Drunk on that Malibu Breeze 

Wednesday, Dec 6 2006

Tuesday, 10:13 p.m.: “Come see us play with Evangelicals. The band. Not the crazy white people with sweaty foreheads.” Comrades from the Eastside distortion-rock trio the Front have lured me to Spaceland, where they rumble through fuzzy material off their new EP, and open for Oklahoma-based Evangelicals. But between acts, the headliners adorn the stage with an alarming amount of faux foliage, until the venue appears to be hosting a run of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. A friend and I exchange dubious glances. Moments later, a fog machine belches a foresty mist, and Evangelicals writhe through an impressive and moody set of spacy numbers, thick with howling and infectious bass lines. As they close, I notice that the lead singer is now wearing only one shoe. All are soaked with perspiration. Evangelicals are crazy white people with sweaty foreheads.

Wednesday, 9:01 p.m.: “This feels very formal. Someone . . . break a bottle or something.” Joanna Newsom has just taken a perch behind her towering harp at the sold-out Malibu Performing Arts Center. The seated audience remains reverent and breathless as she performs her latest album, Ys, straight through, accompanied by a guitar, a banjo, an accordion and even a saw player. During her solo encore, she plucks and trills through “Peach Plum Pear” off her first release; by the chorus, I’m palming away rivers of tears, and leave dizzy. Walking against the Malibu breeze to the car, I confess to my companion that the encore absolutely crumbled me. He looks off wistfully into the night, pursing his lips. Then he says, “Yeah, it was good . . . but I couldn’t stop thinking about how the Spurs lost tonight.”

Friday, 9:43 p.m.: “I feel like, in an hour and a half, we’re all going to wind up at a strip club!” An elfish man-child in a headband slurps beer at La Luz de Jesus art gallery, situated in the back of the novelties emporium Wacko. The maritime dreamscapes by Lesley Reppeteaux, darkly skewed portraits by Scott G. Brooks, and intricate wood-singed pyrography of Jason Houchen are the talk of the evening, and as the gallery closes and revelers are ushered out, I hear our tipsy sprite squealing, “Let’s go to Cheetahs!”

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Saturday, 9:03 p.m.: Dear Everyone I’ve Apparently Ever Met: No, I do not have tickets to the Dears show at the El Rey, and yes, I’m sorry I cannot provide you with my plus one.

Sunday 9:55 p.m.: My unwashed hair looks like a caveman’s, and I’m wearing plaid pants I bought at a garage sale. It’s cold outside. I have every reason to stay at home. But the cosmos counters my resistance by presenting Lavender Diamond playing Smiths covers at the Echo, against which I am defenseless. I grab my keys, wishing I owned a burka.

Sunday, 11:37 p.m.:Becky Stark of Lavender Diamond is on the verge of shattering glass. “Did she just go up an entire octave?” a man standing next to me asks during her operatic rendition of the Smiths classic “Is It Really So Strange?” The packed Echo sings along, even as Stark trips over forgotten words, and the three-song cameo at Part Time Punks appears highly appreciated despite lyrical gaffes. As she closes, Miss Stark curtsies, smiling innocently as she delivers the wisdom: “Everybody, don’t forget: Listen to music! It’s good for you.” The woman has a point, and I’m giddy I went out, though I didn’t have a stitch to wear.

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