Posts Tagged ‘R Bar’

A Night Out in LA (5) part 2

March 13, 2009

Since it was only a little after 10 pm, I hurried on to my next destination.

My Tuesday Night continued, Part 2: Fish Circus again

Thanks to myspace, I knew that Fish Circus was playing once more at R Bar. And having taken the Metro to get to Hollywood & Vine, I noticed that if I switched off the Red Line and got on the Purple Line, one stop more and I would be at Normandie and Wilshire, a couple blocks from where the R Bar is. I had no idea I could actually take a Metro line to my nearby bar. I always forget about the Purple Line, since all but two stops are the same as the Red Line. Though it might still be quicker to walk at night, since the waiting for the Metro is agony enough, since frequently there is no time table to refer to when the next train is. It’s an LA thing, to always be late, or not to show up at all for things, blaming the traffic or lack of parking, but to not have time schedules for those of us avoiding using a car, thus increasing the chances we too will be late, or at least wasting our time like everyone else? Whatever! We are definitely not equivalent to the cities in Europe, where if a train was late by a minute, the gathered boarding crowd would start to grumble. I have seen it. Later than a few minutes, and I would expect a riot in Europe, from the respectable business folk trying to make meetings on time.  But no one kicks up a fuss here in LA. We just tack on an additional half hour or hour to make sure we get to places on time. Or don’t predict when we will arrive.

The myspace notice had said they were doing a double set, starting early at 9:30 pm. Having watched them set up the last time, I suspected I could make it to their second set no problem, as I guessed they would start late.

I walked in, there was silence, and I asked, and sure enough, they hadn’t started the second set yet.

I had another reason to seek Fish Circus out, besides the fact I enjoyed them so much the first time. On my computer, there is a feature that scrolls randomly through all the photos I have saved on my hard drive and displays them as I play on my computer. One day, after seeing Fish Circus the last time, I noticed that the violinist sure looked like the guest member of another band I had snapped pictures of, Ninja Academy. And when I had seen Fish Circus set up last time, I had that feeling the violinist looked extremely familiar, but I couldn’t place from where at all.

Here was my chance. I saw him and asked.

“Did you perform with Ninja Academy when they performed at Spaceland recently?”

“Was that with the King Crimson band?”

The Great Deceivers? Yeah.”

“That was me.”

“I knew you looked familiar!”

 Dan, Sarah. Sarah, Dan. We shook hands.

“Do you recognize the drummer?” he asked.

No, I nodded, puzzled.

“No, you wouldn’t because they wear their ninja masks. Anyway, the drummer here is in Ninja Academy.”

Fascinating. The music world is a small place. The LA music scene is an especially small place.

Fish Circus played their second set, making it up as they went along. This was a smaller audience than last performance, but I think more appreciative. We did not talk during the performance, for one (a major pet peeve for me. Why go see a band and then talk through their show?) I saw at least one person dancing, and more than one of us swayed energetically to the beat. The singer was once again mesmerizing, especially her eyelashes. They were super long and fake, and white speckled, like white speckled bird feathers. I am fascinated by what she chooses to wear and how she presents herself.

Fish Circus at the R Bar March 10th

Fish Circus at the R Bar March 10th

And then, it too, was over. Time to walk home, back along the same route I walked earlier in the day, for the third time.

For a night out in LA, I did extremely well. Action packed, enjoyable, filled with sights and sounds that were exquisite and unique. Total cost? $2.50, and that was strictly for transportation. How awesome is that, in one of the nation’s more expensive cities? And isn’t the internet a marvelous thing, letting me know that these events were to be attended? Gotta love technology.

Fish Circus

February 26, 2009

So last night was Mardi Gras. I planned on celebrating.

But where to go, what to do? I was not in New Orleans, nor in Buenos Aires or Venezia to properly celebrate Carnivale and all. I am firmly in Los Angeles at the present.

Thank god for myspace. I have linked myself to various local bars and bands that I like, and sure enough, one of my local bars invited me to come out for Mardi Gras to hear Fish Circus. Fish Circus? Never heard of them. But the R Bar, over in Koreatown, is definitely within walking distance, even with heels, for me. I previewed a few songs of Fish Circus, and decided they sounded fun and appropriate for Mardi Gras. Drum, bass, trombone, accordian, violin, vocalist and ocassional keyboard. Violin, accordian and trombone? Let us all eat King Cake!

As usual, I was far too early. But they still made me say the secret password to get in. The bartender and doorman were both outside for a smoke. The band was barely inside, just starting to get set up. It would be a while before they started playing, here it was nearly 9 pm and it looked like just me, the staff and the band were there. Maybe I would have a drink when the bartender returned.

The R Bar is a classic LA dive bar, the kind that is unmarked, anonymous and you have to be in the know about it to even know it is there. The doorkeep frequently stands inside, and looks through the peephole, but he does at least open and close the door for you, everytime. There is no velvet rope, there is no sign. You just gotta know. Probably the smokers clustered outside and the din of music from inside would be give aways, but I was inside, happily listening to the music, and so wouldn’t know.

I like the R Bar. It is dark and has private corners and various different areas. There are dim chandeliers everywhere, a CD jukebox, glassy surfaces that separate areas, but some are mirrors and some are glass to confuse, and there are drapes of fabric and wide planked wood floors, a granite countertop bar, and an old fashioned cash register. It strives to straddle a different time, a different era, perhaps a speakeasy. It is not as much of a dive bar as I had hoped, I realized when I got my bill. My amaretto sours were $8 each, I found. True dive bar would be cheaper than that, but considering every time I attend, I am listening to music I enjoy, I think they know their own value. In the dreamworld I spend time in, I can imagine the decor and arrangement of the R Bar lending itself just as easily to my nighttime hours only cafe, where bands and audiences come AFTER the bars have closed.

But anyway, the band. As they were setting up, I heard the drummer was recuperating from having had all four wisdom teeth removed, and was concerned about his swollen face. The vocalist was trying to deal with a stuffed up nose.  But one would never guess that either musician was under the weather. They played two sets, and once they added their vocalist, they really shined.

She is a true performer. Batting her super fake eyelashes, she squeaked and squealed, shook and shimmied, and straddled audience members at times. She could be a punk rocker, a hip hop artist, a belly dancer, a 1920s vixen or simply a singer in a band. Betty Boop came to mind, with her saucy minx ways. She had the moves and attitude of whomever she decided to channel for the moment. All my pictures with her in them were a blur. Then again, the violinist refused to hold still either. He performed the role of lead guitarist, complete with effects pedals. And we all know what a sucker I am for pedals, especially delay. Even the trombonist doubled doing scat lines and shouting angry lyrics at the growing crowd. At the end, the singer reminded the audience to buy their merchandise or else the trombonist would kill us. A plausible threat, I thought, as he was a sizeable man, not to be trifled with. And that trombone. Who knows what he would be willing to do with that!

I left before angry trombone attacks could happen, and happily walked home again, a little tipsy for my efforts of supporting the venue. All in all, an appropriate celebration to the spirit of Mardi Gras.

Fish Circus at R Bar

Fish Circus at R Bar