Thursday, 11:52 p.m.: “Do you think he’s bald, or just like L.L. Cool J with the hats?” An excellent question, passed to me on a bar napkin at the Badly Drawn Boy show. My cohort and I began the evening with an enthusiasm that has long since wilted. The marathon set of complusively wool-hatted Damon Gough (a.k.a. Badly Drawn Boy) at The Troubadour draws heavily from his tepid new album, and during yet another soggy love song, we’ve resorted to scribbling correspondence to keep awake. Gough asks if we’d like to hear new or old songs, and the unanimous chorus of “OLD!” is met with his chagrined sigh, a total disregard for this preference, and another new ditty about how much he loves his girlfriend, Clare. I want Clare to dump him, so that his heart will bleed pain and his mind will come up with better lyrics. I’m pretty sure that makes me a bad person.
Friday, 11:14 p.m.:Tav Falco and the Panther Burns, bearing vintage equipment, shuffle onstage in suits and beehives at the Arthur Nights festival at The Downtown Palace. Within the first four seconds of their erratic honky-tonkin’, I am a fan. I’m even further impressed as the front man, a craggly Robert Blake doppelgänger, announces “Fun Hole of Love.” Later, learning that it’s actually “Funnel of Love,” I feel dirty and ashamed.
Friday night, 12:25 a.m.: “Okay, did I tell you they were going to bring the awesome? There is a gong!” My comrade Kathy is right, about the gong at least. Japanese stoner-rockers Boris are about to headline Friday’s Arthur Nights, and expectations are high. The trio storm out, the gong is employed, and their squealing metal and screeching caterwauls tear through the Palace — it sounds like amplified murder. Although the cacophony is provoking an anxiety attack, I am grateful for getting exposed to Boris in the way that I am grateful for exposure to chicken pox: so that I may never experience ?it again.
Saturday, 9:19 p.m.:Lavender Diamond is opening for The Decemberists at The Wiltern, and no matter how many times I see Becky Stark croon “You Broke My Heart” in her lofty soprano, it never fails to raise an armload of goosebumps. I hereby thank the person who broke her heart for inspiring such quality pain.
Sunday, 9:52 p.m.: Still suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder following Friday’s brush with Boris, I weigh my therapeutic options, settle on immersion therapy and return to the scene of the trauma: the Palace for Arthur Nights. This time: TheFiery Furnaces. I breathe deeply and soon reach a state of peace as the brother-sister duo, backed by a guitarist and two drummers, turn out an impressive mix of spacy keyboards, crisp low vocals and the occasional flourish of a piccolo.
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Sunday, 11:26 p.m.: “How’s my pompadour?” It’s Smiths Night at Part Time Punks, and a scruffy hipster fluffs his hair at the back of The Echo in a last-minute quest to simulate Morrissey. DJs spin Smiths classics, and a smattering of local bands, including Ariel Pink, do their best not to mangle covers. It sounds like horrid karaoke, but you could get a German shepherd to bark out a few bars of “Cemetry Gates,” and I’d respond with a giddy standing ovation.