On The List :: Monday Residencies or how to get around Silverlake on less than busfare

Los Angeles is a permutation of New York with a mildly less bad attitude. Part of that charm is that on Monday nights some of the venues out in Silverlake host bands for month long residencies. The shows are free and the bills are packed front-to-back with bands looking to break. New York has Piano's four-week residencies but this makes that looks positively fascist. Out here the people know each other. The band doesn't have to scrap and claw for a crowd because there isn't a cover. The bar pulls down some scratch. If Los Angeles has a charming moment, it is after 9pm on Mondays in East LA.

We begin the night with Spirit Vine opening for what will eventually be Last American Buffalo's show at Silverlake Lounge. Their lead-singer has a strange Drew Barrymore meets Karen O-thing going on. The music is something like sounds like The Gossip playing Ambulance LTD songs. It's not easy to play the 9pm slot on Monday. It's like doing stand-up comedy in a car wash. Whether people think you're good or not, they just came for something else.

Following Spirit Vine is the criminally underrated Steelwells. This band talks too much, let's say that upfront. They're not uncharming but it's distracting and doesn't advance the moment. But, the music, if mixed correctly and turned completely loose is great. They play a short six-song set rife with equipment difficulties (the lead singer calls this "a nightmare") and a crowd that moves from the back of the room to the front. In long exposure photograph, the audience would appear as a slowly advancing blur. This is a good sign. It has to be.

Then it was over to the Echoplex to catch the 11pm set by The Japanese Motors. A signee to Vice Records, the band has generated some buzz on the west coast and beyond. The first three songs are, frankly, strange. Lead singer, Alex Knost isn't connecting with the crowd. He is blowing the room away with spastic movements and thrashing gestures. It's a weird moment; when the singer is more motivated than his band, when he's more motivated than the crowd. Part of you wants to remind the people smoking outside that, yes, they did come to see this band. And predictably, the room fills and Japanese Motors hit its stride. Knost is more at ease and crushes the second-half of the set. Were they consistently good? No. Were they mercurial at moments? Absolutely. And for a Monday in July, that's about right.

Listen :: The Japanese Motors - "B.N.E."
Bonus :: The Japanese Motors - "Single Fins and Safety Pins"

No comments: