There are a lot of differences between Chicago and Los Angeles, obviously. Back home, my friends and family are surrounded by banks of snow, cold temps, and going through the hibernation process of winter. Here in L.A., I’m sitting outside on a daily basis, soaking up the sun, and going out almost every other night. Unlike the cold midwest during brutal winters, things in L.A. don’t stop for anything. There’s always something happening, always last-minute events, shows, etc. Everyone and everything is on the move. No hibernation necessary. The winter music scene here is already drastically different from what I’m used to. So far, I haven’t spent a 3 hour commute into the city during a snowstorm to see The Kills. These are things I do not miss (the snow, not The Kills). But other than weather influenced scenarios, L.A.’s music scene is still a lot different from Chicago’s. And perhaps none of this was more prevalent than one of the most recent shows I attended in Los Angeles: Goodnight, Texas at Silverlake Lounge. Let’s take a brief trip down memory lane, shall we…
The first time I saw Goodnight, Texas (GN,TX), was back in Chicago. October 2nd, 2014 at The Throne Room, to be exact. Let me start off by saying, I was very unfamiliar with GN,TX. My dear friend, Alaina, was the one who insisted I needed to attend their show with her. She assured me that I would not be disappointed. Well, either that girl knows me all too well, or GN,TX is just that damn good, because she was absolutely right. That show, on a random, rainy, Thursday night in Chicago, remained one of my absolute favorite shows of the year. For fun and personal reasons, it was actually one of the best nights I had in 2014. Since the venue was fairly new, it didn’t seem like they promoted the show as well as they maybe could have. Combine that with the crappy weather and a weekday night, resulted in low attendance. My friend and I could care less. Small venues are my favorite for this reason. The PBR was flowing on this particular occasion, the opening acts were talented and hilarious. Before we knew it, Goodnight, Texas was hitting the stage. My friend and I got out of our seats and made our way to the front of the venue. We were the only ones standing there. Led by our example, others began to follow suit. Goodnight, Texas killed it. Their music is very approachable. It’s a mix of Americana and folk, with some grungy guitar riffs thrown into the mix. Most of their songs tell a story, a story that feels like the forgotten past of America. It’s a unique sound and perspective that I don’t often find with a lot of music nowadays. What also stood out to me, was how personable they seemed to be. They were communicative with the audience, and they made sure everyone, including themselves, were having a good time. Perhaps because of all these combining factors, I felt very compelled to yell for an encore when they were done. The band obliged. To me. Alaina, who had stepped away for a moment, came back into the room where the band had moved off the stage and were now surrounding me, for an encore. I mean… I know that wasn’t the case, but I sure felt like a lucky lady. So it was a great evening, a great show, and an experience that definitely stood out amongst the volume of other shows I went to, last year
Let’s fast forward, about 4 months. I now live in Los Angeles. Things are quite different. After that Goodnight, Texas show, I remained in contact with one of the members, Avi Vinocur. I was quite excited and interested to see a band I fell in love with, on the west coast, away from my very familiar surroundings in the midwest. Again, last Friday in Silverlake, Goodnight, Texas did not falter. Silverlake Lounge was definitely bigger than The Throne Room, but unlike that Chicago show, GN,TX was not headlining. That puzzled me a bit, but I soon learned it didn’t make the slightest difference. My roommate (and very good friend from Chicago) and I got to the venue early. What went from a band I knew nothing about, were now people I knew. People we helped load their gear into the venue for. People we could hang out before their show and have a couple of beers with. It was nice. But how would the show go? Could this show top what had been done back in Chicago? The venue started filling in before I knew it. What was once an empty bar, and familiar scene to The Throne Room, was now fully packed. I found a spot to the side of the stage and just hoped that not a lot of people would walk in front of me. My roommate, Tony, who’s a videographer, decided to film a good majority of the show. It was such a surreal experience. Here I was standing in a crowded room, knowing the actual band, seeing my friend capturing the whole show on film, and witnessing the audience go absolutely nuts for Goodnight, Texas. I slipped back into the shadows a bit, realizing I didn’t need to be that person who gets everyone to hopefully standup and watch the band, or to be vocal and yell. I could just enjoy the show, watch everyone sing aloud with the band, and have the biggest smile on my face. When GN,TX was done, the crowd slowly started to filter out before the last band even played. It hit me. Everyone who had been there, came to see Goodnight, Texas. It was unbelievable. The Throne Room be damned.
What a drastic difference that show in Chicago was compared to this show in L.A. Neither one I could say was better than the other one. They each had their great qualities. I suppose, from the bands perspective, they would much rather see a venue filled with people singing along, vs. playing to a few people and doing an encore to the demands of a short, little, brunette. I mean, to each their own. This is the difference between the midwest and a major entertainment city, like Los Angeles. Chicago isn’t always the first to know about everything, but I feel once we catch onto something good… we are the kind of people you want in your audience. Los Angeles, on the other hand, knows about musical acts way before most of us. They can be super supportive, but I can’t say it matches the intimacy and sheer exuberance the people of Chicago produce. If I didn’t have such a unique and intimate experience that first time seeing Goodnight, Texas in Chicago, would I even be writing this right now? Would I have been able to hang out with GN,TX as if we were all just friends? I’m not sure that, that would be the case. Shit happens for a reason.
I guess what you should take away from all of this, is two things. First, Goodnight, Texas plays some damn good music, as evidenced here. That being said, their live performances are what makes them even more memorable. Small venue, big venue, quiet crowd, loud crowd, they will blow you away. Plain and simple. Secondly, and what I can share most from all of this, is you need to open yourself up to music. Whether you’re unfamiliar with a band or genre, whether it’s your scene or something new. Whether your friends are going to the show or perhaps you’re flying solo. Whether you know the venue/location or it’s somewhere you’ve never been to before. You never know what will happen and will never know what kind of great experiences music will introduce you to. Sometimes the most random and smallest shows I’ve attended have led to some of the greatest times in my life. So I guess all I can say is, get out there and support music. You won’t be disappointed.