Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A Night With The Book Eaters

Saturday night was the Revenge of the Book-Eaters and the wife and I had a fun time. We arrived at Royce Hall (UCLA) at 7:00 pm, an hour before the shindig was supposed to start. We were told that the doors to the hall wouldn't open until 7:30 so we waited in the lobby munching on tasteless chocolate chip cookies and looking over the overpriced 826LA merchandise. I suppose the merchandise should have been overpriced since this was a charity event and they were trying to make money. $7.00 for a tiny poster still seemed a little steep.

While we were waiting for the doors to open, the wife whispers in my ear - Look! That's Fiona Apple. And sure enough, there she was, standing in the middle of the auditorium lobby waiting for the doors to open. The wife doesn't have a very high opinion of "the one-hit-wonder" Fiona Apple. Yeah, She shot her career in the foot with some of the things she's said but I don't think that makes her a bad person.

The doors opened at 7:30 and the show started a little over a half an hour later. Andy Richter was the host for the evening and he was funny and entertaining. He started off with a Jim Morrison skit that made people laugh and cringe. He then introduced the first act.

The first act was a two man group called The Mountain Goats. They are an indie rock band with a rambling story telling kind of rock-folk sound. I wasn't very impressed. I was surprised about the last song of their set which, unfortunately I do not know the title of, was weird and funny in the way the wife and I like. The song was interesting but It isn't enough for me to want more.

The next act was Jenny Lewis, frontwoman for Rilo Kiley. She came across very country-blues with a very intriguing voice. Her last song, Rabbit Fur Coat, was down-right bizarre which, of course, made it the best song of her set. I think I will have to do some further investigation into Jenny Lewis and Rilo Kiley.

Jenny Lewis was followed by a plea for money by Dave Eggers, founder of 826Valencia. Dave read some of the stuff written by some of the kids at the 826 organization. The readings were hilarious. One went something like this - Picture a collage of a Gingerbread man and a Peanut - The caption reads (I paraphrase due to my bad memory): A ginger man married a peanut - I wonder what their children will look like? This and other readings had the audience roaring.

After a brief intermission, Sarah Vowel, a writer and regular contributor to This American Life, read one of her stories. This one concerned a German cartographer's journals. This cartographer accompanied an explorer (John C. Fremont) in the 1840s. Andy Richter read for the German cartographer's part using a terrible German accent that seemed strangely appropriate for the humor of the story.

The last act of the night was Aimee Mann. She and her band did six tracks. She was, as expected, awesome. Left me wanting for more. I knew two of the six songs - I will have to explore more of her older stuff.

The night ended with the Mountain Goats and Jenny Lewis doing an unrehearsed rendition of Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonely I could Cry." It sounded unrehearsed and kind of ended the night with an unsatisfying whimper.

Warts and all, we had a fun time, experienced some new music, and left with a smile - A good night out.

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