Tuesday, 7:57 p.m.: “It’s only 8! We have so much awesomeness ahead of us!” My comrade Maria is nothing if not enthusiastic. Pyschedelic rock trio The Secret Machines are set to play in Union Station during the first of the “Public Displays of Affection” concerts geared to promote transit awareness and train love. The crux: You need a Metro stub to get in. So Maria and I descend the steel escalators at the Hollywood Metro station .?.?. eh, screw it. I’m lying. We’re running late, and we drive. But the joke is on us when we reach the $12 parking lots at the destination, and are forced to weasel past guards to get in. I hang my head, haunted by the adage “Cheaters .?.?. only .?.?. cheat .?.?. themselves.”
Tuesday, 9:37 p.m.: Under art deco chandeliers, The Secret Machines drone spacey, keyboard-heavy melodies on a circular stage set like a stone in the middle of the crowd. A girl next to me sips from a flask, and her friend shouts over the music: “I wish I were drunk!” To which she replies: “Oh-my-god-it’s-awesome!”
Tuesday, 11:57 p.m.: Leaving Union Station, I text a tragically hip friend to see if she’s heading to Safari Sam’s to see British buzz band The Kooks. Her reply: “Obvs.” Bracing myself for a toxic battlefield of cool, I arrive and take immediate advantage of a few drink tickets. The adolescent foursome play a passably hooky, bouncy set of Britpop off their debut release, Inside In/Inside Out to the howls of a swollen crowd. At this point in the evening, things get hazy, and there is a strong possibility that I tried unsuccessfully to flirt with Orlando Bloom. My fifth-grade mullet had previously been the shame of my existence, but this is slightly worse.
Friday, 11:37 p.m.: In the restroom of the Henry Fonda, a woman my mother’s age is trying to wash her hands through her fingerless fishnet gloves. German industrial legends KMFDM have sold out the venue, and I haven’t seen so much black attire since Princess Di’s funeral. I worm past pleather trench coats and tangles of dreadlocks into the pit, and as front man Sascha Konietzko bursts on with his platinum-blond mohawk, aviators and second-trimester beer gut, a man behind me shrieks: “This is gonna get retarded real quick!” And it does. Industrial-strength nostalgia is administered through rumbling drums, synth chatter and riffy mashings of old beloved standbys like “More and Faster” and “Light.” Struggle as I might, my stone-faced goth countenance is broken by a giddy smile. Verboten!
Saturday, 2:03 a.m.: “I could give a fuck about eating shit at this wack-ass pad!” So proclaims a passing stranger as I wait in a DMV-caliber line for the loo at the Hear Gallery in Echo Park. Allow me to translate: “Yes, I have just tripped down a flight of stairs in this homemade Dracula costume, but I am not concerned about your opinion of me, as I find this establishment to be rife with uppity hipsters, and I am making my departure right now!” Moments later, some snoot claiming to be a DJ gruffly cuts in front of us; we’re told the surprise performance by British gems The Scanners has been canceled; and we’re subjected to the rage of a power-hungry bouncer who has apparently mistaken the venue for a prison camp. We agree that it is in fact a “wack-ass pad,” and make our own hasty departure.
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