Shannon’s Super Sexy Blog. Music. Travel. Randomness. And a Lot of Wine.

Fighting Fire With Fire

It was an insane weekend, but I am still here to tell you about it. Kind of. If you can stay tuned till the end I will tell you all about the killer Arcade Fire/David Byrne show last night at the Hollywood Bowl. But first….

If there is one day every year where one can be assured of total drunken insanity, that day would be the day of the Ocean Beach Street Fair. This year did not disappoint. It was a beautiful day, and everyone was happy. It’s kind of a trip how many people I know here after only three years. This was my third OB Street Fair and it was definitely the craziest. And that is Saying Alot.

There were parties on the beach and one giant party on the street. The weird thing about OB is, you can’t drink on the street, but you can drink on the beach. You can be holding a 20 oz. plastic Martini glass full of straight gin on the beach, but you can’t touch the sea wall at the same time. Hence, you have:


A Keg in the Sand. You also have:


A smiling police officer making sure you don’t lean up against the sea wall holding a cup of beer. He looks happy!

I drank a million glasses of wine – I kept going home for more. After hanging out on the beach all day me and Mark went to Tony’s bar. And I am shocked – SHOCKED – that we were all allowed to continue drinking.


Everyone was already hammerlaned, and it was only 7:30 or something like that. I do remember running into my friends Danielle and Zach. I need to get off my lazy ass and hang out with them more. Zach bought us all shots of tequila. At this moment a general feeling of haziness became no-turning-back.

You’d think it would all end here. But NO. I get home, and there is a message from Brian about a party up the street. Remember how I said I was happy The Vine was closed for the OB Street Fair? Remember? Well fuck me, instead there was a party with all the people from The Vine. I grabbed a bottle of Iron Horse Sangiovese and headed up to Bob & Margaret’s, just a block and a half away.

I was already a goner when I got there. Details are spotty. I’m just hoping everyone else was in the same general vicinity, blood level wise, as I was. Whew.

Anyhow, yesterday I woke up with a truly severe hangover, and this is coming from someone who knows her hangovers. And I had to drive to Hollywood for the Arcade Fire/David Byrne show. It took awhile, but I finally made it out of the house and through hellish Sunday traffic to the Best Western on Highland Avenue. Thank you, Best Western, for being so close to the Hollywood Bowl on a day when the thought of a two-mile walk is akin to the thought of, well, not having any thoughts from the night before. If you get my meaning.

It was four o’clock when I got there and I was starving. I couldn’t even get a whole piece of peanut butter toast down for lunch, so I was seriously running on empty. There was a little coffee shop in the hotel and the check in girl told me it opened at five, so I went to the pool to wait it out. Went back, not open. “Er,” says the check-in girl, “I guess they aren’t open today.” This same girl didn’t know who David Byrne was, so I guess I’m not too surprised.

I decided to go up to the Bowl early, grab something to eat in the Patina Marketplace there, and relax before the show. Well, the food from Patina kind of sucked (what happened, guys? You use to ROCK) but hanging out at the Hollywood Bowl was totally awesome. I really love that place. You can bring your own food and wine in, so the place is just a sea of wine bottles, Trader Joe’s bags, and acrylic stemware. I sipped on a glass of Esca Syrah, ate my nasty Patina sandwich, and read the L.A. Weekly. I was slowly recovering.

The Bowl was half empty when openers Si Se came on. Smooth jazz lovers, take note. They are smooth, not really jazz, but mellow and sweet and innocuous. They were good – don’t get me wrong – just not my cup o’ tea. I kept peeking at Jonathan Gold’s restaurant reviews. I was too tired to shift in my seat, or I would have done that, too.

Dusk, and then Arcade Fire. And holy fuck, they did not disappoint me. I LOVE them, but so does everyone. They opened with “Wake Up,” and I thought my heart would stop right there, but it wasn’t loud enough. I can’t believe, can’t believe, can’t believe I didn’t drop everything and see Arcade Fire at the Casbah in January. But I was at the Hollywood Bowl, on a summer night, sipping a really good wine, seeing this band that I love, and even though they seemed really far away it was worth every minute of that 2.75 hour journey through hell to be there. All of them all over the stage, playing their hearts out, playing with each other, so totally into it… man. When they did “Crown of Love” I started to cry. It was so beautiful, and they had Tosca Strings on stage with them. I’m not sure if it was my delicate state or what, but I got teary quite a few more times before they were done. I’m getting teary right now just thinking about it.

Most people sat down for the first half of the set, including me. I was simply too exhausted, and after last weekends Raveonettes show where I was one of three people who actually stood up, I figured I would just chill like the Chardonnay drinking, St. Andre eatin’ Hollywood Bowl crowd. Then Arcade Fire started playing “Tunnels” and I looked back to see pockets of people jumping around. Soon my section was on their feet, and I was happy to join them. Joy is a good motivator.

I did have to move seats right after they came on. Four obnoxious dickheads sat down in front of me (four songs into the set) and proceeded to talk and look around to see who was looking at them (Dude. Nobody. Is. Looking. At. YOU.) I could only stand about five minutes of these sadly typical L.A. concertgoers. I mean, what is the point? But the gods of rock ‘n’ roll were smiling on me. Right next to my bench there were some folding chairs, I guess for use in extreme circumstances. They were empty and I simply grabbed my wine and scooted on down. From my new vantage point I had a view of some really cute youngsters who were totally into it. So, I think L.A. Concertgoers have the same dilemma as American tourists in Tuscany. There are cool tourists in Tuscany, but the assholes are more noticeable.

Alas, the Arcade Fire left the stage way too soon. I am going to be kicking myself for missing that Casbah show for the rest of my life.

David Byrne came on the stage wearing a pink suit and with bleached blond hair. He had Tosca Strings too, and of course his backing band was stellar, but it is pretty hard to take your eyes off the man himself. Three songs into his set, the Four Obnoxious Assholes got up and left – by climbing over their seats, and over me in my cramped folding chair area. I mean, what is the point? Get to a show late, talk loudly and look around, then leave way early. They totally missed the best part.

About half way in to David Byrne’s set, I noticed, to my left, a bunch of crazily-attired people walking to the back of the Bowl with horns and drums and other instruments. I was like, OK, this is going to get crazy. CRAZY is not the word for it. BLISTERINGLY INSANE is more like it. They all looked like extras from Cabaret. There was a bit of time between that which I spotted them and when they came down, from the back of the Bowl, totally blowing everyone away. The Extra-Action Marching Band, equipped with hot drag-queen pom-pom girls, flag waving chicks wearing some kind of Xena Warrior Princess kind of outfits (I think) and then the band which was huge and also, chaotic, moved towards the stage and when they got there, it wasn’t so hard not to look at David Byrne anymore.

Arcade Fire came out and did one more song (in my state, I can only remember the vibe, but not the song) with Byrne, and then the whole entirety of the Extra-Action Marching Band was on stage with him doing an unbelievable “Burning Down The House.” I will never forget it – why, oh why, didn’t I bring my camera??? The pom-pom queens danced around, in formation, and the flag waving chicks stood rigid, never moving, through the whole song. The stage was awash with people. The entire audience was on their feet. I was standing ON MY CHAIR. Then, when it was impossible that things could even have a chance of getting better, Byrne rips out his final song, a cover of Beyonce & Jay Z’s “Crazy in Love.” A fucking brilliant and totally inspired choice! That is a GREAT song and with all those horns and scantilly-clad drag queens rolling around with pom-poms it was just unbelievably cool. The Xena flag wavers waved their flags over the rich people in the front and the scene was one of barely controlled abandonment. What a moment. What a night. You can check out a bit of the madness HERE.

At the end – and it had to end there, though I don’t think David Byrne wanted it to – the drag queens started throwing their pom-poms, somewhat violently at Byrne. In a playful way, but still. It was a great show but it would have been nice to have a bit of an encore… I was in bed by 10:30, and that is why I have the energy to write.

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