It’s 10:48PM and a theater filled with a veritable smorgasbord of Los Angeles creative types are listening to the bombastic chaos of a 4am construction crew blaring out through Wayne Coyne’s phone. The Flaming Lips frontman is creating a soundscape akin to that of Eraserhead, one of David Lynch’s most iconic films, and he recorded the cacophony with his iPhone early this morning. The noise is harsh and terrifying and peppered with an orchestral build (you know the one. From the film!), ending with the sad and poignant poetry of The Elephant Man. It’s a lot to take in: an aural walk amongst the gewgaws on the outskirts of the director’s impressive, surrealist mind. And it was, perhaps, the most interesting way anyone in LA could spend a Wednesday.
Chockablock with a varied lot of musical enchantments and incantations, Wednesday night’s The Music of David Lynch was a two and a half hour takeover of The Theater at the Ace Hotel, paying homage to the director’s weird and wonderful world. A benefit for his foundation helping to spread the good of Transcendental Meditation, it featured music by, inspired by, and from the films of Lynch (plus a few other tunes in there to keep the energy up). With a house band full of no-slouches (hey, we are in Los Angeles after all), and even a few short films, Lynch’s musicality and ethos was brought to life with a truly impressive roster.
The whole night started out with Angelo Badalamenti (Lynch’s longtime musical composer compatriot) plunking away at that old familiar tune, “Laura Palmer’s Theme” from Twin Peaks, settling the crowd in for a long list of favorites and experimental endeavors. Like Jim James’ haunting take on “Sycamore Trees” from Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, and Sky Ferreira’s slightly nervous tackling of the eponymous Blue Velvet tune.
There was also a heavy dose of what this particular author likes to call the “delightfully strange.” Like when living David Lynch fever dream, Donovan, came out to perform an even-more-slowed-down version of “Love Me Tender” from Wild at Heart– his movements all at once delicate and possessed. Rebekah Del Rio commanded everyone’s attention, silencio-ing (get it get it?) the theater as she sang — a cappella — her Spanish-language version of the Roy Orbison tune, “Llorando.” And later, Badalamenti returned for a few more stories and songs — “Dance of the Dream Man,” “Dark Spanish Symphony,” and “Falling” — the latter of which included a story wherein the Queen told Paul McCartney she couldn’t stay for his performance (even though they were IN Buckingham Palace, mind you) because Twin Peaks was on.
Only at a night like this would you ever learn that Elizabeth and her corgis consider Twin Peaks appointment television. Lucky for her the gum she likes is going to come back in style!
Other highlights include Karen O’s take on “Pinky’s Dream” from Crazy Clown Time, David Lynch’s solo album; Lykke Li’s “Wicked Games” rendition, and a positively perfect pairing of Tennis and Chicago-based band Twin Peaks’ (whatta name, huh?) take on “In Dreams.” Oh, and one would be horribly remiss to not mention Moby’s riotous renditions of his own songs, “Go” (which was, admittedly inspired — well, in his words “stolen” from Lynch) and “The Perfect Life.” As is the case with the Mobster, there was dancing, a bit of destruction, and a sing-a-long to boot. He and the evening’s final performers were the only ones able to get the crowd on their feet (but it probably didn’t help that a lot of the other songs were decidedly less spunky).
That final act? The one and only Duran Duran, who played several of their own tunes, including “The Chauffer” and two other previously unplanned ditties — “Ordinary World” and “Hungry Like the Wolf,” rousing almost the whole of the audience to their feet. Damn that Simon Le Bon’s still got it! Dancing, singing, and general merriment capped off an evening filled with a wild variety of performance — and it was exactly the sort of thing you’d expect from a man as mad (in the best way) as David Lynch. Damn good stuff — and hot!
Featured Image via DeviantArt | Artist: javiergpacheco