Friday nights seem to be live music nights for me lately, a routine I could definitely get use to. This Friday it was off to the El Rey to see The Acid, as well as openers Peaking Lights Acid Test and WIFE. The night had that post-rain feeling to it, moisture and unusually clean air gifting a slight chill that had me throwing a sweater on that I knew would end up being a bad idea later. It had been a while since I’d seen a show at the El Rey, but what I remembered most about it was how hot it gets inside.
Hot it was, as well as very dark when I entered the venue. I felt immediately jolted by the darkness, taking me off-guard and slowing my steps until my eyes adjusted. I was a little late (Friday traffic in Los Angeles, enough said), so Peaking Lights Acid Test was filling the room with drops and beats and electronic lushness that made the darkness feel more like deep space, the blinking spark of cell phone screens that seemed to dance around the room, like the stars. The feeling wrapped around me and enveloped me to the point where the lack of light started to feel almost welcoming.
I found a place off to the left side of the stage to stand, until security came to tell me I was on the wrong side of a line that apparently was marking the floor (again, the room was almost completely without light, so any lines on the floor? Yeah, completely invisible to me). I settled in up on one of the raised areas, still on the left, sitting down against the wall. For a spell I closed my eyes and just let the music take over. My imagination kicked in quickly, sketching stories in my head, making me wish I had a notebook, a pen, and a flash light, so I could have written some of the vivid scenes and scenarios down.
At the break the lights went dimly on. Thankfully the venue did not throw full house lights at us, as I’m sure the room would have been nothing but a collective and pained squint, like when your Aunt or Grandmother insists on always “using a flash” when she snaps those holiday photos. I stayed put and waited, wondering what the next artist(s) would sound like. I could never have expected the brilliance that was to follow in the form of WIFE. This was a serving of artistic brilliance and awe the likes of something I have never experienced before. Part David Lynch, part American Horror Story, part Grace Jones, part just fucking cool, WIFE had me completely mesmerized, and physically trying to work my way through the crowd to get closer. The photo (see above), and even the short video clip (click here), do not do it justice – this was definitely a “you had to be there” moment. It was honestly a million wows all at once.
The lights went on again, still low watt to keep the mood intact. I decided to find a better place to stand in order to get a better view of the stage. The sound booth seemed like the best choice, so I made my way over and found a spot, still on the left, to claim as mine. The venue had gotten exponentially more crowded, bringing along with it more heat, enough so that that sweater that seemed like such a necessity when I first left my car, now felt cloying and unwanted, so I slipped on out of it and tied it around my neck. Note to self: next time just deal with a few shivers, and leave jackets and/or sweaters behind.
It was finally time for The Acid, and the room was a buzz of energy and anticipation. The first thing that hit me was the vibration of sound that traveled from my head to the tip of each of my toes, filling my body with the feeling of the music, as well as my ears with the sounds. It was an astounding feeling, one that I could tell was having a significant impact on a couple in front of me who suddenly could not keep their hands and mouths of each other. You could tell the reaction was somewhat unexpected, but overwhelming, and as I looked around I saw other displays of affection and bliss, bodies swaying, mouths agape and eyes either open wide, or closed tight. It was electric what I felt in that room.
The music was amazing to the ears, too. Lush and dreamy, pulsating and evocative, I felt swept up in it. The visuals, projected on a screen that seemed to move with the music, as well, just added to the effect of it all. Cinematic does not do it justice as a descriptor, it was more than that, it was art itself.
Again, the photos (see above and below), and the short video clip (see here) do not do the show justice. If I’d been closer I could have captured something a bit better, but I was more interested in feeling and experiencing the live experience of The Acid, and I don’t regret that choice. Truly, if you get a chance to, check them out while they are still touring. See tour dates here.
Afterwards, I walked around in a daze. The music had crept in under my skin and stayed there, warming me as I walked back out into the Los Angeles unexpected chilled night air. I was admittedly carrying a bit of a contact high, as well, since I seemed to be surrounded by clouds of smoke throughout the entire set. The cool air kicked most of it out of me, though, but it did not take the music away, no, I kept it with me on in to my drive home, and later, into my own dreams.
Thank you for the music, Peaking Lights Acid Test, WIFE and The Acid.