find the same women sitting there. For some it was too much, they’d leave with tears in their eyes perhaps recalling sad memories or successfully having read some in the blank stare of the artist herself. The performance was filmed and streamed on the Internet live and a photographer took photos of the participants which you can find here I overheard an array of comments from; “How completely lazy” to “I don’t think I could go up there” and “This is intense”. My interpretation of it was a commentary on the interaction between people on a daily basis, the distractions of speech and meaning removed.

I wandered through the works of Picasso for sometime then eventually moved on to more modern works like those of Kentridge. On my way up through the levels of sculpture and design I reached the second last level and walked in to find Van Gogh’s The Starry Night staring me in the face. I kind of froze, In the single art class I’d failed in high school we were made to re-draw this painting. It took me awhile to adjust to realise I was actually looking at the real thing (I wasn’t aware it was hung in America let alone the museum I’d just wandered into on a hunch) It is one of my favourite paintings to this day. Nearby were other Van Gogh works as well as those by Munch, Cezanne, Matisse, Picasso and Dali. What can one say other than wow.

I’d missed some of Marina Abramovic’s other retrospective works however I think they had closed for the night. They were being performed by other people one of which an interpretation of her 1974 work entitled “Rhythm 0” was chillingly retold to me by my mates at the hostel it goes like this;

A woman was in a room by herself, only accompanied by a table with 72 objects on it; including scissors, markers, a whip and knives and a gun with 1 loaded bullet. The audience was instructed to use the objects on the women as they saw fit they were also allowed to put her limbs in any position. Initially people used the markers to draw on her and put her arms in certain positions but as time went by people started to use the knives to cut her (on the face) and it all slowly culminated to the point where an audience member, grabbed the loaded gun, placed it in the hand of the women, moved her arm and pointed the gun towards her own head and began to pull the trigger only to have the audience gasp in shock horror and head to pull it away.

MoMA really is one of the best museums I’ve ever been to. My last stop before closing however was the Henri Cartier-Bresson exhibition. Basically he is the original intrepid exploring photographer. Starting in the 1930’s. As you enter the walls are plastered with maps of his journeys, he literally travelled everywhere before the average person knew what ‘there’ looked like and he took a huge array of photos being published by magazines such as Life, he also helped establish an photographers right to own his work. India/Indonesia during Independence / China during the revolution / USSR and the death of Stalin / The American post-war boom. He covered everything from the average shot of the everyday person to portraits of icons. I kind of got inspired after seeing his work and travels. Just thinking about it all logistically (how one traveled the world with camera gear in the early 20th century) It was utterly impressive.

I wandered around towards the Apple store on 5th Ave and that was pretty much the end of the day, my last set of photos in New York were black&white of random people interacting on the sidewalks of Midtown Manhattan some sort of pathetic attempt or homage to Cartier-Bresson? I don’t normally focus on strangers but I thought I’d give it a shot.

Later that night involved vodka, beers and generally a good time at the hostel (a hostel party of sorts)

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WT2010 – USA – Day 24/25 – Portland, OR

Posted in Travels by jukeboxparables on April 7, 2010

WT2010 – U.S.A
Day 24/25 – Portland, OR
[On the iPOD] The Libertines / The Sonics

Sunny sunny Portland! I’d found something out from the locals, they discern who ISNT from Portland by the simple fact they carry an umbrella. Apparently the done thing is everyone wears hoodies to fend off the rain and rain it does in Portland (a little too much this week) It is the most bizarre weather I’ve ever seen. You could compare Portland to Melbourne but the fact of the matter is it never rains more than 5minutes, not sure if it’s the way the landscape surrounding Portland is organised but those rain clouds roll in and roll away before you’ve had a chance to get our umbrella wet. Mostly it’s sunshower drizzle and a trusty hoodie will get you through the day.

I headed over to the Portland Craft Museum, it doesn’t sound very enticing does it? I had my doubts too but I was running out of options in the rain. Some interesting subversive ‘hack-art’ mostly surrounding clothing. A local artist had modified two bicycles and rigged them to a sewing machine to faux canvas clothing. It was a human-powered production line, perhaps protesting modern production line clothing or the hours it takes to produce such clothes using human power in protest of sweat shop labor. I’m not too sure frankly, its rather subjective. Interesting none the less. Another display featured giant blanket with the Nike swoosh which was collectively sewn by hundreds of people around the world and then delivered to a CEO at Nike in protest of their sweat-shops. The piece I liked the best however was a bunch of letters stuck to a wall.

They were letters written by a former gulf-war marine address to various heads of organisations such as America’s ambassador to the UN, the secretary of Defence and so forth. Next to them were the replies. Basically they were short and to the point letters (half a paragraph) praising efforts of the recipient on sticking to their intended goals re: the current wars in Iraq/Afghanistan and mildly suggesting an opposition to it. Enclosed with the letters were home-made pots with Army-inspired themes as gifts to the recipients. It’s kind of jading reading the robotic replies. The last was addressed to the representative of China to the UN praising China’s efforts to oppose to the war, next to the letter was the pot (returned to sender unopened) It’s funny how American politicians are happy to play the game and be all smiles whilst the Chinese just don’t give a toss. No photos of most of the exhibition (not allowed)

I later headed to a popular music store called Jackpot Records (bands play in-store showcases frequently) See The Cribs doing so right here I was after an album by a local band called Yacht and found a cheap used copy but they couldn’t find the CD! So I asked if they had The Cribs latest album on vinyl which they didn’t. The guy felt genuinely bad for me leaving empty handed so he ended up giving me a Cribs T-shirt which were made specially for the in-store appearance (a limited set) for free! Radness. I also picked up a present for a friend.

The rain was picking up so I again headed to the only point of comfort nearby The Powell’s bookstore. I’m not sure if I put into perspective what this store is to Portland, it’s more than a bookstore it’s like a meeting-point and hangout for all of Portland it seems. The place is ALWAYS packed they have a cafe in there which serves epicly good coffee and tea and the independent feel of the store and it’s selection of new and used books make it a place you can keep going back to without getting bored. Did I mention it has 4 levels and spans a city-block? I stayed in there reading The Zinesters guide to Portland. Written by a local bunch of Zinesters (A Zinester is someone who makes Zines; home-made, photocopied magaZINES which usually contain creative writing on topics of sub-cultural themes which are mostly autobiographical) That’s a poor description but you get the jist.

The book apparently started as a zine itself, with a bunch of ‘cool places to go and see’ in Portland written for out-of-town zinesters visiting for a zine symposium. If I say zine one more time i’m going to explode. But anyway it’s now a 100+ illustrated book, its quite amazing actually. I learnt a few things like theres actually 5 quadrants to the city (NW, N, NE, SE, SW) and Portland has 12 bridges! (8 in the immediate city area) Bridgetown indeed. Sipping Japanese sencha tea I totally lost track of time.

No cool gigs on Friday unfortunately though the night before I’d headed to see a band at a venue called Holocene. “The Morning Benders” out of San Francisco. They’re opening song was brilliant kind of an oldschool british post-punk vibe to it with working up rhythms. But then they settled into the ‘sound of today’ or falsetto folk-pop. They’re ultimately a soft folk-pop band along the lines of Grizzly Bear, Fleet Foxes, Vampire Weekend. But not as memorable really. If only they’d stuck to that post-punk opener instead of conforming to what’s cool right now. I kind of left not really that interested. Good venue though.

Saturday involved getting out to “the real portland” on my own. The NE and SE. Basically these quadrants all have ‘suburbs’ or areas but when someone asks where your from people usually reply by the quadrant. In the NE it’s Alberta St that featured a bunch of cool little shops and restaurants, it was a shame about the heavy rain or I would’ve explored more. I settled for lunch however and next headed to SE Hawthorne Pde. This place reminded me most of home, or that is Newtown in Sydney. Not as big or as crowded but good original stores and restaurants. Theres the best damn used clothes store I’ve ever seen called Red Light. I tried on two jackets, 1 of which was too big and the other too small (DAMNIT!) because they were an utter bargain and totally cool. Theres racks and racks of vintage used t-shirts. Girls would probably go insane in this place. There was only a small section for mens clothes with the rest of the store for women. A Madonna album played in the background whilst I flicked through original run Simpsons T-shirts. Early 90’s flashback much! Ack.

I tried to go to a park East of Hawthrone Pde but it turns out it was a damn Forest again, PDX likes its inner-city forests. After shopping around for a bit I ate and then headed back early to relax for a big gig that night.

A show at the Doug-Fir (a snazzy newish-looking venue) I don’t like that “new-polished-bar” venue appeal but I’ve gotta say they have the best sound tech/setup I’ve probably ever heard. Utterly perfect. I say ‘big gig’ because headlining was current hyped “IT” band “Surfer Blood” from Florida. Even JJJ back home has been sprucing them loudly. They’ve got a sort of Surf-Pop 60’s vibe to them, but not in a raw-garage way. More in a Beach Boys kind of way (minus the keys and multiple voice harmonising or epic genius layering) I’d like to say they were all that, but they looked about 17 years old and though they were tight they pretty much had the appeal of a young band. IE; Not much. They have some stand out songs but overall it’s a bit too simple in parts. The venue was packed (near sell out) but no one seemed to be dancing to it. All hype? No, there are some points to write home about, but they’re no Arctic Monkeys (and look where they’ve gone) Time will tell I guess.

But but but the band before them by the name of “Turbo Fruits” from Tennessee were wholey entertaining and in parts; a flat out riot. This is probably due to the fact they have a former member of “Be Your Own Pet” It’s raw 60’s garage rock/pop meets a Southern-knee-slapping good time. At times a little too much so (I almost mistook one of their songs for Kings Of Leon) but thankfully the vocals sound nothing along the lines of that accent. They played two covers; CCR – Bad Moon Rising (in a garage style) and then The Undertones – Teenage Kicks, which was spot on. If anything the band doesn’t have the songs as yet (a short set with two covers) but they’re one to look out for. I met some cool people later on and then stumbled home. Just like that Portland came to an end. Farewell Bridgetown, Beervana, PDX, Stumptown and The City Of Roses.

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WT2010 – USA – Day 17/18 – Los Angeles

Posted in Uncategorized by jukeboxparables on March 27, 2010

WT2010 – U.S.A
Day 17/18 – Los Angeles
[On the iPOD] The Smiths / The Cure

I felt like I needed a change of pace from driving everywhere, even though I’d only been doing it for two days. I found some interesting directions to something called The Giving Tree, which I’ve since learnt is based on a book. Basically it’s a ‘hidden spot’ in the hills surrounding L.A well known to hikers but not really anyone else. So I went to check it out early in the morning.

The directions were purposely poetic, I wasn’t sure what to expect really but as instructed parked in a certain car park and saw a bunch of joggers/hikers heading up this trail where the road/car park had ended and the hills somewhere near the Hollywood sign began.

When I say poetic; think along the lines of “When you see the dragon on your right, you’ll know your on the right path” etc. Amusing, but an adventure none the less. I followed the directions and as the trail path began to rise I started to wonder how far this damn tree was going to be. Eyeing the path on the other side of the valley, it looks like it winds kilometres and kilometres which I wasn’t exactly dressed for hiking. Though passing sweaty hikers on the way down I continued to climb and climb.

Eventually you could see the Hollywood sign to your distant left, It would’ve made a good photo but theres a hill obstructing “HOL” so I pressed on. And then after some more twists and turns there it was on the right; a large grand tree with an open-knot-burrow in the centre of it and a red box placed right before the hole. It’s called the giving tree but it might as well be called The Wishing Tree I suppose. People have written their wishes on hundreds of different pieces of paper and placed them in the box or in the tree itself. Somehow they seemed in good condition, it must shield them all from rain naturally.

It wasn’t utterly awe-inspiring but I think it’s more of a destination to make you actually trek the 1.5km or so up the hill “It’s the journey, not the destination” type deal. The hills in that area are actually rather amazing and so is the view. If someone had suggested I go for a hike I probably would have told them no thanks (in a more abrupt way)

So I trekked my way down, sliding in places in my grip-less chuck taylors. Basically every hiker would greet you with a smile and a ‘heya’ I also observed a lady with seven, yes seven dogs in a range of sizes all on their own leash. How one is supposed to hike with that much chaos is beyond me.

I then headed to MOCA; the Museum Of Contemporary Art which currently was hosting a “30years of MOCA” exhibit. Some interesting works, mostly I found myself sighing at some works. Contemporary Art isn’t really my thing but I suppose that’s part of the experience you find yourself loving some things and hating others. Some of the photographers works on show were pretty mind blowing. I generally dislike work “setup or staged” to provoke, its just really hard to do it and not be cliched. Even though these were master photographers I found myself scoffing at some artful shots. Someone has to do it I suppose.

When photographers are more candid, its wholly more interesting to me. The best photography in my mind are shots that are entirely spontaneous and then capture the moment in a way that almost makes it seem as if it were staged. I guess you could say “documentary style” but alluring to something more, something “almost staged” perhaps it’s their subject matter that makes them seem this way. Nan Goldin and Larry Clark were standouts for me.

The MOCA exhibition actually had two venues, the other being in Little Tokyo 10blocks or so away, So I made the trek over and it was worth it. I had three! different people randomly come up to me and comment on my shoes (Im currently wearing mis-matched cons because I wore the inside of one out in Tokyo) or maybe I’m just a hipster wanker.

Too much walking! so I headed back to my hotel and decided to head to a venue called Spaceland at night. After missing out on the soldout gig at The Echo the day before I really really didn’t want to miss another show. Heading there like 10pm I circled the venue for parking for like 10minutes! Shows are really popular in L.A apparently. I kept getting further and further away until I was like 6 blocks away and it was past 10:30pm I thought; to hell with this and headed to the venue from the night before The Echo; which was bound to have some good music right?

$12 entry and I walk in to find lazers hitting my eyes, people wearing hoodies and some hip-hop/electronic mashup stuff on stage. Ohhh FFS!….. As much as this isn’t me I decided to get a drink anyway because I couldn’t be bothered driving anywhere else. The headline band was more electronica and better than the one before / had a guy with a guitar; this looked slightly more promising.

Queue a bunch of knob twiddlers hitting the stage and playing a bunch of samples on laptops and then a guy in a mask stage diving over and over whilst his laptops played his sick mixes. /cuesarcasm I was thinking wow these guys are really good. /endsarcasm. They naturally had projectors running in the background of their set bombarding the crowd with a visual art component which had to win some points or something. One screen played a bunch of handpicked retro cool 80’s videos which I must admit were rather amusing. The other screen however was connected to a laptop which was connected to a webcam pointed at the crowd which was connected to… yes you guessed it, chatroulette. Needless to say I called these guys knob-twiddlers at the start of this longwinded paragraph and then that’s exactly what we all had to witness on a 100″ projector screen. Cocks and Electronica… and I paid $12 for this. What worried me more was the excitement of some “doods” in the crowd at all this.

They did have one or two good tracks though I must admit. Still.

Anyway long story short, I met some cool people who ended up showing me around Echo Park / Silverlake one bar featuring a wank security guard who didn’t want to let an Australian in. We eventually found some bar with a couple of free seats for drinks though. So in the end it was a good night!

Part of the reason the gang was in a rush to show me around Thursday night was because I was sure I was checking out Friday morning. I checked iCalender the day before, where I’ve planned everything out and sure enough I was. Fast forward to me rushing in the morning to get my stuff packed and taking 30minutes to find my spare doorcard which I couldnt checkout with to then rush to reception to ask for checkout; only to be told I’m checking out tomorrow! She was right. Id somehow stuffed up the calendar entry on my laptop. So with a free day to spend circa 12pm already and nothing planned I decided to head to LACMA.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art; which had two exhibitions one on the last 30yrs of Renoir the other on American Stories (Collection of classic American Art) I don’t have any photos because they weren’t allowed but I’ll just summarise by saying the American Stories exhibition was eye opening and really good. I had lunch beforehand which was rather disappointing. A “side” was listed as “home-made crinkle cut chips” I was thinking something else; eating steak with potatoe chips (per you’d find in a plastic packet ala doritos) is a recipe for a coronary disaster eww.

Friday night in L.A! I’ve got to say up until this point it’d been disappointing. Some good shows but just not hugely memorable. Well Friday night L.A finally!! delivered. Theres a venue known mostly to locals that goes by the name of “The Smell” it’s been around for awhile and was quite notorious back in the day for being dingy as hell; I’ve heard stories of it from punk peeps who have talked about having to dodge dumpsters, garbage and the odd hobbo fight to get there and struggle to find the entry of it. Police constantly patrol the area to keep bad shit from going down.

Though I’ve gotta say that’s all in its past. It has a website now and everything. Basically it’s an artspace/warehouse off a lane in L.A that looks kind of dingy but definitely has character. It’s All-ages, No Alcohol and most of the time ALL bands are $5. These are basically the venues 3 rules. There were five, yes five! bands on the bill starting from 9pm. $5! Brilliant.

I turned up kinda early to find people slowly walking, no music yet so I sat on a couch and noticed they have a permanent in house ZINE collection as well as a book shelf. I picked up a zine called “These Days” as was blown away. Couldn’t put it down and wanted to steal it. Maybe I’ll find it online.

Eventually a band kicked off and people slowly made their way to the floor (the opening band plays on the floor) but they were rather impressive. “Wounded Lion” was their name. They had a 60’s garage-rock vibe with a bit of surfrock, lots of reverb on guitars etc. They actually changed lineups for several songs and had some catchy numbers but seemed like they only had one gear and were better with one lineup than the other.

Second band “The Splinters” an all-girl group. They were kind of fresh really, not as tight as Wounded Lions and had some okay songs in the riotgrrrl style ala The Breeders but others were in a classic rock vibe which wasn’t my thing. I took a breather outside. Que “Jeff The Brotherhood” kind of blues-rock inspired ala anything involving Josh Homme which I really don’t vibe on at all. They were tight and loud but I sat in the other room wondering when they would finish.

Then a fresh-faced trio by the name of “Charlie and the Moonhearts”, fucking wow. Energy reminiscent of Cap’n Jazz (and thats a huge compliment) kids began to circle pit. The bassplayer/singer strums his bass (playing chords) as if he were playing rhythm guitar in a hardcore punk band, the sound is thick and they are immensely tight. I can’t pigeon hole it really. It’s punk/grunge drumming meets garage-noiserock guitars meets 60’s surf-pop-rock vocals (with a pinch of screaming) The only problem this band has is they only have one speed and one rhythm and thats pound pound pound, it got repetitive kind of quick but the energy was constant so thats all that mattered. They closed with a sped-up-alterno cover of early 60’s number one hit “Runaway” by Del Shannon. Which was the highlight. If this band relaxes and finds other avenues of melody look out for them.

Headliners were “Ty Segall” think classic rockabilly or proto-punk ala The Cramps but more up-tempo and with some screaming. Some standout songs and overall pretty tight. It was a pretty good bill overall. I later found out the bands have actually detoured off SXSW so hence the good lineup of bands. I chatted to a bunch of people and ran into some fellow travellers who were in L.A and the venue for the first time also. It’s interesting the crowd this venue draws. It’s unpretentious, its dirty, its fresh and not many people know about it. For example whenever you hear about L.A you hear people instantly mention The Viper Room, after actually looking at the bands on the bill complete with posing-“imawesome”-pamphlets of wannabe hardrock or metal warriors, who the fuck would go there when you’ve got something as natural and pure a venue as The Smell in town.

The site of 100 kids in a laneway up against the fence and wall as cop cars slowly rollby giving everyone the dirty is priceless.

L.A I salute your dingyness.

I have a bunch of photos but most are in FILM but here are the ones I’ve got;

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