Here at Sonic Itch, we realize that live music doesn’t just happen in Austin. That is why I decided to make the most of my recent trip to Los Angeles and write about an amazing show I was able to see.
Anyone ever heard of Daniel Lanois?
Since the music industry is full of Danity Kane’s and Avril Lavignes where the producers write majority of the tracks, it’s nice to know that someone like Lanois can pack a theater for a show featuring himself. The legendary lap-steel guitar player/producer has worked with artists like Bob Dylan (1989′s Oh Mercy and 1997′s Time Out of Mind, which won a Grammy) and U2 (1982′s The Unforgettable Fire and 1987′s The Joshua Tree, which also won a Grammy). He’s also worked with Emmylou Harris, Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel and has written scores for films like Sling Blade and The Last of the Mohicans.
This show however, was for Lanois’ new movie, Here Is What Is, a music documentary about his recording-studio trips to Ireland, Morocco and Los Angeles working with artists like Billy Bob Thornton, Brian Eno, Sinead O’Connor and U2. I was able to see the LA premier at the prestigious Vista Theater, right on Sunset Blvd (along with Keifer Sutherland who sat right behind us, “Is that Jack Bauer?!”)
Before the movie, there was a live performance from Lanois and his band, which included drummer, Brian Blade (who was in the film) as well as others. Brian Blade’s father, Brady Blade Sr. even came up during the set and sang with the song, “This May Be The Last Time” which heard like an old, blues traditional tune (the Blades are from New Orleans). Lanois then played a few other tracks like the popular, “The Maker” and his eccentric guitar playing kept my eyes interested the whole time.
Then it became really dark except for the dim, red lights on stage and a strange, yet familiar voice began speaking to softly played music.
I turned to the person next to me and said, “That’s Billy Bob,” and knew I was right.
His voice, which was the same one from the character Karl from the movie, sounded just as country and husky as it did from the movie. Thornton, who quietly came out wearing and suit with a skinny, black tie, still played the part perfectly. The dramatic level was even more enhanced with the low hues and hushed audience. His monologue, which was the part from the movie that talked about murdering his mother, was the best way to end the live show. Thornton then stated his gratitude for Lanois (along with hilarious anecdotes) and properly introduced the movie.
The movie itself was another artistic treat to a very eventful evening. The chromatic images and melodic songs defined Lanois presence to an unknown, like me. The interviews are climatic amongst the surrealist nature of the movie and the amazing scene with Sinead O’Connor left me hopeful about music again. If a man who has been in the business for more than thirty years can still produce something this inspiring, then there is definitely hope for the rest of us cynics.
You can now purchase the film online here as well as hear tracks from the movie.