Thursday, April 13, 2006

Elbow & Earlimart, Avalon 4/8/06

Recently, due to my liking of the Manchester band Doves, I found myself listening to a copy of “Leaders of the Free World” by Elbow, another Manchester band. The first song is what sucks you in…. you think to yourself, hmmm… this is nice, mellow, and then- HOLY CRAP it just gets so good you have to leave work immediately and drive to amoeba and purchase it all the while telling your boss you’ve got a nasty case of the flu that just suddenly decided to make it’s appearance right then and there.

Instantly I found myself looking to see if I could experience this live, because- as any true music lover knows, you have to go see the band live. It’s like church: it fills an emptiness inside you that until then was just this nagging insistence that something was missing. Well, at least it’s been that way for me over the last 11 years of concert going [note- NOT church going].

Much to my complete surprise, Elbow was playing, and soon. Let me take a moment to comment here that this never, ever happens. When I came upon Wolf Parade, they had just played in L.A. and no matter how many cookies I offered to bake them, they weren’t coming back anytime soon. And occasionally I’ve happen upon bands that have either broken up, or died off… I never get a break here. Except for this time. I’m hoping this may be the end of that curse and maybe this year will be filled with lots of live entertainment and much hoorah-ing from me. Let’s cross our fingers.

Elbow headlined at the Avalon, Hollywood, on April 8 2006 with opening act Earlimart. For those of you who like swirling, melodic tunes with the occasional upbeat foot tapper- this was your show. Earlimart was a band whose cd I had previously seen but not bothered to listen to- oops. Although me and my friend arrived slightly after the start of the show, the band instantly pulled us in. I think what does it for me is the ever present subtle noises weaving their way through the songs… whether it’s the warbling keys or just the way the strings are plucked over singer, Aaron Espinoza’s voice. It’s just good. (Oh, and they’re really nice too- as in, when I approached them-standing in the back watching Elbow play- they offered up a handshake and a hello).

Elbow. Elbow is my quiet little obsession right now. They are probably the reason that anyone selling their stuff on ebay is making bank. Hi- you can thank me later.

Unfortunately there was a techno dance party at the Avalon directly after the end of their set, so everyone was kindly pushed out, and you could feel a strain in the music right at the end. There was probably a man pointing to his watch right off the stage. Either way, they made me happy for going. Opening with Station Approach, Guy Garvey’s voice draws the crowd in while the band just knocks out that punch that makes you lift a couple inches off the floor. Mostly covering the new material from “Leaders of the Free World”, they didn’t forget the older favorites, including my personal favorite, “Fugitive Motel”, a song that makes you want to cry and sing along at the same time. Their songs have this lullaby quality to them, but not in a childish way.

The crowd that night was a mixed one, and all ages too- I hate that. I know I complained when I was younger, but really, it’s like a rite of passage, once you get to be a certain age, then you can go to any show you want. Next to us was what might have been a parent bringing their kid to the show, and there was quite a number of people much, much older than me. I couldn’t get over the guys who were screaming and yelling like a bunch of frat boys, it seemed so ludicrously out of place. But oh well, we all seemed to be enjoying ourselves.

And there you have it, my first L.A. concert review blog. Hi, my name is Bean and I would be perfectly content in life if people paid me to listen to music and send me to concerts, but until then, I guess I’ll be paying my own way.

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