Awesome Totally Awesome - The Distillers

ATA’s Timeline Review of The Distillers at the Hollywood Palladium

Co-written by Emily Starinieri

Emily is a new and talented writer for ATA.  A few weeks ago she suggested writing a review on the upcoming Distiller’s show at the Palladium.  Since I was going, also, I proposed that we tried to write a joint article documenting our experience on a timeline.  She agreed and here it is.  Hopefully, you’ll enjoy it.

Steve Kitagawa 6:35 p.m.: Taking my daughter with me to see her first punk show.  So far we’ve been to New Order, The Breeders, Eric B & Rakim, and her favorite (the Japanese girl band) Scandal.  We leave the house and I put on Rancid’s Indestructible. I tell my daughter that this album was written after the singer of the Distillers left the singer of Rancid. She doesn’t care and starts describing pictures on her phone of her and a bird she bonded with at the bird pet store earlier in the day.

Emily Starinieri 7:45 p.m.: Upon arriving at the venue, I see the usual suspects: scalpers selling tickets and bootleg concert t-shirts and fans dressed in black, chain-smoking while lined up waiting to get through security. The security guards are being extra stingy tonight, not allowing vape pens in, but totally cool with traditional forms of carcinogenic consumption.

ES 7:54 p.m: Inside the lobby it kind of smells like piss, but then again, that could be the smell of cheap beer, which the venue is selling for nearly $20 a pop. The drink specials include a cocktail with literally every liquor they have. They’re calling it “Blue Dreams,” but really it should be called “just fuck me up.”

SK 7:56 p.m.: We arrive at the Palladium and immediately check out the merch booth. The T-shirts are kind of weak. I ask my daughter if she likes any and she responds, “They’re kind of creepy,” which was true. I almost pull the trigger on a flying wolf shirt but catch myself.

Awesome Totally Awesome - The Distillers

SK 8:00 p.m.: We make our way up to the balcony and find an opening on the rail to the immediate right of the stage. A lady in her late twenties tells us that the space is reserved for her “Friend” who will be back shortly. There are at least six feet of space between her and the next person to her left. Who is he…fucking Grimace from McDonald’s? I ignore her and take the space anyway, leaving her enough room for anyone but Grimace. There’s an elderly punk couple on my left dressed in black leather and Doc’s, taking selfies. I ask if they wanted me to take their picture and the lady informs me, “Selfies are much better.” “Never heard that before,” I respond. They ignore me and continue to take selfies.

ES 8:04 p.m.: First opener, LA Witch, sounds like something I want to like, but the sound system is making an assault on my ears.

SK 8:04 p.m.: The singer from LA Witch has a nasal twang to her voice, but it suits her.  “She sounds like she has a cold.”  My daughter and I swap cheesy cold jokes.

SK 8:10 p.m.: I can’t figure out if I like LA Witch or dislike LA Witch, but I catch myself wondering if Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles a block away is still open…mmmmmScoe’s special with gravy and onions, please.

ES 8:13 p.m.: They start another song with a catchy beat sounding like the Kills, and the sound issue seems to be resolved, at least for now. Even the security guard gets on board as he smacks his hand against the guardrail to the rhythm while still maintaining his uniform resting bitch face.

Awesome Totally Awesome - The Distillers

SK 8:15 p.m.: My buddy texts me that the Canelo v GGG fight is starting. We’ve been texting back and forth since I parked, making predictions. I predict either a knockout by GGG in the 6th or a split decision for Canelo if it goes the distance (‘cause, I surmise, De La Hoya paid off two of the judges).

ES 8:26 p.m. Time to pee. Okay, what the fuck Palladium?! What’s with the lighting in the ladies’ room? Only one small working light over seven stalls?! It’s so dark in here that I literally have to use the flashlight on my phone to see what I’m doing. As if peeing around a bunch of pissy drunk bitches in an overcrowded bathroom at a punk rock show isn’t enough of an adventure.

SK 8:30 p.m.: Fucking iPhone 6 is at 40% after being fully charged 45 minutes ago. Wouldn’t have anything to do with the new iPhonewhatever announcement earlier in the week, would it? Better put it on power saver mode so I can take some pictures and video for this article.

SK 8:40 p.m.: The elderly lady beside me gets up and sits down on the step/platform behind us where my daughter is already sitting. Her husband continues to stand holding her spot. The ‘Friend” of the lady to my right has come back with beers and does not look like Grimace, but he does look like a hipster: man bun, beard, glasses, and dope flannel.

The elderly lady suddenly gets up and grabs her purse, which was apparently on the rail beside me and wraps it around the wires on the rail a few more times. She admonishes her husband for not watching her purse closely enough and gives him a nod in my direction. Jesus lady, I’m right here. Yah, I’m going to steal your fucking purse with my gout foot and my thirteen-year-old daughter sitting beside you.

SK 8:53 p.m.: Opener 2 starts with a bang and a what the fuck. The singer is frantically carried out and dropped on the stage where she writhes and creeps and crawls like Gollum…if Gollum had legs like a supermodel and stage presence like Iggy Pop. Who the fuck is this band (ironically named Starcrawler)? Even though it sounds like they’re running the sound through clock radio speakers, this band is for real. Fuck Yeah. Bowie/T Rex/Stooges glam rock 2018.

ES 9:06 p.m.: Checking out the smoker’s scene always brings about a host of new characters. It’s become less of an exclusively smoking section and more of a socializing section. And it wouldn’t be a punk rock show in Hollywood if someone didn’t ask you if you knew where to score some “yayo,” would it?

SK 9:28 p.m.: My daughter and I are watching Starcrawler and the crowd. A dude in some rad floral jean shorts and a pastel tank-top rolls up toward the stage below us, he’s buzzed, fist bumping and is rocking like it’s 1999. I tell my daughter that he’s more punk rock than anyone here. She says nothing but confidently points to a drunk girl about twenty feet behind him, stripping off her shorts for no apparent reason, while stumbling to the ground to the horror of her friends. A security guard rushes over to cover her up and another comes over to help escort her away. My daughter looks at me and smiles, “Who’s more punk rock?”  Brat.

Awesome Totally Awesome - The Distillers

ES 9:32 p.m.: Back in the bathroom, in the punk rock spirit of unity, I try to be cordial to the gal in line behind me by warning her about the lighting outage. She replied, “Fuck it, I don’t give a fuck, I’m used to peeing in dark corners.”

SK 9:33 p.m. There’s a small pit starting with a fifty-something biker-looking dude who could be Jim “the Anvil” Neidhart’s doppelganger running it. My daughter turns to me in shock and I realize this is the first time she’s seen a live circle pit.

SK 9:40 p.m. Like a weird meme, Starcrawler ends with the singer crawling off the side of the stage and the guitarist jumping off the stage and disappearing also. The drummer and bassist play for another minute and finish.  I like them but can’t decide if I’ll bother trying to listen to them on Spotify after this.  The dude in the floral shorts is making friends, vaping openly on the floor and dancing with a group of ladies to Dolly Parton.

ES 10:01 p.m.: A rowdy and pumped crowd of nearly every warm body in the venue gathers as “Non, je ne regrette rien” performed by Edith Piaf pours over from above. Very fitting for a strong female vocalist to commence another strong female vocalist’ performance.

ES 10:05 p.m.: The moment of truth. The Distillers. Finally. They’ve chosen “I Am a Revenant” as their opening song, but the sound system is threatening to take a shit again as it screeches terribly. Brody, the vibe, and the band are on point, but the technical hiccups are making the overall sound mushy.

SK 10:05 p.m. The Distillers take the stage with fury and energy but sound like shit. They actually sound great, but only in spurts, while the speakers repeatedly cut out.  My Yorx stereo with dual cassettes, in high-school, sounded better, and only cut out when I was bumping hip-hop. Brody and the boys’ power through “I Am a Revenant,” “Oh Serena,” “Sick of it All,” and “Die on a Rope,” with the crowd going Richter. Despite the shitty, sound, Brody’s epic gravelly voice shines like I imagined it would.  Brody is obviously the focus, but the whole band is ripping.

About three odd-shaped circle pits have formed, and from the balcony, they look like tunnels from the arcade video game Dig Dug.

ES 10:14 p.m.: “Die On a Rope” is badass live! But still, I cannot help but notice they’re not doing anything about the terrible sound issues. I’m beginning to think the venue is banking on a hope that everyone is too drunk on their overpriced booze to notice this bullshit downplaying the talent.

ES 10:17 p.m.: I’ve migrated upstairs where the sound quality is much better. “Seneca Falls” brings in the first worthwhile pit which appears to consist solely of older bald white men. From my bird’s eye view, it isn’t a circle pit, but rather a strangely warped oval pit with a man who appears to be doing a spiritual Jesus impersonation when the chorus sings, “FREEDOM, RISE UP FOR ME!”

SK 10:20 p.m.: The elderly lady continues to wrap her purse around the rail wires every few minutes. By now it’s kind of turned into a joke between my daughter and me and we nudge each other every time the lady does something paranoid. My daughter is starting to get tired and I’m thinking about hitting up the bacon wrapped hotdog stand as “LA Girl” finishes.

ES 10:21 p.m.: The sound system seems to have cleared up miraculously. Brody’s vocals sound more clear, less distorted, and the energy is picking up just in time for tracks from “The Coral Fang.”

ES 10:30 p.m.: Ahh, “The Hunger,” an oldie but a goodie. Nearly every OG Distillers fan has had a good private power cry to this song. But the crowd down below shows their age when its overall energy shifts and they seem disinterested with this classic. My heart breaks.

ES 10:33 p.m.: “Dismantle Me” begins and the crowd wakes the fuck up again! The Distillers sound so awesome it’s tough to believe they ever stopped playing together.

SK 10:35 p.m.“Dismantle Me” is the highlight of the show. Every girl around us knows every word. Even the dudes are mouthing the words. “Olive juice, Brody. Olive juice.”

SK 10:46 p.m. I have to say, I’ve never seen so many girls crowd surfing at any show, ever. Pretty cool to see. Brody is obviously an inspiration to them. Hopefully, her strength and power resonates with my daughter, also—and inspires her to live fearlessly.  I can’t wait to eat a bacon-wrapped dog once I leave.

SK 11:00 p.m. My daughter is ready to go home. I can see it in her eyes. When I ask her if she’s ready, she immediately nods affirmatively. I think about how funny it would be to feign grabbing the lady’s purse.  Then, I think about how unfunny it would be to spend the night in jail and have my daughter put in protective custody.

We make our way to the floor and then the lobby, and both head to the bathrooms. As I’m climbing back up another set of stairs in the lobby to the bathroom, some drunk dude with a flipped up hat (a la Suicidal Tendencies) walking down goes to high five me. I catch his high five. “Yeah brother.” “Fucking Rights,” He responds. Then he points to my Descendents shirt confused and sad. It has Milo on it with a mullet and broken glasses like one of the Hanson Brothers in the movie, Slap Shot. He pumps his fist to his heart. “Rest in Peace NfrFDghEEFDllll…”

ES 11:02 p.m.: Brody treats us to a song she wrote when she was 16, and the crowd responds only slightly. Maybe they’re drunk, maybe they’re confused, maybe they’re disinterested again. Whatever it is, they seem to prefer the songs they can sing along to easily.

SK 11:03 p.m. I meet my daughter in the lobby and she tells me a story about a drunk lady dropping her drink on the nasty bathroom floor and trying to put it back in the glass.  We check the merch booth one more time and agree that the shirts are creepy and that we wouldn’t wear them, even if we bought them. I tell her that we’ll hit up the bootleg guys outside. Once outside, I ask the female security guard to take a picture of us and she is happy to do so. My daughter gives me a big hug and I’m a proud and happy dad.

SK 11:05 p.m. Muthafuckin’ bacon dogs. We hit up the hot dog stands that are waiting after every Palladium show. My daughter enjoyed her first LA bacon-wrapped hot dog with ketchup, grilled onions and a jalapeno on the side. I got mine fully loaded, also with a jalapeno on the side. We also found her a cool shirt for $10.00 from a friendly bootleg T-shirt guy. We stop at Arby’s drive-thru for some Jamocha shakes and are on our way home.

ES 11:09 PM: “City of Angels” ends the show, and this masterpiece performed live is such an incredible experience that I don’t even care the sound system is sucking again. This has been a night as classically LA punk rock as Brody’s signature cheetah print pants she graced us with.

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