View more photos in the “Nightranger: PDA, Going Commando, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros” slideshow.
Chomping and romping in a cozy booth while uninhibited grinding goes down in front of you on a nearby floor is so-o-o Boogie Nights, and we’re guessing that’s exactly the retro-chic-y/cheeky feel that Shits & Giggles’ Victor Rodriguez, Society’s Billy Burgess and A Club Called Rhonda’s Aaron Castle had in mind when they picked mid-WeHo bar and eatery The Crown Bar for their new disco night, PDA (Public Displays of Affection). Nightranger and a slew of sexy thangs enjoyed some scrumptious viddles at the grand lick-off last Tuesday, followed by floor freaking to Castle (who tells us Rhonda will be back at Guatelinda — which is working out some permit issues — this Summer!). Later, Rodriguez offered his own slinky beats, as did DJ Jeppe (a.k.a. Senior from Junior Senior) and Filip Nikolic, a.k.a. Turbotito (of Jr. Sr. and Ima Robot, currently in Guns n’ Bombs). Love these DJ dudes’ accents — both are from Denmark — even though it was hard to understand everything the big guy told us over the blare Tuesday. We think he described his upcoming solo project as “Danish reggaeton.” Whatever the genre, we’re sure it’ll move your feet.
PDA will have stellar guests each week, we hear, and while some competing nights might not be happy with the new hap (Rodriguez’s former Beige bud still holding fort at Falcon the same night, for example), Tuesday’s bashes seem to be thriving all over town, new competition or no. Yes, behind-the-scenes drama between dueling parties goes down all the time, but for the most part, what we’re seeing on our weekly club hop-a-thons is heartening. As Burgess says metaphorically, “There’s enough beer for everyone.” Go Commando, the monthly party thrown by Little Red Radio’s Jason Spallino at Boardner’s, may not have been foaming over that same Tuesday when we popped in later, but the vibe was alive, thanks to the Lady Tigra, who not only rocked a fab new ’fro but some funky new jams too. Speaking of ’fros, we were surprised to see the smoldering Miss Barbie-Que (door diva at Rodriguez’s Giggles) manning the gates not at PDA but at Commando; however, with the two degrees of separation that is L.A. nightlife (guess we shouldn’t have been). Case in point, our final Tuesday pit stop, Dance at Arena, where DJ Paparazzi pumps up the hip-squeak hordes. Pap’s 1107 promotion group (which threw the much-talked-about Dome Raves at Coachella) also called Boardner’s home, or rather House, on Thursdays, but that club, we just learned, shuttered a few weeks ago.
We always feel completely ancient at the youth-packed Dance, but last week, at least the crowds were collegiate. The club joined forces with DANCiSM, a collective of current and former USC students known for their wild warehouse events downtown, which made the After School Special much more of an Animal House. The Day-Glo-painted bodies (and jewelry) and euphoric movement we saw gave us a flashback to the black-lit undergrounds of yore. Its DJs (Robot Love, Ben Oprstu) seem to be popping above ground a lot lately: The 3 Clubs on random Saturdays and No Culture at The Echo (the Wednesday party thrown by none other than the aforementioned Turbotito, among others). Two degrees, baby.
Even seemingly disparate domains (gay discotheques and kiddie clubs; electro-a-go-gos and neohippie love-ins) have a familial connection in L.A. these days. Last Thursday, we finally checked out the much-hyped Hare Krishna–like experience known as Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, with Ima Robot’s Alex Ebert, at the Regent Theatre. It was easy to see why this cosmic crew has built such a cultlike following. Frolicky, feel-good sing-alongs that dip into ’60s psychedelia and ’70s boho-rock jam abandon, joyful vocal textures and jangly instrumentalism (there’s about a dozen people onstage at once), and most notably Ebert’s Messiah-like magnetism make for a compelling musical display. Robot fans expecting his previous, guy-linered, genie-pant guise might be surprised by the transformation, but we’ve always felt Ebert is a Bowie-esque chameleon. Thursday he donned tattered white jeans and a white tunic with bare feet and a haphazard ponytail. Those “ex-girlfriends (in the) black Jetta” seem a distant memory now that he’s got a sweet, drum-banging lady love (who drives a hybrid or a veggie-oil-powered bus, no doubt). Near the end of the Magnetic Zeros set, Ebert lovingly crooned a song about, and to, his gal pal, band member Jade Castrinos (whom some might remember as an American Apparel shop gal and Cobrasnake muse from a few years back). The love ode was so touching, we literally saw a girl behind us well up with tears. It remains to be seen if the band’s first release, an EP due May 19, will capture the poignant alchemy of the live show, but they’ve got gigs galore, so it’s all good. They’ll be at Joshua Tree Music Festival on May 17 and the Hammer Museum this summer, and, of course, the Regent residency has two more dates: May 7 and May 14 (after Artwalk, which should make for extra-heightened revelry). A note about the venue (where Safari Sam’s briefly hosted some shows): Its spacious and unfussy interior provides a chill backdrop (if so-so sound, judging from last week) for this type of folksy orgy, but don’t sit picnic-style on the dirty grounds where seats used to be, as many did last Thursday. There’s more than one kind of downtown nightcrawler, after all.