Daniel Lanois & Black Dub

January 29, 2011

Seems I rode all day. I was down in Temecula to pick up motorcycle parts rode back up to Loma Linda to drop off the parts, got into traffic, out of it, back to San Dimas, took a quick shower and went out again.

I was heading to the El Rey theatre. An revived theatre on Wilshire in Los Angeles. Tonight : Black Dub, a band formed by and with Daniel Lanois, Trixie Whitley, Brian Blade and Daryl Johnson.

I rode down the 10, it’s dark getting cold but not bad yet. I am flying down through the blackness, amid the red tail lights. It still grabs me, it’s as if I am in a movie. The way things shine, the lines of the concrete roads and overpasses, Then in the distance, shining and defiant, downtown LA. A tall sophisticated lady that I mindfully keep my distance from. I get to an elevated road and it’s even more dramatic. Life like a thread. Exits, turns, curves, I finally see La Brea exit.

I get off, there is a fair bit of traffic. It’s Friday night. It has that historic look around here. An era come and gone of bright neons and glamorous places. I had never been here but knew my way thanks to the Google maps. I see the theatre, big line up, tons of people,

I turn on the first street right after the theatre, I see a tour bus, must be them. I find parking three cars down. The advantage of coming downtown with a bike. I see this spot but I am not sure if I can park or not, I asked a man standing there.

“These lines, does it mean I can park inside or outside? Sorry I’m from Canada, I’m not sure what these mean…”

Oh, you can’t park here but you can park over there.” He points to one car up. I move the bike up there. Thanks! We chat for a while, his name is Ian Galloway. He was actually born in Montreal. Came here and never left. He works on the crew for Daniel Lanois. He walked me to the will call, made sure I got in.

I had a ticket for the show because of a contact. Can’t talk about it, but here I am and I am pretty happy to be here.

I walked in, it’s a beautiful theatre. There are only a few people, I am early. I talked to Ian for a short while then he had to go work. We had to wait for a while, I moved up front, about three rows of standing people from the front. Nice.

The opening act comes on.

One guy with a dobro guitar with a midi set up, a stomper box for him to make a sort of kick drum sound, one microphone and a battered spot light shining on his face as the only lighting.

Rocco Deluca, really, really cool.

There is such magic when you don’t know a performer and they take you immediately on a voyage. The curtain when up and his pale face, lit by that lone spotlight, creased into pain and he delivered a music that just grabbed you in the gut. I was hearing tones that could not come from a guitar and realized that he had a midi setup on the guitar and the sound engineer was adding to the eerie atmosphere with well placed delays. I was smiling in the dark. Yeah. Thank you, this is a gift.

The songs went from quiet and eerie to rocking hard, the bottle neck sliding up and down the guitar’s neck. The words he sings them like pictures thrown up in the air then shot with a revolver.

Curtain down.

We wait.

Curtain up. Here is Lanois. So strange when you read, listen, follow someone from afar, books, internet, magazine articles for years… Then they are in front of you and it is as if you know them personally. Trixie came on and she was magical like kids are magical.

This was their first show and you could catch glances between the young artist and the experienced musicians. She was so powerful yet so fragile. He was so poised, calm solid like a rock and you could catch him watch over her. I saw him throw the words to the next line in a song late in the show. He cares so much. She has the power of a caged tiger yet can get spooked like a deer. But she is really intense, sings her heart out and is totally for real.

The songs followed one another, I’d never heard any of them but I was entranced in this universe. Lanois with his textured delays and dirty yet gentle distortions on his Les Paul. He always had a finger on the Bigsby whammy bar, plying the notes to his will, all this going through two tiny Fender tube amps. He seemed to do so little yet the whole atmosphere was saturated with lushness. The drummer was particularly amazing. Joyful, smiling, with an incredible pocket, the bass player… everyone was brilliant, they all had heart and soul.

We got two encores, one of them the Jean Baptiste song that my drummer in a band I had used to adore and play endlessly in the touring van. It took me there, made me cry. It was awesome.

I walked out starving, it’s nearly midnight and I only had breakfast and a small bowl of rice and veggies around 6 PM. I had a most excellent smokie. Ate it, then I saw the drummer and made a point of telling him how amazing he was. I also saw Ian, the crew member, I gave him my CD and said good bye.

I hopped on Beowulf. The night is now cold. My head is full of music. Up on 10 East. Flying in the night. This bike is cool. It’s starting to be love between us. Wow. I just saw Daniel Lanois, I was on the guest list. The show was awesome and now I am out riding. Pretty good Friday night.

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5 Responses to “Daniel Lanois & Black Dub”

  1. Alan Says:

    Ah jeesh Danielle, you were sooo close to the world famous Frolic Room.

    When destined to be near Hollywood again, alert me.

    Cheers,

    Alan,
    Quantum Leap Unlimited

    Onward, Upward

  2. niki1221 Says:

    Thanks for posting this! I love Rocco! I’m really looking forward to seeing Black Dub live since I’ve been listening to their record on repeat as of late! Them touring together is double happiness for me 🙂

  3. Norman Says:

    Told you that you would fall in love again! Bike of course! Cheers, Norman

  4. John Doheny Says:

    Brian Blade is one of my favorite drummers ever (he used to live around the corner from me on Ursiline, before Katrina) in just about any style. He just flat out spoils you for other drummers. After playing with him, you can’t help but compare the poor schlubs you normally play with (some of them very, very good drummers indeed) to him, and almost all of them come up short, unless they’re Herlin Riley lol.

  5. Naomi Says:

    Hey, great description of the music. Felt like I was there. Huge lover of Lanois’ sound. Hoping to see Black Dub in the UK sometime – wish I’d been old enough to catch Dan when he was touring his own albums. Funny, maybe a love of motorcycles go along with a love of this kind of music. Both get right to your core I guess. Like you said, real.


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