Sunday, June 21, 2009

PJ Harvey & John Parish @ the Wiltern in LA 6/20/09

Ahh... just got home from LA about an hour ago and at 6:45 am I am still too excited to sleep just yet! It was a simply amazing performance. PJ was ethereal and did a lot of barefoot dancing while using expression-ate gestures instead of her usual singing and guitar playing stance. She's always marvelous to see live, but just seems to be at a certain comfort level with John Parish present. More so than with any of the prior band member line-ups that I have seen in past performances. Although all have been quite extraordinary in their own right - this is just a little bit more intimate. It's very natural the way they play together..seeing their connection is like witnessing a sort of magic unfold between nearly lifelong friends. I knew full well to expect the set was to include select songs only from Dance Hall at Louse Point and also off of A Woman A Man Walked By. I was NOT to be disappointed as these are two of my best loved releases! The LA record calls it "quite Lynch-ian" and interviews Parish here. Both seemed in good spirits and PJ was truly having a playful go at the audience. All the feelings imaginable were evoked - all the things conjured up in the soul that mere words cannot express!

(!!!) By the way - if you have never been, let me say The Wiltern in LA is such a lovely theatre to go and see a show. I have seen PJ there twice now. Definitely my all-time favourite CA venue so far.

Lavishly Art Deco styled and kept up very well considering the age. (it opened as the WARNER back in 1931) Perfect setting, since last night was stupendous and very theatrical! The venue is right up my alley and reminds me a bit of home and the old 1927 Tower Theatre in Upper Darby, PA.No surprise both are Live-Nation sponsored concert venues. I can only imagine when the Tower was in it's former glory that the two theatres were indeed top jewels in the crown for US venues. Thank goodness someone had the foresight to restore the Wiltern and lovingly continue her upkeep. I often wonder about the condition of the Ol' Tower back home.

Lots of energy throughout the show. I enjoyed all the songs, but these 3 songs were most favoured by me: California, Rope Bridge Crossing and Pig Will Not, A Man a Woman walked By/The Crow Knows.... I overheard a man nearby the camera platform call these the best versions live "ever" of the latter 2 songs. High praise indeed, as this came from a man who said he was in attendance for "all the west & east coast U.S. shows this tour."Plus 4 UK & 2 Paris ones. What can I say? He was loud but informative and wearing many lanyard badges. A more intensely polished and sometimes even mellow set than were some of the other raw powerpacked Peej shows I have seen in past years. But oh-so very moving in every way. She even danced around in circles during A Woman a Man Walked By and spun right off the stage during the fade into The Crow Knows.. promptly returning onstage in the same happy and child-like twirling manner. I don't know how she wasn't a dizzy mess from it all.

But the even better news is the entire show was recorded by 4 professional videographers, 1 on stage 2 in the pit and the other on a platform by the soundboard. No Maira Mochnacz (her usual filmographer) was in sight for the gig, which means we may see it much sooner than later since her projects -good as they are- seem to take time to surface. Here was my viewpont bascially from the platform of the tiny little Goddess in all her glory: (cell pic)

The only thing better than viewing 1 PJ is viewing 2 simultaneously. I caught a glimpse of some excellent close up face shots in the view frame of the professional's camera, as I watched her onstage as well . I was positioned just inches beside the camera man near the soundboard, and just about mid way on the GA floor. I was much closer than the pic seems to show and certainly closer than where these two video clips were shot from the balcony, but here is some live concert footage:

and another here..

Aftershow, we headed over to Fairfax Avenue and parked to stroll around and do a little late nite window shopping. (Fairfax is kinda a bit touristy, like South Street in Philly with a neighborhood feel.) And lo and behold! Parked right out front of the Canters Kibbutz Room and our eatery destination Canters Deli, was my dream chariot! A classic 1967 GTO, in metal flake turquoise - now how apropos of 42 is that?! We snapped a few quick shots (forgive the crappy and pixelated cell phone pix)

We had the best east coast style Jewish comfort food over at Canters Delicatessen.

Which has now officially been forgiven by yours truly, for making my take out sandwich last month such a miss. They redeemed themselves tonight for sure with this hit. I got the "Brooklyn" which is corned beef (cold) on fresh rye with homestyle cole slaw and russian mustard. A big side of Kosher pickles too. Topped it off with a Dr. Browns Black Cherry soda. Sheeeeer bliss. In the background is a potato knish and the hummus plate.

And since we were so kindly included on the guest list, we stopped by to see Matt's friend John spin ( he's a DJ) at the LA goth club BAR SINISTER and we had a little (very wee watered-down) nip of Whiskey and a few laughs. Ok, there were LOTS of laughs, but for all sorts of observatory and people watching reasons. Note about the bar: Great DJ, but the barmaid made me a lousy-weak ass drink, and some even frown on your free drink tickets. (Way to treat someone on the guest list.) Apparently last call @ 2 am there is really 1:37 am, even if you stand in line at the bat at 1:32 am and make eye-contact with the server pre-order status. The security staff were very Gestapo-esque about going out to smoke in the fountain/lobby area and were even harsh about what exit to leave from. Pricks. Beware of the smells from the roach-coach street vendors as you leave the doors. Don't want that smell lingering in your black silks and satins. Again, pros: Great DJ and also pretty nice decor though. Cons: Dance floor NOT very spacious for being in such a big place.Dangerous Toxic bathrooms. Overall? It's kind of a sad, pathetic old hooker of a club and former shadow of itself really IMHO. We did have fun all the same. Despite the shitty service, I am tempted to head back a final time, if only to support our DJ friend and to view the upcoming LIP SERVICE fashion party. So it's either for him or Lippy's sake that we may pop-in this weekend, but it's iffy. Depends on our schedule and if we are back on the guest list again. (No way am I paying cover to get in.) Hey, on the plus side? I do still have those two drink tickets they didn't accept at last call to convince myself back into going just once more.
Nothing soothes like music...especially something deep you can relate to and the intense Peej is one of my ultimate faves. Well more about my week long Birthday and weekend Summer Solstice related celebrations with friends with some pics later.But for now, I must rest up. More big plans to come soon with friends and then before I know it, there's SDCC in July!

Celebrating the summer of 42..

I leave you with a pic of a lovely rose Matt's Mom gave to me on Wednesday.(It still looks good and this was taken days later!) Also a quick celebratory shot of me twirling out the door on Saturday evening.


P.S.- A very HAPPY FATHERS DAY to all the Dads out there.

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