Posted by: cassymuronaka | May 8, 2009

Katie Melua and the road to Hollywood

Katie tones

Despite the fact that I am always up for a good adventure, my spouse had to push me, hissing and sulking, to a Katie Melua concert in Hollywood last week.

It is in the area of music where my husband and I veer in decidedly different directions. This is primarily the result of a more than 7-year age difference between us, a gap that is not to my advantage age-wise, but, I do believe, is to my advantage taste-wise.

For I am a hard-edged product of the 60s and he is an easy-listening child of the 70s. He is a Carpenters and Neil Diamond kinda guy, and my young heart belonged to the Who and the Rolling Stones. When we met, in the late 80s, we soon discovered that we would never be able to discuss music without it all ending up in a one giant eyeball-rolling contest, unless we kept the focus on Country. We could both agree on Willie Nelson.

Katie Melua is a 24-year-old European superstar, but is virtually unknown here. She is multi-gifted: a singer, a songwriter, and she plays at least two musical instruments.

She also gives good YouTube, which is how a lot of American fans have discovered her, for she is good-looking and viral video friendly.

When I was dragged away from a gripping episode of “America’s Next Top Model” to view one of those YouTube videos, I promptly shelved Katie in the Breathy Girl Singers category. And I’ve had a bellyful of those in the last few years. Complete creatures of the studio, they can barely project a squeak to the second row of an auditorium in a live performance without the aid of a sound system that can amplify music to Mars.

And because what you get in the studio is not necessarily what you get in person, I ended up dramatically altering my opinion of Katie Melua. Not that she would give a rat’s ass. She was worth 18 million British pounds as of last year and her career is not going to be made or broken by someone who threw her over for reality television.

Because I am so rarely let out of my suburban cage to roam the badlands of West Los Angeles, one of the first things that perked me up on Performance Day was the free half-hour concert that Katie Melua gave at Amoeba Records on Sunset Boulevard several hours before her appearance at Hotel Café, just off Hollywood Boulevard. My Husband The Fan wanted to go to Amoeba and the Hotel Café. Figuring it was Hollywood and the tourists alone ought to be good for some photos, I grudgingly agreed to hit the road in mid-afternoon.

Remarkably, there were no camera-smashing stormtroopers on the Amoeba or Melua staffs. Among the little treasures from this photo shoot are several of my middle-aged husband standing in a fans line, and then getting a CD autographed by the singer.

Katie and David

Just being in Hollywood on a weekend night is a little treasure in itself. It’s weird town inhabited and visited each year by thousands of weird people with weird expectations of a world that ceased to exist in the 1940s. If Stephen King decided to write about movies and the people who want to be in them, this is definitely the town he would create to house them.

The Hotel Café is a small room and accomodates about 50 people, but there are maybe 10 tables. If that. This makes for an interesting and frantic game of musical chairs when the doors open. I staked out one lone chair on the left side of the room, where I immediately got to know complete strangers intimately. My husband prowled the other side of the room with his camera. Between the two of us, I think that we shot about 600 images during Katie’s Melua’s two performances. I expect to finish editing them some time in 2011.

Katie turned out to be a superb songwriter and a nuanced performer. Her voice is much richer in person, and it’s hard not to be impressed by someone with such a vast age-range of fans. Starry-eyed college students sitting butt-to-butt with equally gaga retirees in a $12-a-ticket venue is not something you see every day in Hollywood. But then, nothing that you see in Hollywood is ever something that you see every day.

Katie Melua 1

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Responses

  1. Great post.

    I’m OK for the occasional Hollywood Bowl/Greek Theater concert but I have the same reaction as you do when I get invited to clubs. Isn’t it great when something turns out to be far better than you were expecting it to be?

  2. It is, and thanks Dave.

  3. Hi!

    I’m pleased you have appreciated Katie as a gorgeous vocalist! She is a big star in Europe and you are very lucky to have opportunity to participate in such intimate, acoustic concerts.

    There is an awesome Katie Melua fansite called MeluaWorld:
    http://www.meluaworld.com

    You’re very welcome here 🙂

    Would you like to share with us your impressions from a gig?
    And I have a request 🙂
    Could you upload there some photos from the concert?
    There is a lack of pics from Katie’s US Tour…. So please….share some with us 😀
    Every Katie’s photo is a treasure for us 😉

    Cheerio

    Agnes

  4. Thank you for the invite, but I forwarded it to the serious fan in the family. He says he’s familiar with the website and eventually will be sending over some photos.


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