Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Palaye Royale and Dreaming Bull at Lexington Social House, 3-4-14

Dreaming Bull performing "Bull Be Coming"

I am early everywhere I go. Tonight I arrive at the Lexington Social House a little before 8:30 p.m. The woman at the door hasn’t heard of Dreaming Bull, but she seems very sweet, and when I explain that they’re a band playing tonight she leads me behind a thin curtain and tells me this is the rock club. Okay. The room behind the curtain is small, but nice – wood floor, booths, a couch and even a couple of hassocks. Some metal chandeliers with electric candles hang from the ceiling.

A yellow electric sign on the wall says, “Palaye Royale.” And members of that band introduce themselves to me, all seriously nice guys. Sebastian tells me they go on at 9 p.m. (Dreaming Bull is scheduled to go on at 9:45 p.m.)

The house music is on at a low volume, which is nice. It’s a place where you don’t have to scream to be heard, at least not yet. Yeah, I guess I’m getting old. But honestly, I never liked shouting. And I never liked trying to fall asleep with a horrible ringing in my ears and the fear that I’d done irreparable damage.

Speaking of feeling old, some of the band’s friends show up, impossibly young women. One girl’s proportions make Barbie dolls seem stout. I can’t help but look, out of curiosity more than lust. How is she standing?

Anyway, years ago I saw one of the greatest live bands ever – The Peak Show. I saw them forty times, and would have seen them many more, but they broke up. (Yeah, I’m still a little bummed about that.) Since then, I’ve made a point of seeing every musical project that any of that band’s members are involved in. The newest one is Dreaming Bull, with drummer Gabe Rowland. I've listened to a lot of their tracks online, all of which are really good, so I'm excited.

At 8:40 p.m. the curtain is opened, letting more light into this part of the room, and I start to realize I’m at least a decade older than everyone else here. Two decades older than many. Okay. Get used to it. This is how it’s going to be from now on. After all, this club is in the heart of Hollywood, at Vine and Hollywood Blvd. Three valets are stationed outside the door. Of course, I parked blocks away, where I know of some free spots. Also, it’s Tuesday. Sure, it’s Mardi Gras, but this is L.A., and the music tonight is fairly far removed from the bayou. But I like the feel of this place. Perhaps on a Friday or Saturday it’s packed full of assholes (or perhaps not), but it seems we’ll be free of that element tonight.

At 8:52 p.m. the house music gets a whole lot louder, but I can still hear people. And it’s suddenly – like in an instant – crowded. Weird how that happens. There is even a couple older than me, but they disappear farther into the building, and I don’t see them again. What is back there?

Palaye Royale takes the stage at 9:10 p.m. Vocals, guitar, rhythm guitar, bass, keys and drums. And perhaps it’s partly because of that bit of bubble lighting effect mimicking those of the 1960s, but the music definitely has a certain late 1960s garage feel, along with a bit of punk attitude, which I totally appreciate. But basically it’s rock with a good beat.

After that first tune, the lead singer asks how everyone is doing, but then jokes that he actually expects an answer (rather than the usual cheer that follows such a question), and I immediately like him. The second tune is more in the pop vein, and very catchy, with the drums driving the song. And there are more good grooves on the band’s third song.

“Get Higher,” the band’s single, gets the girls dancing. It’s a really good, energetic rock tune. It has a false ending, and after that, the band comes on even stronger, with the lead singer grabbing a tambourine, and yes, totally rocking it. That tune concludes their short showcase set (it turns out they’d do a longer set later in the night). They’re done just after 9:30 p.m., and I realize that means Dreaming Bull might actually start on time. What a weird night.

Dreaming Bull does a brief soundcheck to The Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows” and then does start on time. They kick off with a high-energy version of “Lover Street,” a perfect opener. They follow it with “Hippie Hobo,” beginning it with a cool rhythm on bass, and then keep the energy up with “Bull Be Coming,” which features some nice work on flute.

They do one new song in their set (after of course pointing out that if you haven’t heard them before, all the songs are new), a really good tune titled “Feed Us.” Nick then asks, “Who likes a little bit of blues up in here?” And the band launches into “No Use.” I love the backing vocals on this one. They then conclude their set with “The Spell.”

Dreaming Bull Set List

  1. Lover Street
  2. Hippie Hobo
  3. Bull Be Coming
  4. Feed Us
  5. No Use
  6. The Spell

By the way, I’ll be reviewing Palaye Royale’s CDs. And word is they’re going to be recording a whole lot of new songs soon, enough for either a double album, or two separate albums.

Here are a few photos from the night:

Palaye Royale
Palaye Royale
Palaye Royal performing "Get Higher"
Dreaming Bull performing "Lover Street"
Dreaming Bull performing "Lover Street"
Dreaming Bull performing "Bull Be Coming"
Dreaming Bull performing "Feed Us"

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