Photos by Timothy Norris

Puppet show! Cool! Why don't more bands have interesting opening acts like this, I thought, as The Cinnamon Roll Gang set up shop behind a tall orange curtain between Patrick Park and Sara Lov's sets.

The answer to my question came pretty quickly. Painfully loud, I saw more people jam fingers in their ears than I've seen at any Atari Teenage Riot show, and the volume wasn't redeemed by anything resembling jokes, unless the screaming puppets were drowning out all the laughter.

Well into the third hour of the puppet show, or so it seemed, some guy at the bar began pelting the puppets with wadded up napkins. This had little effect on the puppets, who were in the middle of a fight scene that lasted as long as Rowdy Roddy Piper's marathon smackdown in John Carpenter's They Live.

OK, enough about the damn puppets. Sara Lov's Wednesday night residency at Tangier got a bit of a bump downtown last night when it got moved to the Silverlake Lounge.

“You want to know why?” she asked the crowd. “I can't tell you. I signed a form saying I wouldn't.”

The Lounge's setting is certainly a little rough around the edges for the sophisticated chamber-pop pieces that Sara Lov performs, but the crowd rolled with it, several of whom had even gone to Tangier earlier, then came down Sunset to the new venue.

Sara Lov's style may get easily pegged as KCRW-fodder, but there's real substance in the songs and strong melodies, when the music gets moving at a decent clip.

Once part of the duo the Devics with Dustin O'Halloran, Sara may perform under her own name, but gets great back-up from her four-piece band, including drummer Michael Jerome (who has played with everyone from Course of Empire to Richard Thompson), bass player Sasha Smith and a couple of excellent multi-instrumentalists whose names I didn't catch.

Lov won't have a solo record out until late this year, but the songs she played, several of which you can hear on her Myspace page, show off her sophisticated song-craft, particularly on “New York” and “A Thousand Bees,” heart-string pullers in spades.

Aaron Robinson of Messes and Sea Wolf joined Lov on stage for “Seasoned Eyes Were Beaming.”

I missed almost all of Patrick Park's set – and this is the only night of Lov's residency that he's playing on. The one song I did catch of Park's was chock full of Nillson-esque non-freak folk goodness.

Sara Lov has some talented friends, so if you make it out to her next two Wednesday shows (back at Tangier), show up in time to see the opening acts, then head outsidde for a smoke during the Cinammon Roll Gang.

LA Weekly