July 24, 2000
It wasn’t just another warm and smoky Summer night at the Troubadour. Like many other evenings there, the atmosphere was filled with excitement, impending the volume of the audible genius that is the sound system of this club and the music that was about to be filtered through it. What was different about this night however, was that the bands that were slated to play for us were not of the same molten lava mold as many we’d seen previously that week. What was different was the crowd. Just as different were the butterflies in my stomach from anticipation.
Warming up the club and the bodies inside were The Crash Poets, who did a fine job of bringing smiles to the many appreciative faces that gazed up at the expansive Troubadour stage. An upbeat collection of songs about the fun parts of love and sex, complete with a jazzy bass line and a pop-group feel to the keyboards and backing vocals made The Crash Poets a welcome vibe to most who attended. The girls bounced up and down and danced freely and openly while the guys swayed in that familiar “I’m too cool to dance, even though I want to” sort of way. The Crash Poets were all happiness and light, and fun to watch and listen to.
In the moments that passed between sets, which seemed like years, my eyes found the members of Goudie entering the club; the four of them moving through the dark air like little shadows. I shared an engaging hello and a brief exchange with Johnny for a few moments, and off he went up into the glassed in upstairs room to change clothes, warm up, stretch and smoke that billowing pre-show cigarette.
The stage was prepped with candelabras and incense and hand-painted stars and stripes on the amps then the band took the stage. Of course, upon hearing the first chords of the opener, ‘Tonight‘, I was captured. This four-piece band out of Texas has quite a way of setting a very deep, electricity-filled mood; especially with songs as undeniably sexual as ‘Made‘ and ‘Drag City‘.
Johnny Goudie’s haunting voice literally glittered in the darkness on ‘Strange‘, to the point of making a tear spill down my cheek. The cries and whispers from his guitar, married with the echo of Jimmy Messer‘s energetic solos on ‘Terminal‘ was just as lingering.
Einar prowled his end of the stage with substantial underlying bass grooves on ‘Shy‘, while Bill Leifler kept time as natural as breathing on drums during other songs like ‘Julia‘ and the debut single from the Peep Show CD, ‘Baby Hello‘. An added and welcome blast from the past was Goudie’s slow and deliberate version of the Psychedelic Furs song, ‘Love My Way‘.
The band ended the set with an explosive noise rant from every instrument, similar to what Silverchair always loved to do, like several of their 70’s and 80’s big rock star predecessors. Tearing up the eardrums one last time like it would be the last show on Earth, Johnny pulverized his guitar strings until the moment brought him to his hands and knees exhausted, and satisfied.
With one last sweet and sincere thank you to the Los Angeles audience, Johnny Goudie and the band disappeared into the shadows while the rest of us stood awestruck.