Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Music: No Rain, All Shine

The Fabulous Raincoats Button The Raincoats were scheduled to go on at the Echoplex at 11PM Sunday. I had never been to the Echoplex or its sister club, the Echo. I looked at their little map and it said they were at Glendale Ave & Sunset Blvd in the Echo Park district of Los Angeles. I left about 45 minutes of buffer space to drive the few miles from where I live and find parking, and took SR 2 all the way down until it ended, merging into Glendale Ave. I drove south, on the lookout for Sunset. Then I drove past Echo Lake, which meant I had gone too far. U-Turn. Back up Glendale, looking again. Then I hit the 2 and into Silverlake. Well, that's no good. I pulled into a parking lot and got out my 15-year-old Thomas Guide. GPS is for wimps. My Thomas Guide has never let me down, never run out of batteries, never gotten stolen, and never scared the bejeezus out of me by talking when I thought I was alone in the car. Ok, Sunset was just past Alvarado, and I knew exactly where that intersection was. Oh, and it was called Sunset to the east of Glendale, but Reservoir to the west. Oh, I'd look for both. I then drove down the same stretch 2 more times. WTF? I got stuck in a left-hand turn lane and decided to drive north the next time on the other side of the lake, on what turned out to be Echo Park Blvd/Rd/Whatever. And there, right before me, was Sunset Blvd. I took a left. Then I drove back and forth on Sunset Blvd twice, looking for the damned intersection with Glendale Ave.

Someone was seriously messing with my brain. Oh, and did I mention I still had that headache from the day before, although slightly less onerous.

I stayed on Sunset the second? third? time long enough to hit the Silverlake district from another angle. Then, boom, there's the Silverlake Lounge. See, here's the thing. Several years ago, Julius and I went to see 50' Wave at the Silverlake. I hadn't been there before, and I'm not sure if Julius had, either. The place has no parking, so you kind of have to meander through the small neighborhood streets. I was driving, and I kept getting confused because I'd be driving on the back streets that were on the same side of Sunset as the club, and all of a sudden, I'd hit the intersection with Sunset across the street from the club. Call me slow, but it took me a couple times to realize I'd been driving under Sunset via an underpass.

Back to Sunday night. I'd been at this for nearly 45 minutes now, and I was getting frustrated. I briefly considered just going home at that point, but no, I was not going to let these dumbass streets get to me! I checked the Thomas Guide one more time; the next street after Glendale was Lemoyne. I would just park at Lemoyne and figure out the rest. I parked in a free-at-this-time-of-the-night public lot on Lemoyne on the block just south of Sunset, and started walking west. At what should have been the corner of Sunset and Glendale, I realized I was on an overpass and looked down 20 feet to see.... Glendale Ave. Well, hello. I realized that Sunset and Glendale don't actually intersect, although they do temporarily share the same x-y map coordinates. Sunset's z-coordinate is about 20' higher than Glendale's. Goddamned overpass. Screw you, Sunset Blvd! I looked around and it looked like the only way down was by a stairway on the other side of Sunset. I was about a block either way from a crossing, but there were almost no cars at this time of night on a Sunday so I jaywalked. The stairs smelled somewhat, um, rank, but they got me down and I crossed (legally) and found the Echoplex. I hadn't looked at the clock in my car when I got out, but it was probably about 5 minutes past 11.

You may have confused me, but you did not break me, you absurdly laid-out streets!

The song that had been playing when I got out of my car was "No Looking." The song that was playing when I walked into the club was "No Looking." I circled around to where I could see. I asked someone and she said that she was pretty sure that they had just started.

I won't go into too many details about the show. It was great. Yes, there were some forgotten lyrics and mistimed entrances, but I was amazed at how sparely-played instruments could still seem to fill so much sonic room (and I'm not talking about volume, because any band can crank it up enough to make you deaf). It was much, much more enjoyable after the "hip" couple that had been standing in front of me, talking to each other the first 20 minutes or so finally left, about the same time that the people who were clearly not either there to see the Raincoats or to try to seriously appreciate music they had never heard had cleared out.

At the end of the show, Gina Birch announced we could get their lovely buttons and that she and Ana da Silva would sign records over at the little merch area. A couple dozen people clustered around, that gleam in our eyes. The band was helping break down their stage equipment, so we all waited patiently. I got my t-shirt (women's cut, yay!) and free button. Many people bought the newly-repressed vinyl LP of the first album, something that seemed sadly but perhaps intentionally ironic given that Kurt Cobain's quest for the same in the early 90s led him to da Silva's door. Of course, it just didn't seem quite the same given the thing has a barcode now, something the originals would not have had over 30 years ago.

I was spacing out and someone laid their hand on my shoulder to walk by. I looked. Ana da Silva had just touched my shoulder! She had started signing things and I waited while she wrote a book on one person's LP, and I got her to sign the liner notes I had grabbed from my Moving cd. Gina Birch was further down and chatting with people. I got in the quasi-line. When I got to her, I told her I had also looked for my Hangovers cd so she could sign that, but I hadn't been able to find it. Then I told her, "I love 'I Hate You!'" referring to one of the songs from the Hangovers record, and then not sure if she knew what I meant. She laughed. She hesitated, trying to decide what to write. I laughed when I saw. "I'm sorry, that's so stupid, but I didn't know what to write!" "No, I love it!" And I do.

The Raincoats "Moving" Liner Notes

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