Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Whatever happened to Corey Haim?

"If you play acoustic guitar you're the depressed, sensitive guy."
-Elliott Smith

It seems hostels missed the boat when it comes to breakfast. Sure they're filling when it comes to food, hell, most of them even cover the juice/tea situation real well. It's just...well...10 am is too early to stop the feeding.
So in case you haven't figured, I missed breakfast yesterday. Instead I went to a 24 hour cafe and grabbed a typically huge  cheap American breakfast. The eggs, sausage, hash-browns and pancakes didn't stay on the plate too long and after a few minutes I was sufficiently heavier.

After the huge breakfast I felt a huge walk was in order to balance the whole thing out. I decided to check out some of the architecture around Hollywood, notably the Capital Records building. I'm also a fan of buildings with their names emblazoned in neon lights on top of buildings. They look like something out of an Edward Hopper painting and it's a shame that newer structures don't apply the same design.

I wanted to check out the artwork from Elliott Smith's album Figure 8. On I walked, under the Californian sun for what felt like an infinite amount of kilometres. I went down Sunset Boulevard, trying to escape the masses of the more tourist friendly parts of Hollywood. Heading east, it quickly became apparent how much the place changes. Within a few blocks the wealth of Hollywood Boulevard was replaced by 99c stores and what looked like a low income suburbia.

After walking for nearly two hours I realised I had no idea where the Elliott Smith wall is. I didn't think to bring the address and realised after a while that I had definitely missed the artwork. All I took from my giant walk was a bit of sunburn and some epic chafe (no pics). Shame, Elliott Smith could sing and write the shit out of a song and it would have been great to see. Knowing I had another two hour walk ahead of me, I shifted my intentions to catching a bus back into town.
I like catching public transport when I go travelling. It's an easy way to meet some locals, though you generally get the two extremes in these situations. People are either incredibly friendly, or completely looney. This bus trip had the most unconvincing transsexual I've ever seen (excuse me, your stubble is showing),  but aside from that, was remarkably looney free.
I decided to head up Hollywood Boulevard for a bit, but found the experience to be the definition of frustration. People are too busy looking at stars in the footpath instead of where they're going. I had a look at the Roosevelt Hotel, which was somewhere I wanted to stay. However, my budget and theirs didn't exactly meet. Next time maybe...
Dinner at the hostel was all you can eat burgers. I ended up chatting with the world's biggest nerd - who came complete with iPad, Flash t-shirt and weird sandle/wetsuit thong things that seperated each individual toe - apparently to simulate the barefoot experience and make him run faster (his words). He was more than happy to share his pickup tips for hostels (excuse me flash?), but I've always found people who like to boast about these things are convincing themselves, not me.

The hostel had organised a limo trip that included entry to some nightclubs and despite the huge numbers of people going, I had no interest in joining them. I didn't fly this far from home to hang out and drink with other Australians. Instead I decided to hit up some public transport on my way to the Sunset Strip. This time the bus featured a lovely guy called Gareth, who was performing a set at the Comedy Store and a schizophrenic lady, who was talking to herself in between bites of her KFC.

Eventually I made it to The Key Club. Steel Panther were headlining but by the time I got there some generic female heavy metal band were playing. Boring. The next band were called Stormy California, or something equally shitty. I'd heard a lot about the L.A. music scene, but if these guys are anything to go by then the world is in trouble. They sounded like ass and seemed to spend too much time in front of the mirror instead of the guitar amp. My review was going to be scathing until these two hot girls came up from out of nowhere and just started talking to me. As soon as they heard my accent they went a bit crazy and told me they worked with the band at the Outback Steakhouse. Wow. The 3rd band played a bunch of punk covers, but not very well. Who cares anyway, I was being charming.

Before Steel Panther played, some MC on stage was warming up the now extremely packed audience. He put a video camera on every girl near the front, getting them to show off/get their tits out. It was pure Motley Crue 80's. So much so that when the curtain lifted, Steel Panther opened their set with Motley's Kick Start My Heart.
For the next 90 or so minutes I saw one of the best & funniest concerts of my life. Sure half of their set was covers, but the band are tighter than a Scottish Jew and funnier than tourettes. We were told it was the biggest crowd ever at the club, and it was easy to believe. It was standing room only and a fight broke out next to me over one guy's objection to personal space invasion. There were even a few b/c-grade celebrities in the crowd. Kelly Osbourne was there, stealing oxygen and Corey Feldman sang 'Sweet Child of Mine'. It was hard to tell if he was taking the piss or not, but he was talking about the Lost Boys 3. Fo real.
The Steel Panther banter is just as great as their songs. When they weren't ripping on Corey Feldman or the 'black guys in the vip area' they were hamming it up on stage. There was copious amounts of make up, fans blowing their hair back and lots of lycra. There was even a guitar solo performed when suspended above the audience on a harness. Pure Spinal Tap.
After the show the hot girls, one of their friends and I hung out for a bit. We went for a massive drive around Hollywood before calling it a night around 2am. It was a great show, and nice not to spend the night surrounded by fellow backpackers.

This song was played as part of the warm-up for Steel Panther. Alice in Chains used to be a great band. In fact, Jar of Flies is one of the greatest EPs I own. Now they're a bit of an ealry 90's Alice in Chains tribute band, but anyway, here is one of their new songs. All their new songs are about California, not heroin, and therein lies the main reason they're not very good anymore.

1 comment:

  1. Best one yet! And I'm not reading them in order. You come alive when you write about music Lew. This is gold - your personality really shines through.