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hair band

last night cam and i had a date night for the second saturday in a row. I KNOW. AMAZING.

a few weeks ago cam excitedly told me that his new favorite band (probably "favorite new band" would be more accurate but who knows) was going to be playing a show in la. i obligingly agreed to go, and he dashed off to buy tickets.

last week we saw morrissey and tom jones at the la sports arena. i am a casual morrissey fan, but cam is slightly more rabid, so when i saw the announcement, i asked him if he wanted to go. of course he wanted to go. and tom jones? weird and novel. so we went, and it was mildly perplexing. i really enjoyed the show at staples last year despite the fact that i only own "viva hate," so i expected this show to be more of the same. not entirely. the pre-show 60s music videos were the same. the slaughterhouse video accompanying "meat is murder" may or may not have been the same video shown the year before--i'm not sure i could tell because i averted my eyes for most of that. but there was a lack of familiarity with this setlist, which rather shamed me as i was surrounded by people who quite possibly had his entire catalog tattooed on their backs. i think--and i say this rather wryly--i probably knew as many morrissey songs as i knew tom jones songs, and i grew up with a pro-engelbert humperdinck household, and never the twain shall meet.

but the biggest issue is that the la sports arena is the most bootleg venue i have ever seen. for the love of random deities, people. the seats were too small and too close together. the seat directly in front of me may have been held together with duct tape. poor beer selection. forced separation of men and women at the entrance because "we can't search women" (don't even get me started on the pisspoor search techniques that were not exactly search techniques.) the free and easy use of e-cigs were annoying enough, but when i suddenly found myself in a cloud of pot smoke, i just... sighed. i did like the painting of nixon next to a concession stand, though. and i had great amusement about the people selling sausages and hot dogs outside the arena. don't buy those things, people, you know how cute they once were.

i did not have high hopes about last night's show. for one thing, the ghost of a saber tooth tiger is cam's band, not mine--14-year-old girl fantasies about a 13-year-old sean lennon notwithstanding--and while their music is enjoyable i don't see it as singable and the older i get the more important that becomes to me. (i suddenly had a flashback to my grandmother telling me she enjoyed country music because country singers sing slowly enough that she could understand. oy.) ethereal psychedelic retro rock is not quite my thing. cam joked in the car, "is this going to be another show that's just too deep for us?" another--and i am starting to understand where i am going with this--the el rey is standing room only. i feared a show far too deep for my shallow and rapidly graying head, as well as one uncomfortable for my short and rapidly decaying bones.

(pre-show dinner was awesome. pre-morrissey, we appropriately had vegan sushi at our favorite vegan sushi spot downtown. pre-goastt, we went to cantor's, an old favorite. i intended to get the marilyn monroe (grilled swiss and tomato with potato chips). cam wanted a danny thomas #2 (giant pile of bologna). we both ended up getting the avocado melt, and it was just as good as we remembered. there was beer (guinness for me, hefeweizen for him). there was an angelyne sighting.)

but the el rey was cool and intimate and not terribly crowded. they had guinness, albeit in cans. (the number of children in the audience was a little weird. people, all ages or not, this thing started at 9. my kids are in bed by 9, if not necessarily asleep.) the crowd--minus the children--was "twenty years older than i expected," said cam. we stood near the front in a little elevated area, right behind a mother and 8-year-old daughter in a light-up fedora and not one but two guys who resembled george r.r. martin (one in a newsboy cap, the other in a beret). the opening act, fever the ghost, seemed to sing in tongues while drowning us in a strangely fascinating swirl of music. not my thing, but strangely, strangely enticing.

i geeked out in the bathroom when i saw a sign that hugh laurie was playing the el rey at the beginning of june. i texted cam as i waited in line:
OMG Hugh Laurie is playing here June 2
fry and laurie!
also. three stalls.

after a rather cringeworthy intro by a man and woman in gold bodysuits with poles and streamers and a woman in black robes saying random things and far too many fucks for this to be an all ages show, the goastt and their backing band showed up on stage.

and i fell in love. BADASS.

i texted a friend post-show:
I understand now that I am conditioned to find bearded hapa men with longish hair unutterably attractive.

as we walked back to the car, cam mused that if he didn't cut his hair by halloween, he'd just get a hat like sean's.
me: oh, okay.
me: if people don't recognize you, just say you're slash.
me: [pause]
me: um, don't cut your hair.
cam: [laughter]
cam: my wife has sean lennon fantasies.
me: not in twenty-five years.
me: okay, that sounds weird.

seriously though, sean lennon and charlotte kemp muhl can rock. one of the best live shows i've ever seen. who knew?



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