[Originally published 1/15/2011]
Who: The Budos Band
Where: El Rey Theatre
By 9:30pm last night the El Rey Theater was packed full of people ready to get their groove on. The twinkling chandeliers were dimmed and the air was thick and hot with conversation. On stage KCRW DJ Jeremy Sole expertly set the mood with his turntables. Pumping out a mixture of vintage and modern dark, slinky blues over the speakers which seem to pulse from the ceiling, Sole got people slowly grooving.
A relatively reliable indicator of how full a show is can be measured by the amount of people packed in the smoking area. Last night there was no room to turn around. People crowded around in tightly formed clusters with their hands tucked in close to their bodies, desperately trying not to set their neighbors on fire. It's hard to look nonchalant when your arms are pinned to your sides, but a number of people managed it.
Being that it was Friday night in Los Angeles the crowd was dressed to kill. I mean, you could go out on any night of the week and odds are the audience will be sharply turned out, but I think on Friday nights people give it a little extra oomph.
For the gents, fedoras were out in abundance as were ties and vests. The ladies however, took no prisoners. Nothing was out of bounds: elegant evening dresses, fiery red leather pants, astronomically high heels, and my personal favorite one young lady with a mohawk, bikini top, and chainmail booty shorts. Her outfit was so flashy she managed to get herself on stage at the end of the set. Kudos to you, lady, for unabashedly going big.
Los Angeles greeted the East Coast's The Budos Band with warm sloppy affection usually reserved for local heroes. Before the curtain rose, the crowd squealed with excitement as the sounds of them tuning drifted through the fabric, chanting "Budos! Budos! Budos!"