2006-11-7 Hotel Cafe LA

Hotel Café - Los Angeles - November 7, 2006

Pete Townshend - Greyhound Girl, Endless Wire, Blue Red and Grey, Marty Robbins, Let's See Action, In The Ether (with Rachel), I'm One (with all)

Rachel Fuller - Cigarettes and Housework, Sunrise (with Pete), Jigsaw (with Pete), Blue

Mikey Cuthbert - Plasticine, You (with Rachel), Misery (with Rachel, Pete and Simon)

Simon Townshend - Comeback, Scaffolding, Sexchange

Minnie Driver - Everything In My Pocket, Sorry Baby, Fast As You Can (with Rachel and Pete)

E from Eels - Jeanies Diary, Flyswatter, It's A Motherfucker (with Pete), Birds (with Pete and Rachel), Let My Love Open The Door (with Pete), The Kids Are Alright (with Pete)

Billy Corgan - 4 new songs, Something In The Air (with Pete and Rachel)



Review by Carrie Pratt

Rachel Fuller gathered together an impressive group of musicians for her latest in a series of Attic Jam shows here in the US.  The venue for the Los Angeles show was the Hotel Cafe, which is a small funky club located off an alley near Hollywood Blvd.  I'm not sure how many people it held, but it couldn't have been more than a couple hundred.  The stage was tiny, and there were only a few tables in front of the stage for the musicians and their friends.  Everyone else had to stand around in very close, cramped quarters for what turned out to be a 3 hour show.  I think everyone would have much preferred to have seats set up for this show, which was mainly mellow acoustic music.  Fortunately, my tall Who friends who had staked out the prime position made sure that I stood in front of them, so I was able to have a clear view just a few feet from the stage.  I took a bunch of photos, but the lighting in the venue was very dim and flash photography was not allowed, so many of my photos came out a bit blurred.
Rachel did a great job and was kept very busy as MC for the show.  She kicked off the set with her trademark song 'Cigarettes and Housework', followed by a stunning version of 'Sunrise' accompanied by Pete on the guitar.  I was very excited to see 'Sunrise' on the setlist before the show, and Rachel really nailed this one, delivering the difficult high bits perfectly.  I could tell that Pete was happy with it, as he smiled his appreciation during her performance.
Mikey's set was awesome.  He was so smooth and confident, and he really looked great.  Pete gave his performance a nice shout out on his diary, so this must have been an especially good one for him.  'Misery' was a real highlight because of the lovely vocal harmonies by Rachel, Pete and Simon.  I will definitely be ordering Mikey's CD from Eelpie soon!
For a nice change of pace, Simon launched into three up-tempo songs that really pumped energy into the crowd.  He played a wonderful song called 'Scaffolding', and everyone sang along to 'Comeback' and 'Sexchange', which were real crowd favorites.
The surprise of the night was Minnie Driver.  I think many people had no idea that she was a musician, and a darn good one at that!  She was also very funny, and had great banter between the songs, including a joke about the dangers of wearing a very short mini dress and having to sit on a very tall stool.  She performed her song 'Fast As You Can' accompanied by Rachel and Pete, and I could tell she was very excited to have Pete playing along to one of her songs as she kept looking over at him with a big grin on her face.
It was a real pleasure to watch Pete perform his acoustic masterpieces in such a close and intimate setting.  He opened with one of my all time favorite songs, 'Greyhound Girl', and included 3 songs from the new Who album in his set, which seemed appropriate since he debuted these songs on In The Attic.  Watching Pete go into story teller mode is always a highlight, and he had some great stories this evening, including a bawdy one about The Who, a bus, a groupie, and VD!  He managed to poke a bit of fun at Roger, and described Roger's overly theatrical presentation of his songs before launching into his own dramatic performance of 'In the Ether'.  I can tell that Pete was having a great time all night, and he gave an incredible performance that I will remember for a long time.
E from Eels was up next, and provided us with a series of brilliantly crafted, quirky 2 minute pop tunes, with very funny banter in between the songs.  He had a running joke about Pete being his opening act, which Pete good humouredly commented that he may have taken a bit too far.  'It's a Motherfucker' sounded great with Pete on guitar, and 'Let My Love Open The Door' was a real highlight.
Billy Corgan performed a few new songs, which made a big splash in the press.  He hasn't played for a couple of years, and the new material sounded great.  The song I enjoyed the most though was Thunderclap Newman's 'Something In The Air', complete with Rachel's introduction on kazoo, and Pete's combination of acoustic guitar and funky piano breaks.
Rachel and Pete performed the exquisite 'Jigsaw', and then Rachel played a very beautiful rendition of Joni Mitchell's 'Blue', which she dedicated to Linda McCartney.  All the musicians joined together to close the show with the now traditional 'I'm One'.  All the frustrated photographers in the crowd took this opportunity to turn their flash on, so the show ended with what appeared to be a fireworks display of flashes!
I can tell by the response of both the artists and the audience that this show was very special.  Having seen all the videos of previous Attic Jam shows, I would have to rank this one as the best yet.  Thank you Rachel for giving everyone such a wonderful show!