The Walkmen with Beach House. The Fonda. January 20, 2009.

Obamicans were out in full force tonight at the Fonda on this monumental Presidential Inauguration Day. Baltimore band Beach House opened. Victoria Legrand (niece of French film composer Michel Legrand) hidden behind her touselled, long hair, sang in echoes. She is timid and apologetic: "I'll be off soon, this is my last song and then the Walkmen." She was like an insecure teenager, dressed in high-waisted overalls and a t-shirt, but had a hint of bling on her index finger, paying homage to Beach House's 1st album cover decore of a treasure chest with pearls, sequins and keepsakes. Our favorite song was "Gila" and the crowd pleaser was her closing with "Heart of Chambers."

On the break we go outside to peruse the crowd and jot down notes. We spot a couple with their sleeping newborn, sporting huge sound-cancelling headphones on his tiny head. Every other person is getting in a good use with their Obama t-shirts.

The Walkmen set starts with a line of brass players (the band has become accustomed to posting Craiglsist ads in each city for the players and introduces them before they sound off). Crowd pleaser was "In The New Year" which began with a shout out to our new President Elect. Everyone chanted "It's gonna be a good year" along with the band and that addictive guitar lick.

Beach House

Lead singer Hamilton Leithauserr channels Chris Martin's new image of "Viva La Vida" (picture the Captain Morgan stance) as he plays.

Department of Eagles with The Cave Singers. The Troubadour. January 23, 2009.

We walk into the Troubadour where an adorable British blond girl is going on to her bearded friends about how lovely it is to start the New Year at the Troub: "It's like my Cheers...where everybody knows your name." Although we see only a few familiar faces, the Troubadour has increasingly become our favorite venue in Los Angeles. Tonight it was made even more enjoyable by the crowd drawn in by these chill, very real, very genuine bands. (And even enjoyable with Ryan Gosling hanging out in the corner booth upstairs)

We saw this bearded trio from Seattle last year at the Echo and love them dearly. It was a pleasant surprise to see that they were the opening band tonight. We still love and listen to their 2007 album, Invitation Songs, quite often. We almost melted when they played "Seeds of Night"- it is such a great feel-good song. As they have said themselves, their music is like "a group hug."

Doodle, the man that runs the Troub grub station, mentioned that he witnesses most of the band's rehearsals. He usually notices a significant change from the band's sound check and the way they are when in front of an audience. Doodle tells us he wanted The Cave Singers to "keep it real" during their performance tonight. And that they did, that they did.

We were expecting the unexpected with the Department of Eagles. By the end of their set, we were both in awe - with a splash of disappointment. We were not sure how this duo was going to approach the show following their latest album, In Ear Park, which they recorded with the rest of the Grizzly Bear crew. Angelic wanted to hear "Forty Dollar Rug"...but had to hold back the tears of disappointment when she realized it just wasn't going to happen. Melissa, on the other hand, was hoping for more of the harmonies which were featured on their second album. She got her harmonies during the encore, but much to her dismay, it was a voice loop.

All in all, we were ecstatic that we were able to attend a Department of Eagles show and enjoyed it thoroughly. Being that they are based in NYC, are a side project and had barely produced anything since 2003...we were thrilled that they made it out to the West Coast. And were booked at the Troubadour non-the-less.

The Cave Singers

Department of Eagles

Metronomy with The Mae Shi. The El Rey. January 21, 2009

From the moment we walked into the El Rey we were intrigued. The Mae Shi were on their third song of the night and had incredible energy. Although the crowd was modest, we had fun like a kindergartner does after a really great P.E. class. Lead singer and keyboardist, Jonathan Gray, was wearing a Halloween Jack-o-Lantern costume over his jeans and had facial expressions galore.

At one point, the band threw out a giant "Mae-Sheet" parachute to the crowd. Everyone grabbed an end and pulled it over our heads. A dance party ensued underneath the multicolored 'chute. Later on, the band jumped from the stage and continued playing, weaving through the crowd.

We had not listened to The Mai Shi much before heading to the El Rey. We had mainly just listened to the songs featured on their MySpace page. Although some of their music was not up our alley, we still enjoyed their performance. The show was like an interactive video game which made our 'dance nerd' came out in full-force. Melissa has since announced she would follow the lead singer around like Zoltan's bubble wrap troupe in Dude, Where's My Car? The Mae Shi sure knows how to put on a show...and we like a show!

Metronomy took the stage setup in a row, like little ducklings - each with their own "keyboard." And each with their own Tap on/off Push Light (As Seen on TV) on their chest. Some of their songs had a hint of 80s music to it..Devo is to red conehats as Metronomy is to chest and wrist lights (the most cost-effective special effect ever). They were almost like a Motown band with their synchronized hand movements, except it looked like they were trying to make shadow puppet formations instead of dance moves.

They started to dedicate a song to Obama, but them nixed the idea and instead dedicated it to their PM Gordon Brown. That's ok, we still like them.

It was a better show than we expected. We left the venue with a concert poster that was "designed & printed by two rabbits"...which I think is pretty special.

*Be sure to check out The Mae Shi next Wednesday (2/4) at the Troubadour when they open for Matt & Kim!

The Mae Shi (...or at least half)

The Mae Sheet