Playing at the Viper Room in L.A. is always chaotic and this time was no different. You have to load your gear from the traffic of Sunset strip with your hazard lights on and cars honking and yelling at you the whole time. You have to go as fast as possible because every minute you spend loading is one less minute you get to play. Then, when your set is over you have to repeat the process while loading out.
Sunset strip on a Saturday night is something that everyone should experience at least once. If there is an economic crisis, you wouldn't know it by walking that street. All the beautiful people are swarming up and down the sidewalks. There is music exploding out of every club, every passing car, street musicians add to the sonic mix and it makes you feel drunk. The air is warm and sultry with a light ocean breeze and carries a dizzying array of smells. The largest billboards you've ever seen are draped over buildings showing scantily clad youths clutching blue jeans or perfume bottles erotically and they tower over the whole scene.
We make our way into the Viper Room and pay our respects to the spot where River Phoenix famously died in front. Inside it's nearly pitch black. It's so dark that you can only make out the bottles behind the bar, but the crowd is packed tight and buzzing. We make a set list for our show of select high energy songs for the high energy crowd. The darkness is so complete that we can't find each other in the crowd. It's wonderful.
After the first song we could tell that it was on, that the air was charged and it would be magic. The stage lights illuminate the crowd a little and we are all suddenly aware of each other. The band sees the crowd, the crowd sees the band and the music meets us all in the middle. It's always a great joy to play, but some nights there is a connection that is very hard to describe, but easy to recognize. It was there in the Viper Room. Half way through the show there is a mass of sweating bodies swaying and bouncing, some singing along at the tops of their lungs. Defying every LA audience stereotype and ionizing the air with their own energy, creating a feedback loop between the band and them, we played completely soaked in sweat.
Later, as we were rolling southward on I-5 toward San Diego, we all wondered what had made that show feel like it had. Nobody could clearly define it. But we will remember it. Thank you L.A., we hope it was good for you too and we can't wait to do it again.
Flickr Stream for West Hollywood
Photo by Daniel Boulant a.k.a "Dizzy Devil"