So, the Detour festival: It was really quite excellent. There were about 15,000 people, and a friend who works at the Weekly tells me it was a bit more diffuse this year because there were three stages, not four. I appreciate that because dense crowds make me flip out. You could work your way through the throngs of high-schoolers right up to the stage, and see the bands up close.
More on Kinky, Patton Oswalt, Autolux, Teddybears, Satellite Party and Bloc Party (look! parties!) after the jump, plus some judgmental fashion (look! Jaded-ness!) observations and one seriously suicidal plate (look! high blood pressure!) of fried artichoke hearts.
(First of all, I feel I should offer a rebuttal to the LAist post on how the “beer garden” (which equated no booze on the streets, just in the fenced-off area) cramped everyone’s style at Detour. I dig what you’ve got to say over there, but I also would like to point out the sheer volume of KIDS that were at this event. I’m guessing, from rubbernecking all night at the absurd 80s-revival finery on all sorts of wee people, that approx. 40% of the attendees were under 21. And of those 40%, about half were WASTED. To wit: approx. 30 seconds after my friend & I passed the gates, proceeding down Main, we saw a chick who couldn’t have been over 17 skip down the street with her friend, stagger a bit, bend over and ralph.
…Right in the middle of the street. The port-a-potties reeked of puke. By the end of the night there were slender doe-eyed little girls lying on the sidewalk, resting, while their boyfriends proceeded to leave them & go watch Bloc Party. I think it might have been even worse if there hadn’t been a carefully monitored boozing area. You can say these kids woulda gotten loaded anyway, whether there was a beer garden or if there was free-range schnockering, but I do think a buncha drunk 14-year-olds on the streets of downtown, especially in a crowd of adults as it progressively gets later, darker & drunkier, is a safety issue. I’ve seen how predatory people can get towards young drunk girls (and guys), and while I know it’s a pain in the ass to have to drink in a cordoned-off area where people are carded to enter, I kinda feel like it’s an acceptable concession. Besides, if you’re over 21 and it’s THAT important to you to drink outside the City-Hall-adjacent pen, you could totally have done it. I have one pal who always brought a water bottle with gin in it everywhere. Others get those vitamin water things & fill ’em with mixed drinks. It’s cheaper, too. Take it from a professional.)
Nextly (yes I know that’s not a word, but it should be). I ate this:
I cannot believe I ate that.
It’s about 10 breaded & deep-fried artichoke hearts, topped with a white sauce like you get on fish tacos, and some bay shrimp.
It was delicious and as close as I’ve gotten to death in the last two years or so.
The first band we stumbled onto was Kinky. I almost didn’t recognize them, from the band I’d seen opening for Flaming Lips and Modest Mouse at the Greek so many years ago. There, they’d been hesitant, their set less tight, their sound uncertain of itself. Now, they were ROCKING. I hadn’t known they’d gone so electronic, but this was dance music with a hard-rock edge, charismatic, infectious. They played the sun down as it set, and were the best surprise of the night.
Next we wandered over to the Comedians of Comedy, where we caught Patton Oswalt wrapping up the set with some wry observations on Halloween in Los Angeles: used to be you’d put a pumpkin out front and it’d be a holiday. Now it seems as though everyone’s filling their yards with the most horrific, realistic and grotesque imagery possible. Is this the outcome of a CSI-infiltrated society, where we’re all cool with gore? He’s got a point.
As we walked around, there was some fantastic large-scale art in the form of these tulip-style light sculptures. Detour also seemed to have brought in a mobile AV crew: a number of people were walking around with projectors, aiming them at the sides of buildings as they went. Each person had styled up their projector-laptop setup in some arty way: this guy had mounted his projectors inside some strange cage-topped-staves. It was really very cool.
Teddybears rocked, and played a really excellent set of straight-up poppy rock melded with some looping and vocal effects. But I must make this observation: they were SEXY. No, I’m not some animal freak. But in their snappy suits, dapper presentation and swaggering ‘tude–plus the too-tight slacks, holy crap, those bears have PACKAGES–it was a somewhat disturbing confrontation of sexy, masculine rock-n-roll with, uh, bear heads. I tried to demurely avert my eyes, but they knew they were pulling the classic rock-guy-with-visibly-stuffed-pants thing, and it was hard to ignore. Especially when one of them pulled his shirt out of his waistband and began to unbutton his pants. The crowd screamed with titillated joy. Hey, what can I say? I’m a red-blooded 30-year-old woman. I notice. It was hot. And yes, I’ve always dated musicians.
Autolux was, unfortunately, a little diffuse and anticlimactic. I think, after seeing them many times, they’re much better in a smaller venue.
Perry Farrell’s new “Satellite Party” was great, but mostly when playing Jane’s Addiction hits. Farrell is a consummate performer and is growing into “rock god” really gracefully. He didn’t stand still for even a second, so all I could get was this crazy blurry shot. But OMG, what’s with the chick on backing vocals basically strip-tease dancing up there the entire time? I dunno. I have issues with women just using their sexuality on stage when they’re supposed to be musicians.
The preponderance of fashion tended towards the 80s–with skinny jeans on guys and jumpers on girls, and damn it was annoying. Boots, boots boots as far as the eye can see. Headbands–not the over-the-head kind, but the Ralph Macchio/hippie chick kind. At the going rate, I predict grunge to resurface as a fashion trend in about a year.
The best looks, though, were on these guys. I know the ironic look has been done to death, but these guys wore it so well, I was utterly smitten (especially with the cute one in the center! squee!). They were handing out flyers for a yard sale featuring vintage stuff, some art from local underground artists, and heartschallenger, so hey, that’s cool. (Apparently, it already happened Sunday. Sorry. :(
By the time Bloc Party played my friend and I were too exhausted to move from our perch upon the planter on the exterior of city wall. They were great, but I…I’m getting old.
Blogged to The Broken West.