A giant FUCK YEAH! to Brand X music rag and Spaceland Productions for putting on the L.A. Unheard showcase in a place of collected history, The Autry Museum. Here, I am entertained in two parts: one part music and one part history. Being able to hang out with friends while experiencing the gift of music surrounded in relics of yesterday’s past was a magical way to spend last Thursday, January the 20th 2011 A.D. Okay, if you’re already loathing my enthusiasm for the history-plus-music combination you should probably stop reading now because it only gets worse.
Before I go into the band experiences I would like to take this chance to set the mood for what the evening was like. If you are reading this and did not attend, well I’m kind of glad you didn’t. Here’s why: if it had been as crowded as “First Fridays” at the Natural History Museum (NHM), it wouldn’t have been the same intimate heart grinning experience that it was. The audience had that, “we all know this is the first time we’ve all had this experience in this place vibe/excitement.” Something that won’t happen again once word gets out of how cool these Autry’s shows are. I am part of that word spread, ironic. The Autry atrium, overlooked by a wooden horse (actually made of bronze), is an awesome acoustic space that lets the sound of song reverberate through out the entire museum. The two-story open atrium also provides an observation deck with its upstairs portico that provides an aerial view from all sides.
Gamble House was the first band to perform in this showcase. They opened with their song “Rising Tides” a sweet number with divine harmonies and vintage sounds that my photographer described as Grizzly Bear-esque. I agreed. I had never heard/experienced this band before, and my heart was stolen during the performance of the song “Blow by Blow.” It’s so dreamy and sad, and these guys really seemed to enjoy the majesty of it all. I also noticed that this is one of those bands where the singer’s voice does not match his look. A weird and personal observation I know, but I am a weird girl.
Next up was the tropical embellished indie folk sounds of Lord Huron who were accompanied by the Calder Quartet made up of one cello, a viola and two violins dressed in Reservoir Dogs-style suits. The audience, including me, really enjoyed this band with the happy dance energy and an eye feast of things to look at. Singer Ben Schneider, who my friend described as “has movie star good looks,” danced a cute little country shuffle that made me move. The drummer had an odd Picasso like drum set up, and also wore a washboard bib. Yeah, a washboard bib! Awesome! The atrium quickly filled up and all attention was given to this band whose sound is a complete breath of fresh air. We should all expect all our friends to be talking about this band in the near future.
Closing the L.A. Unheard night was the band Abe Vigoda. They played well, but I hate to say this … something was lacking. I don’t know what it was exactly. Was it not enough energy? Maybe it was their new sound off of the Crush album? I can’t really say. I only know that the majority of the audience went upstairs to the bar area, and I had a hard time keeping focused on the music. Wow, I feel absolutely terrible saying anything negative about anyone let alone online, but I can only describe my experience.
Now I would like to take the opportunity to say: Dear Spaceland Productions, please have more events like this at the Autry with the galleries open at an affordable cover price, please.
Dear Autry Museum, please allow us to take our drinks into the galleries. We are not animals, and can behave in a civilized manner. NHM allows it. Thanks!
Show and Museum experience by Roxanne Hilburn
Photos: Dominoe Farris- Gilbert
Check out the photos of Lord Huron, Abe Vigoda and Gamble House at the Autry below!