I was with some dear friends. Dear friends. That’s how we describe our friends these days. Not good or close or even BFF, but dear. Yes, I was with some dear friends. Oh, and a dear friend’s girlfriend. And dear friend’s roommate. I don’t know how deep the antediluvian river of dear runs, and I don’t want to be presumptuous. I wouldn’t take a bullet for any of them, but I would cry at their funerals. I would bring flowers.
But that’s not even the point! The point is, I was with some people in Echo Park. I was trying to see a band, which is extremely popular today, but I’m sure in two years, I’ll be like, “What was the name of that band that we were way into? We went to their show at the Echo but it was sold out and some how we got in anyway.” That won’t ring any bells.
Yes, we were at the Echo and the show was sold out. And the weirdest thing happened. Well, not yet. First, we were all standing there—my dear friends who I would not take a bullet for, and me. We were drinking whiskey out of Coke cans or at least they were. I was pretty sure I was just drinking soda—some friends, right? Now you understand my hesitation about taking a bullet for one of these guys. It’s also possible that it’s my palette. It’s used to whiskey–perhaps it’s been over exposed. But soda is a foreign and toxic agent, which I don’t allow to enter my system. I made an exception. I regret it. Oh, how I regret it.
There we were standing, drinking, if you want to get technical, we were loitering. And there was this man. He was a bouncer. Lithe, like a ballerina with a black baseball cap and knuckle tats. He looked like the grown up version of those kids that were pro skaters when they were like nine, but then get dropped by all their sponsors before high school. Then they smoke a bunch of meth, start a band, get knuckle tats and comment on YouTube vids defending the cutting edge skateboarding they once practiced, but now no longer do because there’s no adult future in skateboarding. It’s like gymnastics only there’s absolute no dough in gymnastics—just communists and anorexics and handstand splits.
I had to ask him a question. I needed some information. My dear friends had bought the booze, they had driven. It was my obligation to solicit facts like, “Dude, when are we gonna get in, man?”
Naturally, I was dreading this interaction. Everyone knows that talking to a bouncer is pretty much the worst thing ever. They’re hostile. They work in customer service but they have absolutely no interest in being hospitable. There’s an air about bouncers that says: I hate you. You’re not getting in unless you show me your tits or forfeit your Roth IRA. (I don’t have either, which means I’m totally fucked.)
I worked up the nerve to talk to that nihilistic, miscreant, checker-of-identication dude… And he answered my question! He was bubbly, and articulate. His answer was thorough and offered a glimmer of hope. He smiled. I wanted to give him a hug. He was a diplomat with knuckle tats. He wasn’t a goon, he was Kenneth from 30 Rock’s long lost brother. I didn’t know what to do. I came ready for a fight. I would defend my honor and demand entrance. And then, although it was in waves, he let us in. Not begrudgingly but with a generous smile.
Of course, once we were inside I discovered for the 1,000th time that The Echo has the worst acoustics, sound engineer, sound system and whatever else involved which makes every band that you love—suck. I was once with one of these dear friends to see Tame Impala play and the low drone and lack of vocals put him to sleep. Personally, I think it was his body shutting down to protect itself from the horrific assault that the Echo was thrusting into our eardrums.
At the end of the night, I swore to never go back. Then I saw the bouncer. He didn’t lift a velvet rope but he might as well have. And I knew I’d have to break that promise to myself. If I didn’t keep coming to this terrible venue I’d put that generous man, who at this point I considered a dear friend, out of a job. And that’s just cruel. It’s unnecessary. I can survive the abysmal sound quality, but I don’t think that bouncer would last a minute on the streets of L.A. He looked like the kind of guy who carries around hand sanitizer.
As a night cap, my dear friends and I stole a small pizza, which we’re too old to do. But then again, Y.O.L.O. or something, right? See a shitty show, drink soda, steal a pizza—yeah—YOLO.