Mental Ward

Nightranger columnist Lina Lecaro is taking a break to prepare for impending motherhood. While she’s feathering her nest, writer and illustrator Alie Ward will post dispatches from the club scene.


Tuesday, 11:11 p.m.: Safari Sam’s is in chaos. Scenesters in all manner of ironic fashions clog the venue and spill onto the front patio as a flustered man-child with a clipboard leafs through a guest list, stammering that tonight’s record-release party for local indie wailers Ima Robot is “like, super-capacity.” I’ve hunted for parking for 20 minutes, abandoning my Subaru in a red zone at the apex of frustration — a sob story that bafflingly gains me entrance. Inside, it’s a sweat lodge, as the band bounds onstage to the squeals of young, fertile women. Slick, shirtless and sporting a fifth-grade mullet, front man Alex Ebert jerks like a freshly hooked trout, drenching his billowing white MC Hammer pants with perspiration. It’s an entertaining freak show, but not worth a trip to the tow yard. I duck out to the giddy discovery that the lawlessness of L.A. has left my flagrant parking violation unpunished. (For more on Ima Robot and the MC Hammer pants, see La Vida, p. 42.)

Thursday, 6:55 p.m.: I make a late, panicked hike from my apartment to Amoeba Music for Silversun Pickups’ performance. Front man Brian Aubert’s crippling shyness is all the more intense under fluorescent lights as the Pickups deliver a somewhat strained set from their fuzz-laden debut LP, Carnavas. I catch a glimpse of a friend in the crowd, but I’m still sweating like a gladiator, so I hang back near a rack of used Seal records and watch from afar.

Thursday, 10:36 p.m.: “You’re in a mood.” I’ve just met up with a few comrades at Avalon for the sold-outBlack Keys show. Seconds after one notes my sour disposition, the other insults my fashion sense: “Yeah, and why are you dressed like an Inuit?” I have a fever, and I’m shivering despite being swaddled in a scarf and pea coat. But the viral load shockingly works in my favor. As the Akron blues duo rumble and moan through material off Magic Potion, their latest release, I’m swaying and rocking in a spacy delirium that’s hands-down more stoney than the last time I tried to smoke drugs. A scruffy hippie makes eye contact, as if to approvingly convey, “Hella fuckin’ sweeeet, dude.”

Friday, 11:10 p.m.: En route to see my college-era chums VAST at The Knitting Factory, I’m reminded of why I rarely venture west of Highland. Cars idle in clots of traffic as women in lycra microminis teeter in knock-off stilettos, scampering into clubs owned by sitcom stars. I shell out a 10-spot for parking, pass a blonde rumpled in a corner vomiting on herself, and head inside for the sad nostalgia of VAST’s 1998 radio hit, “Pretty When You Cry.”

Saturday, 11:58 p.m.: “These guys will rock your socks up your asses!” So say Thee L.A. Gentleman Callers, introducing The Rolling Blackouts, who headline the ruby-lit dive The Scene in Glendale. I won’t say whether I leave with socks jammed into a body cavity, as that information is personal, but they do play a loud, rollicking set to a half-full room. I’m still host to a virus house party, so I spend the evening sober, take a few boring pictures in a photo booth, and try not to make out with anyone.

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