SILVERLAKE JUBILEE 2011
The 2011 Silver Lake Jubilee is a passing fancy and I will resist making any comedic remarks centered around all the “rapture” nonsense, except to say it was delightful to see a cute little toddler shaking his groove thing to the Blondie song, “Rapture,” as it ironically played over the Santa Monica Stage sound system. The great thing about the Jubilee is that there is so much going on. The not so great thing is that it all seems to be going on at the same time so you have to either pick your poisons or run back and forth to see snippets of as many acts as you can. Despite a temporary bum right foot (don’t ask), I opted for the latter, limping around and trying to get a feel for as many things as possible and after one too many beef sticks and one too little beers, I enthusiastically give you:
THE BEST OF SILVERLAKE JUBILEE 2011 AWARDS
1) The Largest Band With A Saxophone Player Wearing A White Saturday Night Fever Suit Award goes to… Jail Weddings. Not only did they have ten members in the band AND the sax player was wearing a sporty all white suit, their version of 1950s doo wop meets post punk meets country western rockabilly barrels over you before you could even decide if you were at a rock show or Broadway musical. In the end it doesn’t matter, it is all B movie fun. Lead singer Gabriel Hart proves once again that he is the hardest working man in rock and roll.
2) The Best Kristen Wiig Impersonation Award goes to… Tiffany Preston of Rainbow Arabia. Tiffany on electric guitar, and her keyboardist husband Danny created this trippy blend of world music meets straight dance pop that, at times, reminded me a bit of M.I.A. Tiffany knows how to use effects on her voice and stirred up the crowd with tasty guitar lines and African inspired dance moves. AND yes, she does look like Kristen Wiig.
3) The Most Offensive Thing Uttered Over A Public Address System Award goes to… Iliza Shlesinger hosting the comedy showcase. During a hilarious rant on the ridiculousness of the overly intense 5 Gum commercials she ended her diatribe with the image of falling down a snow covered mountain while being face fucked by a polar bear—which literally sent a woman and her child (who were sitting in the front row) running away in search of Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band.
4) The Band Most Likely To Be In The Federal Witness Protection Program Award goes to…. The Finches. Singer-songwriter Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs has expanded her duo into a full-on band with a wonderful result, blending rich harmonies into folk masterpieces with a decidedly somber tone which makes things all the more fun. On the Sunset stage, the entire band was wearing all manner of hair (or feathers) on their faces, the most creative being Carolyn, who seemed to sport a reverse bob covering her entire face.
5) The Best Teriyaki Burger Under 7 Bucks Award goes to… Neri’s Curbside Cravings Food Truck. I did not expect to be gastronomically blown away as I hobbled up to Neri’s white food truck, but I was. Most items were only 6 bucks, including the teriyaki burger which caught my eye as one of the nice servers handed it down to a customer. OMG, this creation was incredible! A pure masterpiece on the plate and in my mouth. Little did I know that Neri and Romy Seneres started Neri’s Restaurant in 1985 and this food truck is an outgrowth of that successful eatery.
6) The Most Photographed Man At The Jubilee Award goes to… (hands down) Dante White Aliano from Dante VS Zombies. Remember Pee Wee Herman’s declaration, “Why don’t you take a picture? It will last longer.” Not only does the audience gleefully stare at Dante but, with every flamboyant pose, photographers literally scramble over each other like rabid paparazzi to take his pic. Dante VS Zombies creates theater for the eyes and mind weaving a blend of spaghetti western meets late 1980s glam rock. My favorite number on Sunday has to be “Bible Belt,” which found White climbing the scaffolding during the last third of the song. After the song ended and while still perched up high on the scaffolding, Dante did an impromptu Eddie Vedder impersonation. Gotta love that.
7) The Most Unlikely Pairing Of Band To Venue Award goes to… The Lovely Bad Things (and friends) at the Eagle Stage located at the Eagle L.A. Premier Leather Gay Bar. Quite off the beaten path, it was the only stage / venue that was 21 and over. When the surf pop thrashers perform at the Smell, Glasshouse or DIY house shows, their core audience is barely out of high school. The band could not enter the 21 and over venue except to play its set. Ricardo from Black Elephant (who was sitting in for guitarist Tim Hatch) had a decidedly “Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore” look on his face as he hung out backstage amid the steel chain spider web and this unusual chair. A cadre of “underage” fans who came to see TLBT hung outside. The stage is situated at arm’s length from the bar and after their first song, someone yelled out, “You suck!” It was an inauspicious beginning but TLBT pressed on and midway through their set they seemed to have turned even the “you suck” guy into a convert. Before their last song, Brayden (on drums), in a rather understated way, said, “I think I saw Mr. Leather 2011 walking around here a couple of times which is pretty cool”—which garnered pleasing whoops and hollahs from the crowd. They tore into “Icee Creeps,” which got the room moving and the shirtless beefcake bar boy shaking his ass. As some Eagle L.A. regulars stated, it was a “fierce” performance.
8) The Are They Gestapo Khazi Or Aren’t They Gestapo Khazi? Award goes to… well, Holy Roller or Gestapo Khazi or that guy who fronts Gestapo Khazi, eh… oh holy fuckballs! A lot of us were amped to see Gestapo Khazi but during their set time another band appeared. Luckily this band was fronted by Gestapo Khazi’s lead singer John Roller who has an intense voice with a biting delivery that makes me think of Johnny Rotten’s snarl. Rumor has it that Gestapo Khazi broke up a few days earlier and it seems that Holy Roller is John’s latest incarnation. He wore a low slung guitar and growled out songs like “Burn The Evidence,” which made me feel more badass just listening to it. The sparse arrangement and piercing guitar strains highlighted John’s incredible voice and that is a good thing. Holy Roller’s songs are sultry, heavy, slow burns that play like dark film noir. Good stuff.
9) The Person Or Band Formerly Known As Black Jesus Award goes to… Races. Well, as most of you know, I formerly was known as Black Jesus as well but then I cannot receive awards being that I am the award giver. I was literally drawn to Races’ sound in the same way that Bugs Bunny would float off his feet when he was smitten with a girl bunny. There is something quite lovely about the band’s plaintive songs that have an earthy timeless quality full of emotional fills and vocal harmonies. First of all Races has a girl who has this angelic vulnerable voice and, um, well they have a guy who has an equally vulnerable angelic voice. Put this all together with well written songs and great musicianship and you cannot lose. Special props to the drummer—I loved the way he added depth to the music.
10) The Most Thankless Job Award goes to… Ok, I don’t know these ladies’ names but these two souls had a recycling booth where they sifted through all the stinky trash bags and separated out the trash into either recyclable material, composted material or just good ole stinky ass landfill material. Bravo for doing this and kudos to the whole eco theme of the festival.
11) The Scariest DAMN Clown I Have Ever Seen Award goes to… YOU know-you saw-you had sweaty nightmares just like me…oh god!
12) The Best Use Of A Laptop Other Than Facebook Award goes to… the wonderful Ximena Sariñana who gave a stellar sunset performance on the Sunset Stage. Equipped with her computer providing programmed beats and other cool stuff, and accompanied by a bass player, the Grammy Award and Latin Grammy nominated Mexican singer-songwriter played an electric keyboard and sang wonderfully sweet tunes. She sang in both English and Spanish and I enjoyed her songs in either language. One in particular had a Beatle-esque thing happening, the melancholy melody painting beautiful watercolors bringing to mind such songs as “Fool On The Hill” and “She’s Leaving Home.” I think Ximena pretty much enchanted everyone who was lucky enough to experience her music.
13) The Best Band That Has Something Made Of Glass And An Animals Boney Appendages In Their Name Award goes to… Crystal Antlers of course! I love this band and am so looking forward to their upcoming album, Two Way Mirror, due to be released on June 12th. Johnny Bell’s gravelly vocals never sounded better and his bass had that perfect touch of fuzz. Crystal Antlers played an amazing set. “Summer Solstice” is one of my favorite songs, starting off slowly with Cora Foxx’s keys, Andrew King’s trancey guitar strains, and Kevin Stuart’s sparse drum beat. Johnny’s fanning bass line builds it slowly and by the time Damien Edwards adds his amazing energy on percussion the song lifts me off my feet. It is like all Crystal Antlers songs, alive with ebbs and flows and energy that takes the sounds from melancholy to jubilant. When their songs hit that fever pitch of jammy distorted rock, there is nothing better. From house shows to large stages, these guys never ever disappoint.
14) Best Ryan Seacrest Impersonation Award goes to: The announcer on the Sunset stage!
15) Best Vince Vaughn Impersonation Award goes to: The announcer on the Santa Monica stage!
16) Best Booty Ass Award goes to: A tie between THAT girl in Love Grenades and the Beefcake bar boy at the Eagle bar.
Kudos to all the great acts that also rocked my socks off: TRMRS, Black Flamingo, The Black Apples, Pangea, Audacity, Lady Danville, Love Grenades, Slang Chickens and fucking hilarious comics Mark Ellis and Pete Holmes. And to all the others that I did not get a chance to see, I am currently working on cloning myself.