This couple might have been a little older than most of the other punters, and the woman probably had a lot less flesh on display than the younger, tighter versions in the crowd. This couple was probably clutching a few drinks, but not going crazy with it. They definitely didn't have racing heartbeats, sweaty palms or massive adrenal rushes from various illegal substances. Instead, this couple was avoiding the epicentre of the crowd, and simply appreciating the novelty of being out on the town for a night, and a chance to hear some fun new music. What the kids are listening to today.
I never really paid any attention to that couple when I was younger, but now I realise: they were probably parents of young children, making a rare grab for a few hours of freedom on a date night, while a babysitter dozes on their couch.
I had this realisation about that couple on Friday night because J and I were that couple. On a whim a few weeks earlier, we bought some cheap tickets to a gig, figuring if we couldn't line up a sitter, it wasn't much money spent anyway. We've been in L.A. for two and a half years, and still hadn't seen any live music here. How crazy is that? Los Angeles is de rigueur for bands on tour, right? There have been plenty of missed opportunities here, but not due to laziness; more a case of not realising a band was in town until it was too late. We made a resolve last month that we would go and see some music real soon, dammit.
The chosen gig was an electronic act known as Com Truise. I know... I still read it as Tom Cruise, and I guess that was this guy's intention. His music style is a little like Boards of Canada. Anyhow, J recently discovered him and is the big fan in our home, but I was happy to go along.
On our way into town, we drove along and listened to the soundtrack from Drive. The sun had already set, but that didn't stop J from trying to channel his inner Ryan Gosling. He's watched the film a few times and is rather taken with it. Me, not so much. The Ryan Gosling factor wasn't enough to overcome the confusing mess of the film's grim goriness. I normally like a bit of noir, but Drive didn't do it for me.
We started off with dinner and cocktails at an amazing restaurant called Mess Hall, in Los Feliz. Totally recommend it to anyone wanting some American-style food with actual real flavour. I devoured a banana cream pie that I wanted to bury my face in, and - two days later - I'm still lusting after the memory of the smoked corn fritters we had to start with. So. Much. Flavour. It almost hurt.
After that, we made our way to Silverlake for coffee, where we pretended to be hipsters. Well, sort of... when we weren't laughing at how contrived some of the people around us were. Really, I kind of feel sorry for Generation Yers - so many of them feel the need to try so hard. Anyhow, it was worth it for the decent coffee.
Last stop for us was the Echoplex in Echo Lake. The opening acts didn't start until after ten, but the first one came on with a resounding wallop. Bonde do Role. They were an electronic funk/dance act from Brazil and I can't remember the last time I experienced energy with that kind of force. Some of their songs reminded me of M.I.A. (who I like) and I don't think words could do justice. Think grotesquely exaggerated sexual moves on stage. Think limbo pole brought down into the crowd for a song. Think Sponge Bob look-a-like piñata tossed into the crowd, donning jocks with a banana shoved down the front. It was pretty crazy.
Next up was a chilled duo called Poolside. They're described as daytime disco and were perfect to listen to while we sat down and had another drink. They're a local band and my favourite was their version of Neil Young's Harvest Moon - daytime disco style. I'm serious! Plenty of people have tried to put their own stamp on that song, but these guys did a great job.
A sign of getting old is fretting when you realise it's close to midnight, and - dammit - you're still waiting to see the main act. It was worth the wait, though. Something you may not know about me is that I'm a sucker for some loud, throbbing electronic bass. I really am. Bass that rattles every bone in your body and vibrates through you as though you're being zipped and unzipped in your sternum. I love it.
I used to think this enjoyment was purely a result of chemical substances consumed in my younger days, but I haven't been part of that scene in for the best part of a decade - nor does it even appeal to me these days, but I have no regrets. It had been a while since I last experienced bass of that calibre (car stereos just don't cut it, right?) but ultimately, I lapped it up. I didn't feel the need to dance up a storm; I was happy just listening and bouncing.
It was a lot of fun, and I'd forgotten how much I also love people-watching at these kinds of events. That night has left me determined to catch more gigs, so now I just need to start paying attention to who's in town, and when.
Next stop for date night night, though? Tomorrow, when we head to a crew wrap party and premiere for Rise of the Guardians. Instead of getting taxis in, a group of us are going in on a stretch limo for a laugh. Stay tuned....