The Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Better than… a John Hughes marathon hosted by Morrissey.
By the time Twin Shadow's George Lewis Jr. was ready to take the stage last night, the crowd was adequately sauced on Sam Adams and Amstel Light and red wine in clear plastic cups from the Masonic Lodge's second floor antechamber. (Doors opened at 7pm, there was no opening act, and Lewis et al. didn't go on until almost 9pm.)
Lewis Jr. took the stage in a loose-fitting fishnet tank top and studded leather jacket. He was doing his best impression of a greaser, having abandoned the pilgrim hat of yesteryear in favor of a combination pompadour and ponytail shaved on either side.
Twin Shadow kicked it off with gusto, launching into blistering renditions of “Shooting Holes” and “Tyrant Destroyer,” off 2010's Forget, before introducing the first single from the forthcoming album Confess, “Five Seconds.”
When Lewis Jr. said on behalf of the band how happy they were to be playing at Hollywood Forever, it felt more sincere than the perfunctory “We're so happy to be in (insert city name here).” Twin Shadow's latest album was recorded entirely in L.A., and inspired by Lewis Jr.'s motorcycle rides around the city.
It's totally fitting too — the new songs are cinematic and full of tension, with Lewis Jr. himself cast as leading man. (And synth player Wynne Bennett in a supporting role; Lewis Jr. called her integral to the production of the latest record.)
The right PA blew during another new track, “Beg For The Night,” which, unfortunately, made for buzzy bass (and some smoke) throughout the remainder of the set. It didn't stop Lewis Jr. from developing a rapport with the audience though. While tuning his guitar between songs he fielded questions from the crowd (sample: Q: “Where's Chris Taylor?” A: “I don't know — getting 'Best New Music' on Pitchfork?”).
The band closed out the evening with the title track from Forget, a song that draws the contrast between seeing Twin Shadow live and listening to their first record. The studio version is gauzy and gorgeous, but a little flat; textureless. Performed live, though, the drama in “Forget,” like in the rest of the songs, is palpable and forceful. One can only hope that quality will be audible too on Confess. If the songs previewed last night were any indication, it will.
Personal Bias: I noticed when reviewing my notes that the words “devastatingly handsome” had been scrawled on two separate occasions.
Overheard In The Crowd: A guy yelling “Go Kings!” during a break, and the girl next to him asking “What is kings?”
Random Notebook Dump: Watching drummer Andy Bauer work a full drum kit and two electronic pads — while his messy top knot bobbed along at slightly different rhythm than his head — was one of the evening's highlights.
Set list below
On The Heart (Five Seconds)
When We're Dancing
I Can't Wait
Beg For The Night
At My Heels
Run My Heart
Castles In The Snow
I Don't Care