Sarah Dashew at Hotel Café

As always, feel free to collect correct any spelling.

Dashed out to catch the bus—as usual—though this time I only had to cross the street, so managed it easier than I thought; it helps when traffic is stopped at red lights both ways. The ride on the gold line train was incredibly peaceful, that kind of morning where everything goes right and you let yourself believe this will be the tone for the whole day. . .


First problem: restroom at Union Station is closed! That only happens when you have to go urgently, of course. Shuffled off to the auxiliary one at the other end of the station—that tunnel seems to be getting longer and longer—and of course there’s a long line. . . yep, perfect day comes crashing down to earth. Got a small laugh on the way out as a guy who looked a lot like Deeks from NCIS:LA was waiting in line with a service collie.
Finally at Wilshire, I grab my usual footlong wheat bacon and egg at Subway, then walk a few stores down to pick up my new glasses. . . which must make for quite a sight now that I’ve been shaved again. . . only my head, this time. The frames, which I picked out quickly on the previous trip, are called “Modern Jazz.” Since when do they have names? Not sure how appropriate it is; with sax and guitar, maybe. . .
The blood donation place has new procedures, so add an hour, plus they left me in the bed for another half hour without doing anything, and then when everything was finally ready the needle went in too deep and hurt like hell. On the plus side, it’s the first time I got to see an entire movie, and it was Brave! Obviously seen it before, but there was nothing by Katherine Heigl available, and I watched it with the sound off, just concentrating on the animation, so the time passed quickly.
With four hours till the concert, I made my way to the UCLA student union for a Jamba Juice, then headed over to the athletic department to discuss where this year’s donation will be going to; every year there’s a new person doing that, so it always drags on. I did run into one of the new female basketball players, who just happens to be 6’9, and got to tease her a bit, though not about her height. That relationship’s off to a great start. . .
On my walk to the other end of campus, I saw a Cornhusker-looking guy holding hands with a slim Asian guy, and instantly wondered if such a sight would be seen on Nebraska’s campus.
Sunset pretty free of traffic an hour before rush, so I’m in Hollywood with time to spare. While passing it at Coffee Bean, their video board says, “When 99c stores started in the 1920s, they were for the rich.” Nice. Finally managed to connect to wifi at this place, where I saw that the one and only Molly Quinn from Castle—whom you may recall I met at a play a couple of months ago—tweeted that she was on her way to the Arclight, which was two blocks away from my present location. On the bus I’d seen they had the red carpet and fans lined up and such, and now as I walked toward Hotel Café I looked for the brilliant shock of red hair, but didn’t see her. Oh well, Merida is enough of a redhead to tide me over for now. . .
As though to bring it full circle, Sarah Dashew’s  first album cover was shot in the tunnel at Union Station; you can tell by that shot that she wasn’t running to the restroom. She looks exactly the same even in the gloom of Hotel Café’s lobby; she didn’t recognize me in the dark until I said my name. She seemed very surprised to see me, claiming I was waiting for her to play at a respectable place before taking in another of her concerts. I reminded her that the last place I saw her burned down, and then I teased her about how she always rambles on her last song. One of her bandmates came by and introductions were made, at which point she tells him I’m a Bruin—which is her pet peeve—and this time even says UCLA stole her inheritance, which is quite harsh but I’ll assume she’s joking.
So the incredibly loud previous act finally finishes and I go in to grab a seat, but most of the tables are taken. Luckily for the first time there’s some chairs against the wall, so I sit down, only to have the view blocked by a group of talkers, so I grab the chair and move in front of them, pointedly shoving one of them out of the way to make sure he gets the point. Finally situated, I try to get some photos of Sarah setting up with my little camera, but not only is Hotel Café its usual cave of non-illumination, I’m still not up on all the settings of this new device.
Sarah’s got both electric and acoustic guitars to tune, plus a bass player, drummer, and Danny, the guy she introduced me to earlier, who has a strangely painted but good-looking guitar. I’m finally able to notice how ridiculous Sarah’s shoes are; I forgot to tease her about them after, though I did mention them on twitter. I also notice they’ve got mics in front of the amps, which seems like a long way for the sound to go, but then I guess setup would have taken even longer if they had to go through all the cables. Bass player looks quite bored as the drummer builds his set and the guitarist soundchecks. Earlier Sarah made an ouchie sound and said she broken a thumbnail, but as I watch her warm up she’s not using a pick, so it seems okay. And instead of a portable tuner on the guitar neck, hers is on her footboard, amongst other things, though Danny’s board is way bigger. And I’m noticing for the first time she has tats on both arms. . . hope they’re temporary.
Okay, on to the music. . .
1 When A Train Rolls Through
Her Texas song that we computer-talked about a few years ago. Still trying out stuff on the new little camera, I managed to hold my arms up long enough to video capture the song; can’t believe YouTube sent me an email congratulating me on my first upload. How ‘bout a cake instead?

2 Something Wicked This Way Comes
Danny drops the guitar in favor of a trumpet; surprised at how well that worked out.
3 Hash It Out
“Get ready, guys, it’s about to get sexy.” And with those words she breaks out the harmonica in its holder. . . “cuz it’s sexy!” Probably her most recognizable song, they play it harder than I remember. More to the point, she looks like she’s having so much fun up there!

4 Time
“My name’s Sarah, what’s yours?” Some guy in the crowd screams, “Audience!” which makes her laugh. She talks about how the genesis of this song was a talk about religion with a friend when she should have been getting to LAX, which sounds just like her.
5 Riding Through the Desert
Getting shakes to start. . . literally, her entire body was shaking. Though this was a slow song, with her gentle on the guitar, the trumpet and hard bass drum made it feel just the opposite. And I just realized how tight her jeans are. . .
6 Something In the Weather
Soul song, because it’s Soul Monday at Hotel Café. She’s become quite a guitarist, holding down the melody or rhythm, whatever the song calls for. Danny’s back on trumpet, then does some piano, his third instrument of the night. At one point Sarah sneaks up on the mic from below, like she was a submarine or shark; it was such a hilarious visual. Then she squats during the trumpet solo so the attention would be on Danny; considering her shoes and jeans, that was probably her greatest feat of the night.
7 Blurred Lines
(solo–I’m so ashamed) is what she wrote on her song list, which I snagged after the show. This was a request, which she claimed forced her to play it. I had no idea she could tickle the ivory as well, but there she is on the piano. When it was over she says it’s the cutest song about date rape ever, which I didn’t get that at all from the lyrics. I thought “Good girl, you know you want it,” means something else. . .

8 Where I Belong
Joined by another trumpet. Her most heartfelt song: All the long climb up to the top of your heart / I climbed / All the long stairs up to the top of your heart / Where I belong
9 Everywhere You Go
When you can’t think up a chorus, go “La la la la la la.” {Kidding!. . . kinda.} Danny’s on the piano and the new guy stays for more trumpet, so we’ve got five instruments up there now, and it doesn’t take long for the rambling to begin. She starts it with band intros, which gives them each a solo—“Bass, how low can you go?” and “Kicking some snare!”—then she mentions, “It’s time to go when you hear the la la las.” I didn’t get nearly as much of her ramble as in previous shows, but I do know she started with something about the meteor showers. She asks for one thing: before you go to bed, make love, hunt for cookies, brush your teeth, change your underwear—pretty sure she wanted to say derriere there—and in the end I didn’t catch what she was asking for! At one point Danny plays the la la las on the piano, which makes her laugh, and then we’re out. . .
Bass player, as is always the case, didn’t get chance to distinguish himself, but the drummer was excellent, and Danny superb. As mentioned earlier, Sarah has become a great guitarist as well; I have no idea how to tell harmonica players apart, but the fact she tickled the ivories for the first time in front of me made it all the more spectacular.
After waiting a few minutes to talk to her after—as usual I mentioned that my fave wasn’t played—I took off for the subway, though I knew I’d have a bit of a wait for the next train. Cannot believe how many languages I heard in that three-block walk. Passed by some cops talking to a homeless guy sitting in the middle of the sidewalk, but there was enough room to go around them and pretend they were invisible. As always I smile at the security cam above what has recently become a Starbucks—good, the world needed another one. Finally underground for the subway, where the train shoulda passed six minutes before, but the platform’s full. Came about ten minutes late, which was perfect for me, even though I didn’t get a seat. Watched the tunnel for the first time in a long time, although I’d never done it standing, and it was too bright for me to do the old meditation with lights routine. . .
Wetzel’s is still open at 10PM. Definitely filed away for future abuse. . . er, use.
The bus was just as packed as the subway at this late hour, though I did manage to snag the last seat. Still, seated so uncomfortably, my back, which has been worse than usual lately, really went way off, so that I was so slow at the transfer point that the next guy almost left me behind, a damper on an otherwise awesome night. . .


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