Just where exactly does Juliette Lewis get her audience? It was a really strange crowd that turned out at the Casbah for Juliette & the Licks, with special guest Vice Versa on Thursday night.
Were these people merely curious to see a movie star fronting a punk band? Were they honest-to-god fans of her overblown stage angst? Maybe fellow Scientologists looking for confirmation of their asinine religion?
And what inspired some of the crowd to go balls out in their admiration for this stuff? So help me God, there was a short, drunker-than-shit guy who had written - in heavy black marker - "I Love Juliette Lewis" on his chest.
"Hey man, check this out!" he yelled to no one in particular, pointing to his chest. "No one else does this! No one else shows their love for Juliette like this!"
"Um, wow, that's pretty cool," I told the guy, who was completely oblivious to sarcasm at this point.
"God damn right it is!" he screamed before walking off, muttering to himself.
Which pretty much set the tone for the rest of the evening.
Uncharacteristically for the Casbah, there were a lot of women dressed for a night of clubbing, guys looking to pick up women dressed for a night of clubbing, and more pseudo-hipsters than I've ever seen in such a small space.
The night was also marked by no less than half a dozen people being kicked out for being drunk and stupid, and even the cops showed up at the end, something I've never seen at the Casbah. I'm not a fan of the cops turning up at shows (I'm still smarting from the beating I took in Huntington Park at a Wasted Youth show back in 1985), but hey, sometimes it's a case of being the lesser of two evils....
The night got off to a lame start with Vice Versa, an Austin bar band who sounded like every other bar band you've had to endure while waiting for the headlining act.
And maybe it's just me, but when the lead singer of a band (a support band, no less) starts hitting up the audience for free drinks before playing a single note, there's something seriously wrong.
"Can someone buy me a drink?" Mr. Pretty Boy Lead Singer asked. "And not a beer either. I need a vodka and tonic."
Hey motherfucker, I paid twelve bucks to get in here - buy your own fucking drinks!
When Juliette Lewis took the stage, the crowd went nuts. Decked out in an outfit likely scored from Cherie Currie's garage sale, she put on an admirable act, which is more than I can say for half the bands I see these days. Jumping, screaming, crowd surfing and throwing off dopey lines like, "This is a revolution! It's called rock and roll!" Lewis pounded out a ten-song, forty-five minute set that included nine originals and a completely unnecessary cover of Van Halen's "Ain't Talking 'Bout Love" as an encore.
It was entertaining, I'll give her that. But as my friend Larry Harmon said to me the next day, "Yeah, but did you want to buy a record or a t-shirt after the show?"