So, on Friday, I was supposed to get picked up before noon for the trip down. Earlier than we needed to leave, but we preferred to get there earlier and kill time there then to kill time here.
Nobody had shown up by about 12:50, so I started to make an LJ post bemoaning the fact that I must have gotten ditched somehow, when they finally showed up while I was in the middle of writing it. None of us, it turns out, has a cell phone.
So, the core coterie was me and fellow Oakland Lisa-Germano-mailing-list member Tom (who is in the old-time bluegrass band The Crooked Jades). He brought with him his ex-girlfriend Dione, who is not particularly a Lisa Germano fan, but had agreed to come along for some reason or another.
Once we got on the open road, Tom driving, he revealed that the plan this time was to not listen to any music on the way down so we wouldn't be "musiced-out" like he thought we had been when we did this last time. They had brought along a book/CD set called "Poetry Speaks", featuring American poets reading their poetry themselves, and we listened to the last CD of it.
Man, I really don't like modern poetry, or whatever exactly this was (it mostly dated from the 40s to the 60s). So little of it has any discernable meter or rhyme; it's a common joke to say it's just prose with extra line breaks. Once it's read aloud, the line breaks disappear, and it comes out as just prose--sometimes prose with really exaggerated metaphors and wackiness, but nothing outside of what you might have seen in prose on talk.bizarre, and one "poem" about a dead deer sounded entirely like just a story. A good, well-told story, but a story, not what I think of as poetry, with music in the words.
Once in LA, we stopped by Walter and Barb's place (in Silver Lake, I think) to drop off our stuff and take them with us to the Largo. They had never even heard Lisa Germano, but Tom had convinced them to come with us. We were crashing there again in their basement--I guess Tom knows Walter from when he played briefly in the Crooked Jades, and they would often stay with each other when roadtripping for musical reasons. (Walter, who comes across as perpetually stoned, works as a sound recordist for I think Paramount. Go, Hollywood.)
So, on to the Largo in West Hollywood. We got the booth right next to the front-row table we'd gotten before. Met Christe from the mailing list. Tom Brosseau was opening for Lisa--he had gotten added at the last minute; not really my thing, and my favorite song he played was Ugly, by Julianna Hatfield. Then he introduced John Doe, who was not scheduled and had not been announced, and I got a bit puzzled. I was thinking maybe this was Jon Brion (who I don't know what he looks like) without his name being admitted for some reason, but further research since has revealed to me that this was an actual folk-ish musician who goes by that name. Then Lisa got up and accompanied John Doe for a song. He went off, and she played "Wood Floors" on the piano, and then attempted "If I Think of Love" on the organ-ish thing, saying that Jon Brion kept bugging her to play it (and hence furthering my at-the-time confusion). She made it about half way through before getting lost (in the words? in trying to play it? the words are pretty arbitrarily strung together). Then she took a break.
Then she came on, and played through the entirety of Lullabye for Liquid Pig. Accompanied, as always, by Sebastien Steinberg on bass, and by her protege Denise Bonis on the organ-like thingy (and a dollop of piano on one song). She played about half the songs on the piano, and about half on her weird guitar that, best as I can guess, is tuned down an octave. (Sebastien was playing a five-string bass that went lower than a normal bass.)
It's not my favorite of her albums, but it's still pretty amazing stuff, and although she can't get the insane atmosphere that some of the songs (especially "Liquid Pig") have, the mood was right on, with her breathy sound and everything. (I guess I really prefer it when she plays guitar or violin and has a drummer, but then, I'm a rocker.) They played through the first three songs without stopping for a break--apparently Lisa doesn't exactly like being applauded or something, and likes to not give us a chance to. After one song, she said something like she felt bad that we were applauding when what that song/performance was so simple i.e. trivial. At another point, she mentioned that she was in a good mood which made it weird doing all these down songs, but then again she'd been in a bad mood the night before (this was the second of two-in-a-row Largo shows), and she didn't make that sound like a good thing.
After the short set (her entire album being only 40 minutes or so), they went off, and then Lisa came back up solo and made it all the way through "If I Think of Love" this time, then apologized for not having any other material to play for us.
Dione and I bought the CD immediately afterwards--I already have two CD-R copies, one from Lisa's manager and one bootleg I got much, much earlier--from the box up front--although strangely the CDs had Amoeba Records price tags on them like they had just rushed over and bought them from there to resell them in person.
Then we went back to Walter and Barb's and W,B, and Tom played some old-time. I sat it out because they didn't have sheets I could read and Walter was playing guitar anyway (last time, he'd played mandolin) and it would have been redundant. Dione had brought out the guitar she was in the process of buying--she's just starting to learn to play, and felt like it sounded like crap since she couldn't actually play it. So after Tom went to bed, I played it a little bit to showe her, and then Walter played it a little bit, then we plugged it in to a little practice amp since it was an acoustic electric, and then since we were in my territory I played it a bit.
I was noodling out the basic riff from "So What DIfference Does It Make" and Dione recognized it and said something like "oh, I guess I could even play old rock songs on it", so I ran through some of "Asleep", sans vocals, and then tried to think what else I could play--faked through the chords of "Unloveable" and Barb said "well, you've really got to sing it too" so I immediately stopped that and went for one which I could sing. I don't remember what, but I did a couple more, Dione singing most of them. "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out", Barb requested "Vicar in a Tutu", and then after I did it pointed out that it seemed like I knew rather a lot of I could take arbitrary requests. So I switched bands to "Back on the Chain Gang"--letting Dione do all the singing--but we all called it a night soon after.
Next morning we had breakfast at Madame Matisse, and then got back on the road before noon.
EDIT: added the last link, fixed a song title
EDIT: Expenses: $20 gas, $10 cover, $25 dinner -> $55. (Dione picked up both lunch Friday and breakfast Saturday. I guess I should have gotten one. Also, I'm not counting the $15 CD.)