Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Cure, May 31 at the Hollywood Bowl

If you're a Cure fan, they're one of the best bands ever to see in concert. They normally play for at least two hours, usually closer to three, and that included their show at the Hollywood Bowl. They play a variety of their stuff, from hits to deep album cuts, probably some B-sides on some nights, and they were playing stuff from their new album (4:13 Dream, not one of their best), which wasn't out yet, but they limited that number to less than a half-dozen, which were received well anyway. Their set changes every night and even their most popular songs they might or might not play. If you're hoping to hear one particular song you may or may not hear it but you're also more likely to hear an obscure track. They still play a lot of the hits, even early in the set, knowing that there are still other hits to play later on. They play a tight show, with not a lot of on-stage banter (no one else in the band besides Bob Smith has a mic and no one can understand his mumbling anyway). The band look exactly as they have for the past 30 years (though Bob has noticeably gained some weight) except for the guitarist, who would have been too goth-punk for Marilyn Manson's band. Seriously, a creepy-looking dude (and probably old) but a good musician (though Bob plays a lot of the lead guitar parts himself). Bob even seemed like he wanted to keep playing that night but it was already getting close to 11:30 and there are curfews. I'm not sure if their live set will convert anyone but you know if you're a fan or not already. If you're not a Cure fan, hopefully you were someone's date or the alcohol is cheap because you're in for a long haul. This was the show rescheduled from the previous October, which had tickets going on sale in the early summer so I'd had mine for almost a year. I made the mistake of buying two tickets without having someone readily available to go with me and everyone I knew was busy that night and the eBay auction had no takers (even with the starting price at half what I paid for it) but I put a listing on Craigslist and had someone contact me about it within a few minutes of posting it who met me before the show and paid full face value ($67). It was a sold-out show but you know there's always someone trying to get rid of a ticket.

I love the idea of riding a tram to the Hollywood Bowl but I live within walking distance of the subway and it's only two stops to get there. The parking at the Bowl is horrendous, though I've parked a few lots down, where it wasn't stacked but cost $25. Public transportation only rarely works in Los Angeles but when it does it's great. Especially in Hollywood, where lot-owners know they can gouge people who own cars, I don't want to go to shows sometimes when I know I'll be paying more for parking than the cost of a ticket. There are a few places that are within range of the subway but you also run the risk of not getting the last train, which runs at midnight, if the show runs late (and I've certainly been to some that do). Luckily, at big shows like at the Bowl, they know that their usually-older guests have to be up early the next morning (as I had to be, though it doesn't mean I'm old).

The Cure's set-list:
"Underneath The Stars"

"Prayers For Rain"
"A Night Like This"
"The Walk"
"The End Of The World"
"Love Song"
"Sleep When I'm Dead"
"To Wish Impossible Things"
"Pictures Of You"
"From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea"
"The Perfect Boy"
"Hot Hot Hot!!!"
"The Only One"
"Friday I'm In Love"
"In Between Days"
"Just Like Heaven"
"A Letter To Elise"
"Never Enough"
"Wrong Number"
"One Hundred Years"
"It's Over"

"If Only Tonight We Could Sleep"
"The Kiss"

"At Night"
"Play For Today"
"A Forest"

"The Lovecats"
"Let's Go To Bed"
"Close To Me"
"Why Can't I Be You?"

"Boys Don't Cry"

Friday, May 23, 2008

Von Bondies, May 23 at Safari Sam's

I saw the Von Bondies at the San Diego Street Scene a few years and suddenly realized that I should have seen them more than that one time. They're a bit of a cross between a few-generations-removed Rolling Stones and the White Stripes, with a slightly gritty, Detroit-rock sound. (And they probably wouldn't care for the White Stripes comparison since their second-biggest claim to fame is that Jack White beat the hell out of their lead singer, Jason Stollsteimer back in '04 but bad publicity is still publicity.) Stollsteimer is smart enough to have hot chicks as his guitarist and bassist (replacing the hot chicks that were his previous guitarist and bassist) but the music is good enough that they're not a necessary distraction. I'm surprised that they were playing a medium-sized club for their L.A. stop, since they're riding on the popularity of "C'Mon C'Mon" which apparently the theme song for Rescue Me, but for whatever reason they're playing there, I went to see them. They only had an album or two worth of material, as well as a new EP, but they played every song you would want them to (if you knew them well enough to want them to play certain songs). They actually didn't have a huge crowd, which I didn't mind, but I hope it doesn't discourage them from continuing to tour (though they came back once, at least). It was the first time I'd gone to Safari Sam's and I fell in love with the place and hoped to go back again but it had closed before I had the chance. The place was clean, with ample parking, good bar-grub, a good lay-out, nice bouncers, and great sound. The kind of place I would open if I could. It was way too good to last.

Another review of the show here