The Canadian alternative/prog rock, JPNSGRLS, is currently on their “2014 West Coast U.S. Tour.” While they are on this tour, their bassist, Chris McClelland, will be writing an exclusive blog for our site. You can check out his third and final blog from the tour, with photos, after the break.
After playing in San Francisco, we had one more show with Charlie before he flew back to Vancouver for a few days to do some filming. We played this cool punk venue in San Jose, called the Caravan Lounge that was ironically plastered with “no moshing” signs (not very punk). There was no moshing.
Now that Charlie had left us, Graham, Oli and I (Chris), had a few days off to kill in LA. Debauchery ensued. Our first night in LA, we went to an event put on by Brainfeeder, called Low End Theory, which is an infamous electronic music night. We saw a couple of amazing sets and it was refreshing to listen to interesting and good electronic music, not the cookie cutter club tracks we get most of the time back in Vancouver. The night was punctuated with Erykah Baduh and Thundercat doing an unannounced joint set after Gaslamp Killer, killed it.
The next day, one of my best friends from back home, Tyler, flew down to LA to join our crew for a couple days of shenanigans. In true party spirit, the drinking commenced at 9:45am when his shuttle from the airport dropped him off at our hotel. A crucial piece of information in our developing story is that Tyler and I are both giants (him, 6’4” and I, 6’7”). We both can drink our body weight in distilled spirit and we both have a 6th sense for partying. Along with our drummer, Grambo, we make quite the team. Now, we have been eating tacos this whole tour because they are nutritious, delicious and cheap as hell. So, on our way to Venice Beach, we stopped off at the famous fish taco haven featured in I Love You Man; the James Beach Bar & Grill. These tacos platters were platters of heavenly bliss and are worthy of all the hype they receive from Jason Segal and Paul Rudd. It is a must for anyone who finds themselves in the Venice Beach area.
After our awesome meal we moved onto the beach to do some majestic frolicking in the Venice Beach surf and a little roughhousing, which was followed by a little more frolicking. At this point, we needed to rest since drinking aggressively in the SoCal heat is hard work. So, like a bunch of drunk Canadians, we pass out, un-sunscreened, on the beach for at least an hour. Oliver and I woke up from the naps feeling refreshed with a nice bit of tan, but Graham and Tyler woke up with comically red sunburns covering their backs and legs.
We needed to get these boys out of the sun, so we concluded the thing to do was to shelter ourselves on a nice umbrella’d patio and drink until the sun retreated behind the horizon, which was quite beautiful. So, we found ourselves on a great little patio at Venice local hotspot, The Whaler. After keeping mostly to ourselves for about an hour, two Brits end up saddling up with us at our table. Pleasantries were exchanged and after a few minutes, conversation led to discussing our occupations. We explained to them our day jobs and the fact that we are a band on tour from Canada, and he drops the bomb that he is a porn star, but not just any porn star, the biggest (intenational) and most decorated male porn star, in the UK and the world. We proceed to grill him for hours, acquiring the answers to all of the questions that every man has had since they were first shown pictures of naked ladies by their friends older brothers. It was a truly enlightening experience and there were a lot of high-fives exchanged. We were invited to a porn shoot the following day, which we unfortunately did not attend. When it was time to part ways with our new friends, my compadres and I we were extremely fired up and ready to hit the Sunset Strip.
Grambo, Disco-Ty and I dialed ourselves in back at the hotel and put a few more back, while Oliver turned in for the night. Now, our night on the sunset strip was pretty legendary, but I don’t feel the need to go into exhaustive detail about the many people and places we offended (just kidding), and to tell you the truth its not all that clear, so I will give you an abbreviated version. Highlights include, but are not limited to: making a great impression about Canadians to the LA party scene, 8000 more high fives both among ourselves and with strangers, myself forgetting how speak the English language for a large chunk of the night, running into Busta Rhymes himself at an amazing 24hr diner with 2 giant security guards who wouldn’t let a very full Grambo talk to him, and a guy who just got out of a Ferrari asking us for parking money.
Onto Friday where we spent our day cruising around LA handing out flyers for the back to back shows we were playing in LA that night and Long Beach the following. We met a recently landed Charlie early that evening and got packed up for the show. The JGs were once again whole, plus Tyler. We made our way to Molly Malone’s to load in and rendezvous with some of Charlie’s Vancouver friends who were in LA. We also got to meet our amazing US booking agent, Margo, who is a serious rockstar and who everybody loved. She came to our three LA area shows on three consecutive nights, which really speaks volumes about how much she cares for her bands. The Molly Malone’s set itself was amazing. Graham, Oli and I were feeling great despite the alcohol consumption and ready to rock out. Charlie was a little beat from traveling, but with the energy of the audience combined with so many familiar faces from home, everyone played top notch. Its a great room, with good sound, and when a couple more Canadian friends of ours showed up unannounced 3/4 of the way through the set, it bolstered our energy even higher.
After our set, friends and colleagues parted ways and the dream team of Disco-Ty, Graham and myself were left to out-do our previous night with the help of our own personal LA guide, a local stand-up comedian named Abby Roberge, who Tyler and I had gone to high school with in Vancouver. He took us to a famous LA comedy club aptly named, the Comedy Store, which was just packed. It was too full to grab a table for the show, so Abby took us around and introduced us to a bunch of comics, shooting the shit with these guys at the outdoor bar was hilarious and eventually we decided we could provide our own humor elsewhere. We left the Comedy Store and headed to a wicked bar called the Den, where he bar tends when he’s not causing people to wet themselves. Again, extremely packed on a Friday night, but Abby provided the star treatment and we didn’t wait for a drink all night. In fact, I don’t think we paid for a drink all night. We shut down the Den and the boys went to an after hours party at Charlie Chaplin’s house, I had left them after meeting a cute pillow fort enthusiast and decided to be a little more constructive with the rest of my night.
The next morning, I returned to the hotel to find the boys exchanging stories about our individual adventures. Tyler and I started to deplete the stock of beers we had placed in the mini-fridge, while Graham wallowed in the self pity that is the rolling 3 day hangover. With Graham refusing to leave his bed, we were late for our 11am check out time, but stayed entertained by drinking leftover beers and trying to charm the angry cleaning ladies who repeatedly came to our room to yell at us. Eventually, Graham got packed up and we drove to our hotel in Long Beach Californ-I-A where we kicked it until load in and soundcheck.
We were playing at the Prospector, a long standing Long Beach hang out that disguises a rad dive bar in the shell of a nice looking restaurant. When we show up, the opening band These Are Villains were getting started. A heavy three piece band consisting of a heavy hitting drummer, a haunting female lead vocalist and virtuoso baritone guitar player, blaring through an assortment of 15w amps on top of what looked like a Hartke keyboard amp, which gave him this wicked low end that still had tasty crunch and highs. The second band on the bill was another three piece, this one instrumental. They were called, New Octaves. Super tasty and tightly arranged songs, think Santana in jazz school. Soft background tasty bass and strait forward concise drumming. By the time we got on stage, the crowd was warm and happy. A good size crowd was front and center in the relatively small room and danced/rough housed right out of the gate to our opener, Mushrooms. Everyone was super appreciative and we pulled off our tightest and highest energy show of the tour. I’ve always found that the more responsive the audience, the better we play because we feed off their energy, like Superman feeds off the sun!
Long Beach folks are such rad people, they helped us with all our gear and we got invited to party/crash at a half a dozen houses. The frontman of the night’s final band, Big Sun, invited us and all our new friends to his place for an impromptu 3am house party. Graham, Charlie, Tyler and I went with the other bands over to a buddies place and everyone had quite a jovial night that included a piano driven sing along led by our host.
All in all our LA trip was a smashing success, we can’t wait to come visit all the friends we made and tear it up street again soon! LA you alright.