Monday, March 20, 2006

The Books/Califone @ the J. Paul Getty Museum

Sometimes you just end up in the right place at the right time. There’s no rhyme or reason to it but when it happens, when you find the “X” that marks the spot, it’s always beautiful, always meaningful, and always leaves you with a memory burned in the side of your skull to remind you that there are moments to stay alive for.

After a failed attempt to make movie plans and St. Patrick staring me down with those green goblin eyes, I was left alone on Friday to try and weasel my way in to see The Books and Califone perform at the
J. Paul Getty Museum. As one of the gems of Los Angeles, the Getty not only houses some of the world’s finest art but curates an ongoing concert series that has showcased some of the better, yet less known, acts in the world of music. This last weekend’s show was part of a series called Laughtears and Livewires, a phrase coined by James Joyce to represent the joining of opposites that are often kept apart but belong together.

Finally able to take a breath after my standby number was called, I entered the Getty’s Harold M. Williams Auditorium and stood amidst a crowd as divided as oil on water. While the sea of hipsters, artsy geriatrics and snub critics parted to let me through to my seat, it seemed funny that some small, relatively unknown acoustic-experimental bands could act as the prophets to bring these demographics together.

Promptly starting on time,
Califone entered to a plethora of instruments that donned the stage almost too perfectly, and seemed to mimic the structure and organization of the Degas exhibit in the adjacent building. The hypnotic loops, enveloped by a banjo and acoustic guitar, laid down a fertile foundation for the soft, trustful timbre and twang of lead singer Tim Rutili. Not familiar with their music, I found their Americana-influenced sound quite comforting, like a long conversation with a loved parent in a candlelit desert pueblo.

The Books quickly taking the stage after Califone, I once again found that same sweet comfort as Nick Zammuto and Paul de Jong launched into their set of found sounds and film. Framing the stage were moving pictures of early Mormon leaders tipping their hats to the camera, as well as Zammuto’s and de Jong’s personal home videos, which made it seem as though you had watched these guys grow up. Playing through tunes from all three of their releases, The Books never seemed to disappoint with the amount of sound and visual stimulation that came from the pair’s doings. As Zammuto and de Jong worked their magic, it was evident that neither was the superior limb but rather each functioned as a cohesive mechanism which added to the full potential of the body they had formed. With the bass and tenor harmony in the superb rendition of “Take Time” and “Be Good To Them Always” relying as much on the cello instrumentation as Zammuto’s timid mumblings, The Books acted more like a team trying to translate their art rather than perform their songs.

After a short set that was concluded with a cover of Nick Drake’s “The Cello Song,” the once divided crowd now seemed to unite with smiling faces of appreciation for the moment they had been able to share. Descending the hillside to the parking lot, that appreciation passed through my telephone as I begged everyone on my call list to make it the next night for the encore performance. Nick Zammuto said at the beginning of the set that “this is actually the perfect place to play [our] music,” and upon leaving I was more than enthusiastic at the idea of other people enjoying the same moment I had experienced, in this very right place at this very right time.


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Anonymous cialis online said...

I've been at J. Paul Getty Museum last year on a vacations trip with some friends. This place and the collections inside of it are great!

11:30 AM  

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