Lights Out, Spud Dick
Tuesday, 10:14 p.m.: Spontaneity makes a fool of me as I chance an unplanned stop at Silverlake Lounge to catch Dead Ponies, a shiny new band fronted by Midnight Movies alumnus Jason Hammons. At the club’s threshold, I realize I’m cashless, and my ATM card is nestled in the pocket of some gym shorts back on my carpet. I brandish a flimsy press pass, but am rebuffed by a door girl with impeccable lipstick and a glare of mistrust. I return home to fold laundry.
Wednesday, 11:54 p.m.: “I love it when the gays come here!” gushes a breathless, dewy-faced blonde. Spaceland’sClub NME is hosting Sydney-based electronic dance duo The Presets, and a cursory glance reveals, yes, a higher-than-usual proportion of muscular, tanned men, but also a crowd that throbs with uncommon energy; patrons are actually moving their limbs. It’s the closest thing to a foam party I’ve ever witnessed at an Eastside hipster venue, refreshing enough to prompt the man behind me to hoot, “Whoo! Wednesday!” Later, members of Nine Inch Nails deejay a set that includes the Jackson Five. Waiting for the valet, I seriously consider purchasing a bacon-wrapped hot dog from a street vendor.
Thursday, 8:14 p.m.: In the darkened courtyard of Hollywood and Highland, a comrade is convinced we’re under attack from al Qaeda. The power has failed, grinding all merriment to a halt and plunging the mall into eerie blackness during a free performance by The Oohlas, who’re opening for local acts Irving and Monsters Are Waiting. Fear and chaos then evaporate into exasperation, and the crowd shuffles away after 20 minutes in darkness.
Thursday, 10:36 p.m.: Aborting the Monsters Are Waiting wait, my cohort and I develop thumb calluses from frantic texting. We finally secure passes to see Hawthorne’s Dios Malos rumble through a set at The Wiltern, and stay for headliners Phoenix, who deliver the synthy pop anthems that commercial directors live for. The singer is ruthlessly foxy, but all hopes of being his wife are dashed when I overhear that Sofia Coppola is ripe with his child.
Friday, 11:36 p.m.: Spacey-rock outfit Serena Maneesh drones to a small clutch of onlookers at The Glasshouse in Pomona. My feet hurt, and I’m not on heroin. But I fight the inclination to bail and am rewarded with an onstage meltdown. The seven-piece band’s final number is a captivating performance-art tantrum as members either stalk offstage or writhe about to scour guitars against the floor. Finally, the drum kit is kicked over piece by piece, and a cymbal is hurled across the stage. The cacophony inspires unchecked exclamations such as “Oh my fuck, this is awesome!”
Sunday night, 12:23 a.m.:The Brian Jonestown Massacre are enjoying one of several onstage smoke breaks, and I think they forgot they’re playing a show. Legendary indie-rock underdog Anton Newcombe is at the helm as the six members intersperse their jangly psychedelia and murmuring guitar monologues with delirious pauses that thin the crowd at sold-out Safari Sam’s. I admonish myself for being an impatient curmudgeon until elfin guitarist Frankie Emerson loses tolerance during one of Anton’s delays, leans into a mike and announces with gravitas, “If I knew it was gonna be this kind of party, I would’ve stuck my dick in the mashed potatoes.” Well said.