Last night I finally got to see my old roommate Ryan’s band, Ed Ghost Tucker. Aside from the excellence of seeing a buddy who now lives two hours away and seeing him do something as cool as making good music, the night reminded me how much fun it is to see live music in small venues.
The show was at a bar in Santa Monica named TRiP. A long skinny room with a bar running along one wall and bright pop-art murals painted on the other. The front of the room had a small stage and the back end had a compacted pool table. At no point was there ever more than 30 people in the place, but it was a perfect atmosphere. It brought me back to high school and seeing shows at small, dark venues like the Clubhouse and the Rhythm Room. Back then we stood closer to the stage because we couldn’t be at the bar, but last night sitting along to the side splitting a pitcher of Stella with another roommate was even better.
There’s something so special about seeing small, intimate shows like that. It feels like you’re being let in on a secret, enjoying something beautiful that few others even know exists.On the show itself, it was a really fun night of music with two very different acts.
The guy playing when we walked in was a big, bearded man playing guitar by himself on the stage. His act was much more than that though as he beatboxed to provide his own percussion, rapped at times and even mixed in some singing in spanish and french. He closed his time on stage with a song that began as the guitar riff from ‘Stairway to Heaven’ before he yelled “REMIX” and rapped a medley of Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre verses over the classic rock guitar.
I was really excited to see the San Diego-based Ed Ghost Tucker since I had previously missed all of their LA shows. I had listened to their recordings online but a live show is something different all together. A five-piece outfit that liberally uses piano, horns, synth and different types of percussion. Somewhere between folk, jazz and indie rock they are an interesting group. I’m also an absolute sucker for anyone with a mixture of male and female lead vocals (see: Of Monsters and Men, The Head and the Heart, Grouplove, Straylight Run)
Check out a couple of their songs below.
The more up-tempo, indie rock sounding “Anyone”:
The more instrumental, spacey “Lesser Antilles”:
With range going from those two sounds it’s like your favorite indie rock band had a folky baby with Explosions in the Sky. They are just starting out, but give them a listen; I truly enjoyed seeing them for the first time. Not only was it refreshing to listen to some new, interesting music, it was nice to remember that there are venues and bands and nights like that out there.
p.s. I like to imagine that the name is actually Ed Ghost “Trucker” as I initially misread it to be. Makes me think that there’s a grizzly, bearded truck driver ghost listening to this spacey music while cruising down some icy ghost highway.