Saturday, October 27, 2007

Cigarettes and Red Vines

I saw Aimee Mann today on Vermont Blvd. I had her CD Bachelor No. 2 on repeat when I first moved to LA (along with The Who's greatest hits.) I got to see her perform at Largo last year, I was sitting 4 feet from the stage with best bud Guillermo and sipping on a dirty martini. It was one of the best live shows I've seen, despite the fact she kept forgetting her own lyrics (thankfully the audience could help her there.) Seeing her reminded me of that awesome show, and made me think of all the wonderful shows I've gone to here in LA. Here is my top list of the best musicians/performers I've seen:

1. Josh Ritter - I've seen him 4 times live and every show I'm blown away. It's partly the sheer energy, the stage persona, and the band as a whole. I think his lyrics are the most interesting and wonderful that I've heard. I'm really drawn to the images and concepts in them, and he uses the most bizarre juxtapositions and references. I had been thinking about metaphor in literature vs. painting for a while (See my painting "In The Ruins of the City" for a prior attempt.) But it was his CD "The Animal Years" that crystallized my thinking about this and compelled me to follow my instinct about using my own bizarre juxtapositions of imagery (see "The Edge of the World.") I'll probably write more about this later, since it's been on my mind again as I start a new series of paintings in the vein of The Edge of the World...
2. Mia Doi Todd - Every time I go see her I seriously float home and start painting or writing poetry furiously. Her lyrics are so plain and deceptively simple yet beautiful-- they often consist of simple observations but it takes someone like her to turn them from ordinary to an extraordinary song. I studied poetry in college with Olga Broumas, and reading poetry aloud was very important there. When poetry is read well, it has a musical quality. And Mia's music/voice somehow seems to straddle the world of music and poetry. Plus she performs barefoot and uses a harmonium, and I looove things like that.
3. Ferraby Lionheart - Another LA local, I first heard his music on the radio as I was moving my last load of belongings to my new place here in Silverlake. It took me a while to track him down online (now it's not as hard since he's starting to get some attention) but I was able to see him play solo a couple days later. I think what struck me about him is his reserved quality as well as how magical his music is. I also find something familiar about his music, and after some thought I decided that his songs feel like songs I would write myself (well... if I could write music.)
4. Aimee Mann- I loved her live, partly because of the intimacy of the venue and the casual quality of the performance. She had no set list, and I think some of her back up musicians were not her normal people and just following along. Also since I found her music during a transitional period in my life so it just holds so much extra meaning for me.

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