Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Live Review: Dungen
Last week I saw Swedish psych-rockers DUNGEN twice in the Los Angeles area. A lot of my friends like Dungen's record a lot more than I do. But when I'm in the right frame of mind I can really appreciate it.
The first show was Wednesday at the El Rey (www.theelrey.com). The El Rey is a beautiful old venue where I've seen some amazing shows over the years. Unfortunately it can feel like high school gym when there's not enough people to fill the space. [Complaint #1] The crowd was pretty sparse - maybe 50% capacity. Dungen plays the type of music that should absorb you (psychedelic head-y music). Therefore it should be loud. [Complaint #2] As Dungen started I could hear lots of people talking around me in normal voices. The lead singer has a cool Robert Plant-vibe and very tight trousers. He's a rock star in the making. [Complaint #3] Unfortunately the same thing cannot be said for his band. The touring drummer is horrible and the lead guitarist is moderate. The show got better after a friend supplied some free beers. [Complaint #4] A bottle of beer costs $7 + tip at the El Rey. I was happy that the tickets to the show were free.
The second show was Friday at the Glass House in Pomona (www.theglasshouse.us). I was honestly hoping this would be a better show. The Glass House can be a fun venue because it's an all ages club and the college crowd is generally far less jaded than the average LA crowd. Plus these tickets were also free and my girlfriend who couldn't make it on Wednesday really wanted to see the show. The Doors were set to open at 7:30 so we left Echo Park at 8pm (Pomona is 35 miles east of LA). [Complaint #1] Dungen wasn't scheduled to go on until 10pm. This was impossible to find out because neither the set times nor a phone number are displayed on the Glass House's Web site. There's no alcohol (and the concession stand wasn't even open) so we decided to kill time across the street until Dungen came on. [Complaint #2] There was nobody in the venue - maybe 15% full. The high school gym feeling was even worse. [Complaint #3] The drummer was even worse tonight and the lead guitar even less impressive.
Advice to Gustav Ejstes (lead singer of Dungen): Find a drummer who can keep time and a guitar player who can pull off some solos (you may even want to consider hiring some studio musicians). You're a rock star in the making and you're very capable of writing some great songs with hooks. Next time you're in LA play smaller venues. Instead of playing the El Rey and Glass House do a show at the Troubadour and a show at Spaceland. The shows are guaranteed to be packed and the audience will have a much better time. You're welcome.