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12/2001 - House of Blues - Hollywood, CA
by Bryan Terry - Last Call with Carson Daly - Music Notes

Hi my name's Bryan. I was hired here at Last Call because of my love for the world of music. For the past 10 years, I have spent quite a bit of time and money on my favorite hobby--buying albums, going to concerts, making mix tapes--and now they're making me write about it. That being said, here it is, the first entry in My-So-Called Musical Life.

Last week was a pleasant musical surprise. As part of my duties here at Last Call, I went to see two concerts by bands I had never heard or seen. The first group was five guys from Hollywood, CA known as Phantom Planet. All I knew going into the show was that their drummer, Jason Schwartzman was "that kid from Rushmore." Even though it was 6:30 on a Tuesday night, these guys played like it was 11:59pm on December 31st. The sound was good but their stage presence was better. The lead singer has a hint of Thom Yorke from Radiohead in his voice, but that's a welcome change from most new frontmen who seem to go the Eddie Vedder route. The three-guitar front did nothing but rock and "that kid from Rushmore" was intense on the drums. Phantom Planet passed my cynical test with flying colors.

The next night I was off to see one of my favorites, Ben Kweller, open for the Eels. In most cases, I'm out the door once Kweller leaves the stage because chances are what follows will be a let down after Ben. To get a sense of what this guy is like, just imagine Beck in his early acoustic days and actually being able to understand/relate to what he's singing about. On this night though, I got a little lesson Eels 101.

I'll be honest, going into this show I couldn't name any of their songs for the life of me, but it made no difference. Their performance was amazing. The only thing I did recognize was their unbelievable cover of Missy Elliot's "Get Ur Freak On." My friends and I were completely mesmerized during those five or so minutes (I've spent the last week looking for MP3's of this song on the net.) This foursome is way beyond the sum of their parts. They break down into two parts organ, three parts guitar, and one bad ass drummer named Butch. It's hard to come up with an explanation of what I was hearing. I just know I was really into it.

It's hard hearing a band's music for the first time live. You tend to feel lost and uneasy. But, when you walk away from an experience like that with a smile on your face, you realize you just were a part of something special.

Summary: Look out for Phantom Planet, Shout out to my man Ben Kweller, and go see the Eels.

--Bryan Terry