Monday I saw Modest Mouse at The Wiltern, which I wasn’t terribly excited about. I’ve never been a big fan of the band, but they had some good songs. Yeah, “Float On” is one of them. The show felt uninspired, forced and unrehearsed. While it was col to see Johnny Marr on stage with them, the show was pretty unimpressive. I spoke to a few fans of the band after the show who generally agreed. While I didn’t feel the night was a waste (especially since the ticket was free), I walked away even less excited about the forthcoming studio album.
Thursday and Friday were real treats. Despite the fact that Joseph Arthur played The El Rey last month, he played to a packed crowd at The Troubadour on Thursday. It’s weird that I’d never seen him play live before, considering I’ve been a huge fan since I picked up ‘Redemption’s Son‘ years ago. Whatever talent you think he has in the studio clearly comes out in a live performance as well, and he has a fun time doing it. There’s nothing worse that seeing someone on stage that you know could give a shit about being up there (hello Isaac). Arthur loves it. He even dressed up for the occasion in what looked like an Elvis-inspired suite with all kinds of line drawings. Bass player (and model) Sybil Buck also dressed up for the show, which added to the enjoyment for the evening. Art was being made on the side of the stage while Arthur played many songs from his latest, and possibly greatest, ‘Nuclear Daydream.’ “Black Lexus,” “Too Much To Hide,” “You Are Free” and “Don’t Tell Your Eyes” sounded like perfection. It was the kind of show you smiled about as you walked back to your car and reminded you why you love music so much.
If ever there was a band that I regret not having been a fan of it would have to be The Wrens. I bought the ticket to their show mainly because I wanted to see Asobi Seksu, who were good, but seeing The Wrens for the first time, I was in awe. Why the hell hadn’t I picked up one of their albums before? I feel like someone told me I needed to years ago and now I understand why. I’ve rarely seen a band that inspires such a wide variety of people. There were people over 40 screaming along with 20 year olds. Everyone knew the lyrics to every song and there wasn’t a single person that wasn’t moving. It could have been as simple as a leg shaking back and forth to the beat or hitting one of many drum sticks handed out to the rhythm of a song. It was an incredible sight as I looked around and thought to myself, ‘where the hell are these people from?’ It wasn’t your run-of-the-mill LA hipster crowd. And if it was, the music was too powerful for their penchant for arm crossing and shoe gazing. If you’ve never had the opportunity or the desire to see The Wrens, you’re dong yourself a disservice. I don’t care what kind of music you like. They’re the godfathers of indie rock and emo and you’ll thank me for the heavy endorsement. I’m gong to the record store to buy everything they’ve ever released.