There are still places I haven’t been to in this town, and La Cita bar downtown Los Angeles was one of them… This is a done thing and the bar, with its super low ceiling, very dark atmosphere, glittery red lights and kitsch décor has some weird Latin-dance feeling with a large matador mural painting and a large outdoor patio. Who knows what happened there? I was there to see Manhattan Murder Mystery and Jail Weddings on a weeknight, which totally killed me because they started a bit after 10 pm, but, as soon as they started, I realized that they were exactly what I needed.
I have seen both of them several times, they may represent the best underground music that Los Angeles has to offer, two bands playing with an extreme passion, two bands interesting in what they can bring into the game. I just wonder when Manhattan Murder Mystery will become famous… probably never, and I feel so selfish by saying that I want them to stay my little secret. No, seriously I wish them all the success they deserve but they probably don’t care, they will probably stay in Woody Allen’s shadow in Google’s world and it doesn’t matter because they are so good. But I just want to know when they are gonna post more songs on their bandcamp page because there are some they sing live which sure aren’t there. Anyway, if I had a label I would sign them, or may be they wouldn’t care either, as they are here for playing their raw punk rock anthem and don’t bother about the rest? I have known very rowdy MMM’s shows, it wasn’t really the case for this one, may be it wasn’t really the place, may be Matthew Teardrop and his band now want to focus more on their music, but it was still the type of show people sing along, fist in the air when the Titanic is sinking, the type of show that let you with a gut-wrenching emotion but nevertheless overwhelmed by joy.
They played a few familiar ones with their almost-military-like drumming and Teardrop’s gravelous vocals, some quieter tune like ‘Luxury Liner’ that sounded like Neil Young singing Bukowski, and some let’s-get-fuck-up fast punk ones, but I honestly could relate to any of them, especially in this bar, which wanted to be festive but looked like the deepest hole in LA, may be because of this place has the lowest ceiling ever, may be because this place makes you feel more alone than ever… MMM has the best alcohol-fueled punk choral anthems, celebrating bad jobs, failed love affairs and obsessing about death, and they should release all of them!
This was Jail Weddings’ first show of the year, and they sneaked a few new songs from their upcoming album, such as ‘Blood Moon Blue’ and ‘A Big Surprise’ (I saw the setlist), mixed with older tunes, and, as usual, mad preacher Gabriel Hart was at the head of the seven-piece ensemble the whole time. If you have never seen them, they are an epic vision, they produce a sort of bombastic pop show turning high-energy Broadway musical ,with many fun and chaotic detours… oh but I can’t compete with the brilliant description of their style put on their Facebook page: ‘But, there’s also a newfound sense of musical genres and histories mixing together like molten wax where the band’s signature Shangri-La’s, Bad Seeds, noir-hued pop merges with hazy psychedelia, bombastic rock and even essences of bizarre Eastern European folk. It’s the sound of a band that’s always been at the brink of self-destruction actually growing and thriving on its own chaotic impulses.’
Rock, chaos, bombast, they are also an explosive collective with several back up singers, many instruments and even violins and a sort of Phil Spector’s wall of sound vibe… frontman Gabriel Hart is surely the star of the show, he sashays while dribbling his passionate singing all over the place, he whirls restlessly while kicking the air and doing his over-the-top dance. He is the hyper-dynamic singer of an arena-sized band, going for the full drama, duetting with one of the girls of the band, conducting with a master hand and acting with a rare mix of swagger and despair. People in the crowd got in the dance, and it turned a bit animated, the girls were doing some nice harmonies and each song climaxed a few times in a row, while Hart was still lying on the floor, folded in two, when the last song was sung.
(Jail Weddings) Setlist
A big surprise
Angel of sleep
Dead celebrity party
Hard to be good
Blood moon blue
Face of Kindness
Never Going to Find me
It’s not fair
simultaneously self-effacing and egomaniacs
essentially a disco remix of “Rocket Man” featuring one of the the UK’s biggest stars…
“I literally really need you to jump up and down”
Friday night might kill us but Thursday evening is a blast
it just isn’t the triumph she needed after six years
an impressive sonic ride.
a high-spirited Post Pandemic anthem
a memorable band who were never better than here
almost Pink Floyd-esque