Monday, August 29, 2005

Hot Fun in the Summertime

Sunset Junction is my favorite time of year, right after Halloween.

Sunset Junction is the one time of year when people in LA walk around and be social. Well, there are other opportunities for that, but those tend to be parade/holiday type evets, like Halloween or New Year's or Gay Pride or something. This is pure street festival: hot dogs and gyros, tie dye and chunky silver, dangerous metal rides, drinking in the streets, posters and politicos, kids, gays and hipsters. And lots of fauxhawks (aren't those tired yet?).And lots of music.

Summer finally hit full force over the last couple days, with temperatures hitting 95 degrees by noon, only to get hotter as the days wore on. That made it tough to stand on asphalt and watch bands, but some of us trudged through anyway. On Saturday, Jason Falkner delivered his indie pop goodness... catchy as hell, that guy is. And cute to boot. (What a bonus!) The Walkmen also delivered, really rocking hard as the sun went down. They opened with "The Rat," which almost seemed a bit like shooting their wad early, but they pounded out a rough and tumble set that was just as impressive as the opener. And then there was John Cale, who has such a huge catalog that he could do any style set he wanted, chose to do a rowdy summer set that kept the crowd bouncing through the night. He opened with "Venus In Furs" so that people would remember who he was, I suppose, and closed with "Pablo Picasso" which was a completely unexpected (but logical, considering he produced the first Modern Lovers album).

Sunday, I just couldn't motivate to the fair till The Gossip hit the stage at 5:45. (I live 2 blocks away, but the heat and idea of dehydrating on that asphalt kept me perched in front of my fan with margaritas in hand.) The Gossip RULED. Grrrly rock from the south, fast and funky and screamy, really hit the spot. They were followed by the Eagles of Death Metal, which I couldn't watch because that Jesse guy (the singer) has been an asshole to too many people I know, and besides... Sharon Jones was playing down the street! If you like old skool soul/ r&b, like 60's style, do not EVER miss the Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings Soul Revue. She dances, she screams, she shimmies, she croons - a pure entertainer, frontwoman supreme, with the pipes to back that shit up. She belts out the funk with a power I haven't heard in ages, and the shows are always a blast. And then... The New York Dolls. Or rather, the New York Doll (as we called it) because 2 members are dead and Sylvain Sylvain wasn't there. David Johansen started the New York Doll show, and we were crushed by the massive crowds and decided it wasn't worth the trouble and fled. Straight to Chaka-Chaka-Chaka Khan. I kid you not. I'd totally forgotten she was there (as was Jody Watley at some point), but we stumbled into a much looser and groovier batch of people and hung there for a little while before walking home.

And that was just the music. I can't even start on the people and parties all around the neighborhood this weekend... I'll just say, an extremely wonderful time was had.