Friday, 18 December 2009

680 STONE HONEY, Los Angeles Knitting Factory, CA USA, Tuesday 11 October 2005

Talking about encountering familiar faces on our honeymoon; please welcome none other than Phil Hurley! Phil, late of the Gigolo Aunts and Tracy Bonham's band, and one of the nicest guys I know, is now domiciled in LA, so we'd hooked up with him earlier in the day and he'd showed us around for a few hours. So it was the least we could do to come check out his new band!

Drove over to Hollywood Boulevard early and had to suffer a parking-mare (the lot adjacent to the venue was shut so we had to park in the bowels of the earth, in a lot underneath the Kodak Theatre) and pavement-mare (the nearby Chinese theatre was hosting a premiere of new film "Domino" so 2 burly bouncers directed us up a blind alley then across the road, so Keira Knightley and Mickey Rourke could get out of their limos unhindered by us plebs) before having a nice meal in the better-than-it-sounds, and Hurley-recommended, Hamburger Hamlet.

Hit the venue just before 9.30 and took a pew stage-right in this living room style venue, before Phil's new band project took the stage. Stone Honey are a songwriting collective of old-style trad country from main singer Shaun, more mature and complex soft-rock singer-songwriter stuff from Nick, and Phil's more Beatles-influenced upbeat pop stuff. Like the Gentlemen, all 3 writers sang their own stuff, although Phil took centre stage for much of the intricate guitar riffery, showcasing his picking talent and clearly enjoying himself in these close, intimate surroundings.

The Honey ended up playing for 2 hours! An initial acoustic session was followed by the introduction of a fairly new rhythm section. Obviously I enjoyed Phil's material more, but I confess it was all good stuff, and the time whipped by. The last couple of numbers were notable for a crowd "stage invasion"; following the gig theme of "Songs From A Hillside Living Room", the band invited the crowd onstage to try to create that vibe!

The night had really only just begun though, as the entire audience then got invited back to Nick's place! After another parking-mare, we eventually made our way up the copiously long staircase to Nick's rambling, split-level crib in the Hollywood hills, overlooking the Hollywood sign. Thence we partied until 3.30 am, the band holding sway in the living room with impromptu acoustic versions of such as "Norwegian Wood", "I Feel Fine" et al. Phil, after showing us around and after we'd dodged the parking attendant, diligently prowling around at 1 am, by re-parking our car (legally this time!), picked up a guitar and, with his Boston expat friend Josh, who'd also been at the show, performed acoustic versions of Boston Rock classics such as "Where I Find My Heaven", "All Going Out Together", "Birdbrain" and "Larry". I even joined him on percussion during "Larry". Cool!

Eventually we had to call it a night, and we drove back to Phil's place halfway to our hotel, where we dumped our car and hopped into a pre-booked taxi back to the hotel, to try to foil the slurry sealing going on the next day in our hotel street. A real 70's Hollywood party experience!

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