Blowhard, Esq. writes:
Thanks to a FB friend who tipped me off, not to mention Fabrizio for introducing me to them in the first place, I took in Garfunkel and Oates, a.k.a. Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci, at the Largo in West Hollywood this past weekend.
We got there a little early, so I walked around the neighborhood first.
The theater is located in the design district around La Cienega and Melrose. César Pelli‘s hulking, jelly bean-colored Pacific Design Center is a major eyesore/landmark.
You guys, if gluten-free, vegan, yoga-loving WeHo can’t support a Buddhist bookstore, what is this world coming to? (Note: I did not Photoshop the Prius into the picture. It was already there, I swear.)
Throw pillow for the one percent.
We stopped for coffee and bite to eat at the Urth Cafe, a hip and popular local spot. Many episodes of Entourage — HBO’s series about douchey guys trying to make it in the movies — begin here.
Let’s take a quick detour through the residential parts right off Melrose. Notice how the houses all have large hedges in the front yard for privacy. Also, another Prius.
Trashy Lingerie is right across the street from the theater. They always have interesting window displays.
The Largo is one of the best music and comedy venues in L.A. The theater only sits 300, so there ain’t a bad seat in the house. Jon Brion, Fiona Apple, Aimee Mann, Tenacious D, and Sarah Silverman are a few of the acts that either got their start or have performed here regularly.
Before the girls started, they came out to announce that a special guest was opening up for them: John C. Reilly. Reilly has an album out of acoustic, high-lonesome country numbers; he performed about five songs with Tom Brousseau. Reilly’s guitar playing might’ve been a little basic, but he’s a good singer and the two harmonized really well together. Here’s a video of them performing recently.
Anyway, the girls finally came onstage a little after 9 and they were terrific from beginning to end. Our seats were third row center so I should have some excellent pictures for you, but the venue (like most) forbids photography or recording of any kind. Given that the YouTube era has allowed cult acts like G&O to flourish, you’d think they’d reasses that policy and encourage people to record and post their stuff. Why not outsource advertising to the rabid fans? Then again, there’s already plenty of unauthorized recordings on YouTube, so I guess there’s no incentive for the artists or venues to change anything.
Here’s what they played:
- I Don’t Know Who You Are
- Pregnant Women are Smug
- The Fade Away
- Handjob, Blandjob, I Don’t Understand Job
- Go Kart Racing
- The College Try
- The Loophole
Even though they have 2+ albums’ worth of material, they didn’t play too many songs. However, a straight setlist is a little misleading because in between every song they basically did a few minutes of stand-up. Although I’m guessing they’ve told the stories and anecdotes many times before, the girls are pros, so their delivery always felt spontaneous, ad-libbed, and breezy. Even when they hit a couple of snags — Kate forgot the words to one of their songs so they had to stop and restart, Riki dropped her pick during some excited strumming — they had the command and presence to turn their mistakes into comic bits. Boy, the spell good performers are capable of weaving, eh? It’s strange and wonderful how they’re capable of cajoling and coaxing a roomful of strangers into their world. Of course, it didn’t hurt that a) Riki and Kate’s dresses showed a lot of leg and b) that I was very drunk. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that, after performing “The College Try,” Kate revealed that she and Riki share the same gynecologist.
Immediately after they finished, the ladies were at the merch table to
allow me to pledge my undying love to them greet their fans.
I got an autographed CD and t-shirt for $20.
Finally, I don’t how this is possible, but someone took a picture of my dreams. No, sorry, they tweeted this picture on Sunday from the set of the video shoot for “The Loophole.”
Incredible what a mood-lift fun performers can deliver, isn’t it? Life without the performing arts would be such a drab thing … Great snapz and tour, btw. Love G&O. Filthy and cute can’t be easy to pull off (see “The Sweetest Thing” for a real misfire), but they make it look easy.
The buzz a live performer is capable of delivering is indeed a wonderful thing. After The Question Lady’s show last month and G&O’s show this month, I’m clearly on a roll.
Oy, you ain’t kiddin’ about “The Sweetest Thing” being a misfire. I came across it on cable a few years back and was stunned at how awkward and tone deaf it was. The thought of that musical number still makes me shudder.
The rationale most comedians offer for not wanting their club dates filmed is that it is fundamentally a live art that can only be developed on stage, and they feel abashed about trying new things if they know it’s going on their permanent record. Comedy relies on surprise, too, and it takes the edge off the performance if fans have already heard half-baked versions of all the bits. It does seem like permitting photos might help G&O, however, since their songs, at least, are not improvisational and they are highly photogenic.
Oh sure, the policy makes a lot more sense for comedians. I saw Louis CK at the Largo about a year and a half ago when he was trying out material for a new special. He came out on stage with a notebook and specifically told us at the top that things would be rough and unpolished as he tried new bits. CK performed for about 90 mins and absolutely killed. Much of the material from that show made it on “Live at the Beacon Theater.”
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