With ’08 around the corner, Nightranger takes a look back this week at the after-dark madness of 2007. Keeping abreast of club makeovers and shake-overs is one thing, but we found ourselves doing so much more this year. L.A. is in the midst of a club-culture renaissance, and despite what the tabloidy climate might suggest, it’s not all paparazzi pit stops and velvet-rope vampin’, though undeniably that’s become a big part of it, especially this past year. And that’s okay. Some glitz is fun, and anyway more grit always seems to follow. We’ve done our best to give you glimpses of both this year, rediscovering old dives, bopping out to new bands, swaggin’ and swiggin’ at liquor- and corporate-sponsored shindigs, soaking up our city’s continually swelling art and fashion scenes, and even sharing some starstruck moments. Here, some of the sights, sounds, spaces and soirees that stood out.
We should have known it was gonna be a hot mess of a year when a disheveled Britney Spears roared into the gregarious gay fest Tigerheat at Arena in January. Her repeatedly prancing through the main room with bodyguards in tow, as frenzied fans bashed each other with their cell phones to get a photo, made for quite a dance-floor display. Some boys even threw their tighty-whiteys in the air, hoping to get her attention, and one overzealous femme-bot who got a little too close was shot with a Taser gun. Who woulda thunk this rowdy club rub would only be the tip of the tempestuousness for the poptart?
We prefer to recall a far more majestic celeb moment, when we basked in the presence of Prince (in head-to-toe red), hanging out unbodyguarded at the William Morris post-Grammy party in a Hollywood manse. Standing next to him near the Krispy Kreme doughnut table at the bash’s exit, we were at a loss for words, though we did think about sexily serenading him with “Cream (Get on Top).” Regretfully, we refrained.
SPIN SPIN SUGAR
The wannabe DJs definitely didn’t die in ’07, though mesmerizing sets by real beat-smiths like Cut Chemist at the Hollywood Bowl, DJ AM at LAX, Girl Talk at Coachella and Peanutbutter Wolf everywhere (his seven-nights-at-seven-L.A.-venues tour was genius) definitely trumped the amateurs. Somehow the latter stuck with us too — but not necessarily in good ways. Most memorable: Lindsay Lohan pumping classic rock and hip-hop at Les Deux (Outfield’s “For Your Love” must officially die as a club anthem now); Louis XIV playing new wave to angry stripe-shirted Hollywood hoppers who wanted techno at Club 82 at Avalon; and the gals from Le Tigre spinning the most spirited female-inspired rock, pop and electro set we’ve ever heard at the WACK! Art & the Feminist Revolution opening at MOCA. That one was anything but wack.
IT FEELS SO GOOD
We didn’t score comps — and were too cheap to drop a C-note or two — for reunion tourers such as The Police, Van Halen, The Eagles, and even The Spice Girls this year, but we did get to see some biggies up close and personal: Justin Timberlake at Staples (we won’t even front, pop-locking in a suit and tie is sexy), Eddie Vedder at the Silverlake Conservatory of Music’s Hullabaloo at the Fonda (just an acoustic guitar, a bottle of wine and a little voracity; what else do ya really need?) and The Buzzcocks at Sunset Junction. Others who seduced the stage and our senses in ’07: Citizens Band at Avalon, The Grey Kid at Spaceland on Valentine’s Day (he’s a love machine), Andrew WK at Check Yo Ponytail at Safari Sam’s (keeping ADD-afflicted hipster kids enraptured with a classical piano interlude, now that’s a feat), Spank Rock at The Neighborhood Festival (though it came out in December of ’06, their “Put Your Panties On” is definitely the song of ’07 in Nightranger’s book), and the performance that really made us go wild: Wounded Cougar at the Viper Room. Made up of members of Beck’s band, the masked glam-metal groovesters rock hard, heavy and kinda hilarious (particularly their cowbell player), like a Saturday Night Live skit, but with real music balls.
Can you believe the Echoplex opened only this year? It feels like it’s been below the Echo forever, which is a good thing. It’s homey. And by the way, if you can’t find parking and don’t wanna deal with the valet line, here’s a little tip (our Xmas gift to you): You can park at nearby Taix — which we did many times this year — for only 5 bucks! As for the other new spots we frequented, most had distinct décor personalities: Edison (old-timey fancy-pants), Goa (genie-bottle glam), Bordello (vintage whorehouse), Seven Grand (hunting lodge), while others just went for a luxe look and moniker — Crash Mansion, Opera, Crimson, Seven, Winston’s — the last two of which signaled the hetero-fication of Santa Monica Boulevard. There were puh-lenty more grand openings, reopenings, remodels and revamps around town, but we’ve decided not to waste space on more “hot spots” that will likely be closed by the time our ’08 wrap-up comes out. Oh snap.
And finally, what Nightranger reminiscence would be complete without giving props to the best parties of the year? Here, the bashes that made the parking fees, earplugs, foot blisters, bathroom-line waits and, yes, hangovers all worth it:
Urb’s 100th-Issue Bash featured a duet by Peaches and Tone-Luc, which was only part of what made this one a wild thing-a-ling. Good vibes abounded.
Perez Hilton’s Birthday Bash at the Roxy: A night of great live performances that ended with The Gossip’s Beth Ditto sitting in — and splurping up — a mound of cupcakes.
Paper Magazine’s L.A. Project: Big Apple bodaciousness met La-La Land lunacy with ’80s dance classes, a 24-hour store and carousing galore.
Stoli Hotel: Stoli soaked in the celeb set with this faux lodge, and kept ’em coming with a real beauty spa (and, of course, a free booze-a-palooza).
Everything at World of Wonder Gallery: The production company’s art shows and opening parties were the wackiest and most wondrous bacchanals Hollywood has seen in a long time. Wow indeed.
Sidekick Party in Griffith Park: A hole-in-one affair with free golf, grub, drinks in pimp cups and a set by Kanye West.
Muse Ball at LACMA: Salvador Dali’s surreal works take on a whole new dimension when you view them with hordes of costumed freaks on Halloween.