Band of Horses, Simon Dawes, Stoned Dude @ Avalon: The Losanjealous Review
The chain of events that led to meeting Jeremy in a cramped back alley adjacent to the Avalon last Monday is a lengthy one any way you slice it, but to my knowledge it began with yours truly being out of town when Seattle’s Band of Horses played the Echo last June. Let us now hearken back to Monday eve and switch to the present tense.
Inside the venue. Things are rocking. Tamely so, I might add. Simon Dawes [photo] onstage. I was advanced their album a couple of months ago and I must admit, it’s got some moments. It’s got moments. The live show is a similar story, but as mentioned things are relatively tame and all of the suddenly I’m getting (a) somewhat bored and (b) ludicrous thirsty. Problem is, every time I get ready to grab a drink, one of the songs they’re churning out lays down this massive chord progression worthy of Jason Falkner, and that’s when I become interested again. Eventually the set ends and we grab a beer.
’Middle guy’ Chad Van Gaalen [photo] takes the stage. This guy’s pretty damn good. But then he speaks. And when he speaks, he seriously ruins everything. My best guess is that Chad Van Gaalen was stoned out of his gourd at the Avalon last Monday. Quotes from Chad Van Gaalen:
“I fucking hate touring, man. I fucking. Hate it.”
“But it’s been great with Band of Horses. They’ been smoking me out everywhere we go. They’ve been great.”
“It’s like…(lengthy pause) (giggle) Do you guys remember when the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man nearly destroyed the entire city of New York? It blows my mind, being here, it’s like, Oh my God, this is where all these horrible things almost happened.” (!!!??)
You get the gist. Let me be the first to assure you the last one drew way more what-the-fucks than giggles. Seriously what the fuck is going on here, Chad. You sound great when you sing and play, but frankly I speak for all of us when I tell you it is beyond time to stop with the in-between banter. Think of the children.
Eventually Band of Horses take the stage. I’m running out of cash and down to my last purchaseable drink as Ben Birdwell wraps up the first few songs and declares, “Damn. I’m kinda nervous!” I’m at the bar. I hear this familiar lushness™. It’s like hitting the pillow, this sound. It’s the opening strains of The Funeral. Once this becomes apparent I immediately crack open a tab and order up a whiskey. From then on there is, quite frankly, no stopping me. That is until an incredibly unnecessary David Allan Coe cover rubs me the wrong way. Goddammit, Band of Horses, I hail from Oklahoma – and Texas – and I want to hear you for what you are: rugged northwest bearded indie rocksters with neck tattoos. I did not come here and partake of these ludicrously-priced whiskeys to have you covering sacred David Allan Coe and reminding me of forty million white pickup trucks. It’s a weird thing, anthropological pride, but I’m completely disapproving of this turn of events.
As you might expect, a big concert night in Los Angeles can at times stretch the Losanjealous editorial staff relatively thin. I’m on the phone now with Victor. As luck would have it, he’s at the Yeah Yeah Yeah, Yeah Yeahs/Blood Brothers show a few blocks away.
“Goddammit Victor. What’s going on over there.
“We just left the Palladium. What’s up there?”
“Goddammit. They’re playing Goddam David Allan Goddam Coe and his voice sounds great but it’s still rubbing me the wrong way. Whattaya think. Frolic Room? Julie with?”
“Yeah she’s here.”
“Ok you guys walk up here. First round on me.”
“Frolic Room. Meet you there.”
Things progressed after that, Monday notwithstanding. At some point on Cahuenga Victor went looking for BBQ and spontaneously disappeared into thin air. Erstwhile I became belligerent. Shortly thereafter I clocked myself out. Tuesday was a long. Fucking. Day. Let’s leave it at that. You never even called me by my name, Birdwell. You never even called me by my name.
BoH and Simon Dawes photos by Jeremy O. Stoner by Ryan.