Standing there inside the lava lamp that is Spaceland Silverlake's dance floor, I tried to calm the anxiety of my own brand of claustrophobia - the kind that has nothing to do with a constriction of physical space and everything to do with a constriction of my freedom of movement. Hungry and wanting to duck out for some quick grub, I was coolly told by the doorman that there was a policy of "No Ins & Outs." If I wanted to see Bob Log III, I was stuck here among the sparkling, gold and blue circus curtains and year' worth of spilled liquor.
So there I was, trapped between two sets, starving. The opening act, Los Duggan - a barrage of melodic cussing, growling and grunting - were a brilliantly funny mClange of hillbilly metal. A drummer, a guitarist (on steel and banjo), a lead singer called, "Whisky" on washtub bass and a fellow that looked like he'd taken leave of "Korn"and decided to join a bluegrass band, bringing his Flying V with him.
We were all here for Bob Log III, but it was the inbetween stages of both food and musical famine that I was now experiencing.
Some young, hipster popsters going by the name of The Growlers were setting up on stage as a gaggle of teenage girls (all seemingly styled by the same hand and fashioned by the same sculptor - suspiciously a very uniform 5 feet tall, tiny waisted with cutie booties) looked on expectantly. If I were A & R from a major, I'd have them signed up in five minutes with a starring track in whatever OC-come-One-Tree-Hill-come-the-Hills-come-Entourage gag is la Mode. Perfectly marketable; good looking each and every one, lead singer studied up on his Morrison moves and definite and catchy tunes, it was the Doors gone Raga meets Cold Play, complete with a team of tiny, teenage go-go dancers. Ka-ching! Dang, I've gone and made them sound more remarkable than they actually were and alas, there was already a mark against them in my book because they were not Restavrant - who'd been bumped last-minute.
As the set pressed on, the tiny dancers go-goed away, oblivious to the heckling bikeys (not bikers) from Bakersfield, mock slam-dancing down the back and fuelled by whiskey and the popster bands' announcement that they hailed from Orange County.
Soon the pop-relief was over, the kiddies cleared and the motley crowd charged the front for one man band (guitar, kick drum - sometimes kicked with a girl perched on each knee, drum machines etc. etc.)/ Performance artist/ bad ass blues guitarist, Bob Log III. Other than out of necessity due to space, Iâ€™ve never seen an LA crowd get so close to a stage. The mandatory, empty force-field down front ignored and not a single Angelino standing cross-armed all, "Impress me. Go on, I dare you."
So how do you describe a dude, identity obscured, wearing a motorcycle helmet kitted out with distorted mikes and a front-zipped, bedazzled, polyester jump-suit, singing songs with such titles as, "Boob Scotch?" Hailing from Tucson, Arizona this high-energy act would need no bells and whistles for his excellent musicianship, but he brought them anyway - and what a riot, what a hoot, what sheer excellence. With a rapier wit, he shot down hecklers (I have no idea why people were heckling), humored us all, urged nudity and debauchery, basked in a sea of scotch and beer filled glasses (donated by well-meaning fans) and talked dirty. Banter doesn't get better.
A drunken lady did a jump-stumble-jump-stumble-shuffle-tumble number next to me, her husband egging her on, urging her up on stage at Bob's request for someone to put their boob in his scotch. Fortunately when audience gaze fell upon me (I was right up front) it was clearly apparent that I would need to entirely disrobe in order to reveal a boob. No matter anyway, Drunk Lady kindly donated her right breast to the cause and a boob flavored scotch was happily imbibed with Bob declaring, "Fuck I'm good! How am I gonna top that?"
The crowd cheered and to my left I spied two of the five or so guitarists from the kiddy OC band, mouths agape, faces a mixture of reverence and repulsion. People got doused in scotch and jostled about, Bob Log III performance virgins like me squealed in delight and those in the know shouted requests and declarations of love.
For the finale, a cutesy ray of sunshine bounced through the crowd, her Elvis Costello/Michael Madsen look-a-like boyfriend in tow, showering whoever was in her path with liquor. A cross between Daisy Duke and Elly May Clampett, complete with red, gingham, tiny shirt, denim skirt and cowgirl boots, her bleach-blonde hair asunder screamed the house down. OC boys and bikeys alike reeled as she jumped, whooped, hollered and forcefully shoved anyone in her path, enticing everyone to play.
Some might call it crass, I'll call it art. Whatever you want to call it, you can't say it ain't something! My only regret is that I didn't put my boob in his scotch.