Local H w/ Ambassadors 09/24/12
Troubadour – West Hollywood, CA
Words/Photos by Reverend Justito
Back in early August I received an e-mail with a download link for the latest Local H record Hallelujah! I’m A Bum. Over the next few weeks the latest concept record from the pride of Illinois has been blasted into my head over and over and over again. In my cubical, sitting in traffic on the 101 and working out in the yard the 17 songs found on the double album is a soundtrack for exactly where I am at in 2012. I fought hard to give Hallelujah! a coveted 5 star review on Antiquiet, and there was no way in hell I was going to miss the duo of Scott Lucas and Brian St. Clair perform songs from one of the year’s best record at the best place to see music in West Hollywood California.
Monday night at the Troubadour kicked off with an acoustic set from Scott Lucas. Yes the same Scott Lucas who happens to be ½ of Local H. While many men watched the now legendary Seahawks versus Packers game I watched Lucas open up his brief set with a cover of Last Caress by the Misfits. From there Lucas performed some material from his Married Men band including Ain’t No Grave (Gonna Hold My Body Down) and Blood Half Moons. A brief yet fun set, Lucas opening for himself was the perfect way to kick off the night.
Main support on this particular evening came from Ambassadors. The Brooklyn based band announced early on that they were performing in Los Angeles for the very first time much to the delight of many in the crowd. I was unfamiliar with Ambassadors walking in the door and I personally found them an odd choice of opener for a band like Local H as they were more hipster rock than heavy rock. In fact looking out into the packed club you could clearly tell who was there for Local H and who was there for Ambassadors.
Musically these four gentlemen would be a perfect fit for a Yeasayer/GROUPLOVE tour. A bit hippie jam with vegan hipster sensibilities. Not worldly enough to be called world music but no doubt more interesting than most indie bands if that makes any sense whatsoever. While I don’t know if I would seek them out again the band had a good energy and sounded tight. I have no doubt that when they return to Los Angeles they could very well perform at the Troubadour as the headliner instead of the opener.
As Local H walked down the stairs from the “backstage” area at the Troubadour the opening riffs of Waves played across the PA. Lucas timed of strapping his guitar on and walking to the mic to sing the songs opening line perfectly. As I expected weeks before the band set up their gear on the Troubadour stage I knew they would kick the set off with the opening number from their latest release. I also expected them to segue straight into Cold Manor as they do on the album but where they threw me for a curve was not heading straight into Night Flight To Paris after Cold Manor. Instead they went head first into a raging take of Paddy Considine and saved Night Flight for later in the set.
Having a good dose of Hallelujah! I’m A Bum now under our belts the band used the rest of the night to mix classic Local H cuts with new material. An early appearance of Bound For The Floor cleared out a decent number of Ambassador fans who hung around to finish their $7 Corona while Manipulator filled my quench for anything off their debut album Ham Fisted.
Lucas joked with the crowd before a block of new songs that it was time to go grab a beer from the bar instead of rocking out to new jams. However this was a rare night where I was actually more excited for new songs instead of older ones. Sadly I was alone on this one as numerous fans decided to chat during the softer parts of Say The Word and while I couldn’t exactly see the line at the bar as Lucas announced that Feed A Fever was about Fox News I have to imagine that anyone who isn’t pumped for material from Hallelujah! is probably dumb enough to be a fan of that network.
After a goose bump inducing take on Another February the band brought out the big guns to close the night. After a hard rocking take on All-Right (Oh, Yeah) the highly intoxicated crowds’ energy finally exploded into a large most pit during All The Kids Are Right. The funny thing about this pit was the fact that none of the members were kids. There is nothing more depressing than watching a 30-something trying to relive the glory days of the days when Bill Clinton lived at the White House by crashing onto the floor in a crowd surfing attempt gone horribly wrong.
With tasty versions of Fritz’s Corner and Hands On The Bible in the rear-view the duo closed the set with Waves Again. As if there is any other song they can close with on this tour the song built from dreamy riffs into a massive wall of feedback that rang through the PA until the band returned for a lengthy four song encore that kicked off with a cover of the Rush classic 2112.
Interesting market research was accidently conducted during California Songs. In between digs at Katy Perry and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lucas observed that the Los Angeles crowd enjoys to scream the and fuck New York too section of lyrics. While we all could have a good laugh making fun of the fact that there are far too many songs about this city of Angels many in the crowd will no doubt remember California Songs for all the wrong reasons.
Having taking a solo on the opposite side of the stage from where he was set up, Lucas had to break up a fight between two sets of fans. Having watched things unfold all night I can understand the frustration of the two guys who got the venue early and waited for a front row spot. All night three drunk assholes did all they could to shove in on them (these assholes of course show up two songs into Local H’s set). While I must assume Lucas was unaware of the fact these assholes bullied these two fans all night he sure as hell stepped in when the bullied had enough and fought hard to save their spots. After Lucas got the parties to cool down he encouraged us all to stop fighting each other and go out to the street and fight the real bad guys by voting.
In watching this battle for front row supremacy brew all night it fit into everything that Hallelujah! I’m A Bum represents in America today. We are all struggling to get ahead. We will step over each other for a piece of the pie be it in our cubicles or for a front row spot to the rock and roll show. We are a nation divided and growing ever further apart and while we can put out all the hope in the universe it’s going to take a massive effort to reunite us together again. Thank you Local H for giving us a great place to start.