Friday, June 18, 2010

Local H, June 18 at the Brixton

Noa and I had such a good time at the Local H show on Wednesday that once we found out the band was playing in Redondo Beach (only about a half-hour away from where I was working) on Friday, we were down for that show too. And since they would (probably) be playing a different album, we'd have an (ideally) different show. This was probably considered the H's Orange County show, though there was probably a sizable part of the crowd that was from L.A. And since it wasn't L.A., the audience was more into it, though still a little prone to not getting too excited but that was probably because they were closer in age to 30 than to 20. There was also a lot more movement in the crowd, but I probably noticed more because we were closer to the stage (about three feet) and the refrigerator-sized guys in back of us were doing that woozy swaying thing that usually precedes a mosh-pit (until they got kicked out). I'd never been to the Brixton, where the concert was, in fact I'd never even heard of it. But it was right on the pier, next to the beach and a mall-like area that was nice. Fried seafood on paper plates, at least. The club itself is about half the size of the Troubadour, if that, and it wasn't even packed. It was in a basement but fairly shiny and looked new. Cheaper beer than in L.A., too. The show was, in a way, similar to Wednesday's show. Scott passed around the hat (the girl who picked wanted As Good As Dead) and they played Pack Up the Cats, which, as I don't have to tell you, is an awesome album. Comparing it to Wednesday's show, the members of the other band who backed him up weren't as present, though maybe the guitarist was there more and the singer, also from openers Left Brain Heart, told me later that his throat was messed up so that could have been it too. The songs in the rest of the set were roughly similar. The album I'd like to see them play is As Good As Dead, just to see what they would follow it up with since they pull so much of the post-album songs from that album. They did a cover of an Agent Orange song (“Since a lot of the members hang out here,” Scott said) and, in one of the coolest things I've ever seen at a concert, during “Bound for the Floor” Scott pulled on stage a guy who was wearing a Chicago T-shirt, with “25 or 6 to 4” on the back (home-made that day, the guy said), and Scott and Brian went in to a cover of that song so effortlessly you'd think they had planned all day for it, then back into “Bound for the Floor”. During the last song Scott walked into the crowd (easy, since there were steps leading down from the middle of the front of the stage) and I was so amazed that it wasn't until he went back on stage that I realized that he was playing right in front of me. Seriously, I could have punched him easier than I could have scratched my own nuts. Then they played that last riff of the song and Scott dropped his guitar and walked right through the audience, before anyone knew what was going on, and straight to the merch booth, which he manned himself. When Noa and I got to the front of the line I needed a question for Scott and asked him how many people were on tour with him and he said it was only him and Brian and the other band and I said that was crazy and he said "Not really".

Local H's set-list:

"All-Right (Oh, Yeah)"
"'Cha!' Said the Kitty"
"Hit the Skids or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Rock"
"500,000 Scovilles"
"What Can I Tell You?"
"Fine and Good"
"Lead Pipe Cinch"
"Cool Magnet"
"She Hates My Job"
"Laminate Man"
"All the Kids Are Right"
"Deep Cut"
"Lucky Time"
“24 Hour Breakup Session”
“Fritz's Corner”
“High-Fivin' Motherfucker”
“Bloodstains” (Agent Orange)
“Hands On The Bible”
“California Songs”
“Bound For The Floor”/”25 or 6 to 4” (Chicago)
“Manifest Density Pt. 2”

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Local H, June 16 at the Troubadour

Noa and I got there about an hour before Local H was supposed to go on, so we could get our tickets from will-call. I thought I saw Scott mulling about outside but he seemed like he was getting tickets and getting in line to go in, and he seemed to be with some chick, so maybe he was just getting tickets for her. I'm not sure if I would have said anything to him anyway, since we were hungry and headed down the street to get something to eat (though we ended up eating at the Troubadour anyway). Inside, before the show at the place, the floor filled up to just about full, but not packed. I don't even think the upstairs bar was open. Local H used to pull a lot more of a crowd, didn't they? Even though they had their big hit (such as it was) 15 years ago. Though the crowd was noticeably older but that was only because there were no teenagers in the crowd (it might have been a 21+ show). Also not a mosh pit until the very last song and even then it wasn't very rough. Maybe it was because of an older crowd, maybe because it was L.A. and people just weren't as interested or didn't want to not look cool. The whole picking-an-album-out-of-a-hat is a fun and inspired idea but it could have been a trick. Their second guitarist, from the opening band, was standing at the back, ready for the first track, before they even picked the album and he wouldn't have had to be there if they didn't know he had to be in on the first song. Though even if they had filled with the name of the one album they wanted to play, they still played a whole album and you probably couldn't go wrong with any of them. Scott offered the pick to some dudes in the front, but first he asked them what album they wanted and the first guy blurted “FUCK YEAH, MAN!” and the second was “This is my first show” and of course Scott could only shake his head. Finally the next guy said he wanted As Good As Dead but picked Here Comes the Zoo and that was A-okay with me. That was EXACTLY the album I wanted them to play and it was AWESOME. I wouldn't say it was note-perfect, since they multi-track a lot of instruments on any of their albums (since they can only do so much with two members in a band), but it was as ferocious as you hear it on CD. I hate to be yet another asshole who says the band will never be the same without Joe, but I've always said that Brian is still a good drummer, and it's fitting that he's great when he's playing an album that he originally played on and probably wrote the drum parts for; it might have been disappointing to see him try to keep up with Joe's original parts on any of the early albums. The opening band, Left Brain Heart, were pretty good, something pretty close to the H, meathead rock leaning toward the Ramones, but with a full four members, and younger (though anyone would be). They helped out Scott and Brian on their set, mostly singing back-up on some tracks; I've never minded Local H having a few extra people on stage when they play, just to make sure the sound is about right, especially for “Manifest Density”, which wouldn't sound right if it wasn't for an augmented band, and that song really needs to rock. After the full album, without taking a break, they did pretty much a greatest-hits set, and I'd say they probably hit every high-note the crowd could want. It may have been the first time in a long time, if ever, that I've heard them do “Bound for the Floor”. That segued into Talking Heads' “Psycho Killer” (which would have been a genius move if I hadn't recently seen the Gossip segue into the same song from one of their own). “High-Fivin' Motherfucker” (which everyone went nuts for (well, okay, maybe just me and Noa)) segued into a long guitar solo and Scott standing at the front of the stage, and I'd swear I heard the song before, maybe a cover of some '70s thing, then he went into another song and I didn't recognize it at first but it turned out to be PJ Harvey's “To Bring You My Love”, which just blew my mind, though he didn't do the whole thing. It was around that time that Scott took a guitar solo into the crowd, though the stage is only about three feet of the ground and the floor is about the size of your living room. And like that, they were done. I'm not sure what more they could have done, unless they were going to do B-sides and more covers (which their website explicitly said they weren't going to do. Despite some asshole in the crowd hollering for “President Forever” and “No [Fuckin'] Fun”, both from an EP. (Okay, that asshole was me. And I would have been just as satisfied if they played that EP for the show)). Though, interestingly, the music that the place played over the P.A. before the band went on included “Tame” and “I Just Wanna Have Something To Do”, which Local H have covered. In any case, one of the rare shows for me where the music and the fun and my drunkenness all met at the exact-same time. And Noa is an awesome concert-going companion.

Local H's set-list:
"Hands on the Bible"
"Son of "Cha!"
"5th Ave. Crazy"
"(Baby Wants To) Tame Me"
"Rock & Roll Professionals"
"Keep Your Girlfriend"
"Creature Comforted"
"Bryn-Mawr Stomp"
"What Would You Have Me Do?" (abbreviated)
“Eddie Veddar”
“California Songs”
“White Belt Boys”
“Bound for the Floor”/”Psycho Killer”
“Oh Yeah All Right”
“High-Fivin' Motherfucker”/extended solo/”To Bring You My Love”
“Manifest Density Pt. 2”