My knees hurt. A lot. If you know me, you know that even though I am an avid bicyclist, I have a dodgy knee due to a car accident a few years back and I have spent the better part of the last 6 months working to rebuild the strength and musculature of my entire right leg to avoid further degradation of the knee cap. I think, last night, I reversed all the good I had done. In one night. In the span of about 2 hours. It was worth it.
A few months back, I noticed that a band that I love quite a bit, Pendulum, who do a sort of techno drum & bass rock hybrid and do it well, was due to hit Los Angeles on their tour supporting their current album, Immersion. Having missed them the last time they came through, I went ahead and bought tickets. I had no idea who would go to the show with me, but thought “screw it.” I wanted to go and I’d worry about that later. About a month ago, I realized I still didn’t have a date for the evening, so I asked my good friend A to come with me. She’s always up for something new and different and I love that about her. She agreed and that was that. Fast forward to the day of the show and after a brief discussion yesterday afternoon, we were led to the perfect plan.
I live on the westside of LA, very close to the beach in fact, which is nowhere near the venue and would require a long drive. A lives in Hollywood a short bus ride down the street to the venue. So the decision was made on the following: option 1) park at the venue where we would be subjected to jacked up parking rates (over $20 to use an unused grocery store lot next to the venue) and not be able to drink very much, not to mention wasting money on the overpriced watered down cocktails that the venue has to offer. OR, option 2) meet at A’s house, share a bottle of wine, take the bus to the venue for the low, low price of $3 for both of us, be a bit drunk and be able to enjoy the night without the stress of how much to drink. Option 2 it is. DONE. (Not to mention, I had NEVER taken a bus in Los Angeles before and the thought of it intrigued me to be honest.)
After a bottle of red between us, and a happy warming buzz, A and I braved the 2 block walk in the rain to the bus stop. I forgot my hat. Whoops. My hair got wet, but as my hair is currently in a state of “it’s growing out, I know it looks like crap,” I really didn’t care too much. Also because this was not to be a Look Cute to Meet Boys sort of evening. This was a Be Comfortable And Dance My Ass Off sort of night. As such, my lack of hat didn’t bother me in the least, nor did my ever dampening hair. Fortune smiled upon us not only in that the bus arrived just minutes after we got to the bus stop and that the dollar machine on the bus itself (Buses take dollars now? See how long it’s been since I’ve been on a bus?) was broken, so our ride to the show was not a tiny $3. It was an even tinier NOTHING.
The bus ride took us just to the lovely corner of Western and Wiltern, where the venue, The Wiltern Theatre is located. Super convenient! We arrived, although only 20 minutes before the headliner was scheduled to play, and there was still a line around the building for entry. Guess everyone else had read that the opening band sucked too. But the line moved really quickly and a few minutes later, A and I were inside and had enough time to scope out a place on the floor to watch the show from and even to grab one more drink at the bar. (Dear Wiltern Management, Just a FYI – $8 for a 6 ounce cup full of very cheap box wine is not only ridiculous, but insulting.) Though really all I cared about at this point was that my hair had stopped dripping. OK, so next time I’ll remember my hat.
Now, the main event, as I’d said was Pendulum. And they came out with a bang. And a lot of lights. The crowd didn’t stop moving for the entire set, myself included and as I mentioned, my knees are killing me today and I’m pretty sure are threatening to stop working altogether if I ever do that to them again (which I will). Pendulum sounded mostly fantastic. A few little things about the show I didn’t enjoy. MC Ben “The Verse” Mount was a bit hard to understand. Truly for an MC, this is not a good thing. And he seemed lacking. I can’t quite put my finger on it really. I’ve been trying all day, but I just didn’t get the impression that he was all there. He seemed a bit distracted to me. But that’s one little thing right? And honestly, the music did sound fantastic. But that brings me to another thing about this show that I had a bit of an issue with.
The music sounded great, but the song choices were a bit all over the place to me. And granted I have never seen them live before and didn’t know what to expect going in, other than I had heard that their live shows were fantastic and sort of mind-blowing between the live music and mixing and light shows. If last night’s performance was any indication, I think they weren’t on their game. The set list was disappointing. More than one of the best songs from their last album, In Silico, were missing entirely and only one of the singles from the newest release was called out and showcased. There just didn’t seem to be any connection with the audience.
As I mentioned, it SOUNDED fantastic, but I’ve been going to shows longer than I care to admit and what makes a great performance is that audience-artist connection. It just wasn’t there. It seemed to me that Pendulum were on auto-pilot and just running through the choreography that they’ve done every other night for however long this tour has been going. (I’d hate to think if this is the beginning leg of this show.) But again, I was still dancing my butt off, and enjoying myself thoroughly.
And then it was done. The show came to its end rather abruptly and in a shorter time frame that I would have expected as well. The set times as listed prior to the venue stated Pendulum was meant to play from 10:10 to 12:15 – allowing them a full two hours. But they started closer to 10:30 and were off the stage by 11:45 – which means that they really only played for a little over an hour and maybe that was part of it. It was too short. And as I mentioned, it was abrupt.
It was sort of like lots of foreplay and no follow through. There was all this build up and then the expected encore, which should have consisted of the most intense and climatic of the mixes and songs that they could possibly play, just petered out. I wanted an explosion and I got a firecracker. And then it was done. Good show but it was like dating a boy in high school… fun at the start, but over before it really got there, leaving you wanting more. More than once walking out of the show, I heard “that was short” from someone.
I love Pendulum. And I did have a good time in spite of all of the downsides. Next time they come to LA, I will probably try again. But last night, I felt as if my date started flirting with the waitress before she brought the dessert.