june 2004 - the diary

Wednesday 23rd

With only a couple of hours drive needed to get to LA from San Diego the time schedule is much more relaxed today. I start off with a quick peek at the Mexican border - definitely another of those been there done that things! And yes I do have a weakness for golf and since San Diego happens to be more or less the US golf capital I have to try out one of the local courses north of the city. So after a nice round with some of the locals I find myself approaching LA again. This time there's plenty of opportunities to study the surroundings since I get stuck in a classic LA traffic jam and when I finally reach Hollywood Boulevard it becomes obvious that dinner will have to wait until after the show. I'm staying at a Motel 6 just north of the boulevard and getting to the Knitting Factory is only something like a 15 minute walk, which gives me a brief chance to sample the special Hollywood atmosphere.

For this short stint of tourism I've brought my video camera, something that turns out to be a bad idea. At the Knitting Factory entry a 250 pound security guard with a "don't mess with me" attitude takes one look at my bag and asks me whether it contains a video camera - to which I must confess. Turns out this is a definite no no even though I had no intention of using it inside. So this costs me a cab ride back to the motel and by the time I return to the club the Damnwells are a couple of songs into their set. They do their stuff very nicely but the routine also starts becoming a bit too much after seeing 3 consecutive shows. Especially when it comes to the in-between song remarks it gets pretty annoying to hear the same word by word phrases repeated. All 3 nights we get the "We're the Damnwells from France" line. I mean this isn't even that funny the first time around! Here in LA we also get another echo from San Diego: "We've got a beach too - it's called Coney Island...". I know - you'll have to expect some degree of repetitiveness if you follow a band on tour, but it's remarkable how Juliana never does this, trust her to come up with new conversation items each night.

So this is the biggest club of the 3 and it even has a stage curtain that stays closed while Juliana and band are setting up. The moment the curtain opens up Juliana takes the opportunity to stick out her head and point her tongue at the audience indicating what turns out to be her general attitude tonight. While the SF and San Diego shows were pretty laid back it soon becomes obvious that this is more of an "in your face" performance. Very upbeat and kicking her feet along to every vocal line. I don't know if this is a conscious way of adopting to the LA way of life but it's really interesting witnessing a day to day change like this. And of course things like this is part of the fun of watching several Juliana shows on the same tour - the set lists might be very similar but every place has it's own mood making for a unique experience every night.

Before Feel It she checks with the band whether they feel girlie enough to play a Some Girls song - apparently they do and again it's striking how well that material lends itself to live performance. While the hyper energetic mode doesn't exactly help her vocals it certainly doesn't seem to hurt Juliana's guitar skills at all and this is especially apparent in the Some Girls material.

What a Life must have been written for the exact mood Juliana seems to be in tonight and it's pretty obvious that I'm not the only person in the audience enjoying this song. And yes Mabel is a really old one so maybe it isn't so strange that she happens to forget the "What's the time" line, drops her pick in distraction and has to get help with the lyrics from the audience:)

We get another update on poor Ed's sufferings - he's now had a big cortisone shot. Juliana declares him a real martyr - i kind of thought that being a martyr meant that you had to die for a case - hopefully I'm wrong about that!

Three time's lucky seem to hold true - tonight she gets the guitar part of Prettiest Girl absolutely right! Then it's time for a very well deserved promo of brother Jason's new CD How About Never. He's a really talented guy and I'd recommend everyone to check out his stuff. Unfortunately you're unlikely to find it in record stores, so unless you get the chance to pick it up at a Juliana show (like I did tonight) you should go and have at look at his web site where you can buy his latest works online.

Your Eyes is back on the set list and this time with much more success than in SF. Glad to hear it since it's my favorite of the new songs on Gold Stars even though the recorded versions suffers from a totally screwed production.

So will people ever stop crying out for Feelin' Massachusetts - apparently not and I guess that if Mabel can make a surprise reappearance then who knows Feelin' might turn up some day too? "We'll play a new one for you - sorry!" is proof that Juliana's very well aware of the nostalgia level of the crowd, guess it's something she'll have to live with forever.

Once more the final line of the regular set is "I still love my enemy" and all I can reply is "I still love that song" - it's going to be a Juliana classic. The larger and quite enthusiastic crowd allows her to take a few minutes more before coming out for the traditional Tomorrow Never Comes solo encore. Someone in the audience hands her a big bouquet of flowers and I think we all find that they are very well deserved after a show like this(I've later been told that this someone happened to be Louise Post of Veruca Salt fame). The Dot Allison cover seems to work especially well tonight and it even gets prolonged by some very improvised lyrics. After quite a few lines like "I don't know how to end this" and "I miss my dog" and stuff about needing to sleep the words "Thank you" ends up bringing the song to a natural end. A very enjoyable show indeed and a great finish to my 3 show stint!


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