Well, we survived Doomsday.
I pulled into valet at The Rainbow, taking the last spot available. After dropping by the Key Club to catch Bonded By Blood and Midnight with some friends, I traipsed down the Strip in my goth Barbie attire to an entirely different, yet equally as familiar scene: Camp Freddy‘s annual holiday Roxy residency.
I was directed to a VIP table, but after a brief visit upstairs, I decided that I didn’t feel like watching from there, so I went down into the crowd with the normal folk. Camp Freddy draws a strange crowd; it’s a special occasion show that brings out many fresh faces to see Los Angeles’ most-loved house band. And amidst The Roxy’s intimate, curtain-cloaked ambiance, it promises a one of a kind show that can only exist during the holidays in Hollywood.
The curtain lifts to the familiar rhythmic beats of Bauhaus’ “Bela Lugosi’s Dead”. It’s always surreal to see such big rock stars on a small stage. Dave Navarro, Donovan Leitch, Billy Morrison, Chris Chaney, and Matt Sorum; these are guys that are used to the roars of crowds of thousands. From where I was standing, I could see the faces of the crowd light up like Christmas trees with excitement. Considering my mood and attire, hearing one of the most goth songs of all time was the perfect way to begin the evening.
Onto a more rock ‘n’ roll version of Flock of Seagulls’ “I Ran (So Far Away)”, which took a more serious tone for me that night, everyone was singing along. Morrison took on singing duties for “Vasoline” and “Holidays in the Sun”; I had never seen him in the role of frontman before and he really impressed.
Camp Freddy is as much about the special guests as it is about the house band, and the first guest of the night, besides honorary house band member Steve Stevens, was Tom Morello. As he played “Ghost of Tom Joad” dedicated to Joe Strummer on the 10 year anniversary of his death, I basked in fond memories of the 2009 Jane’s Addiction/Nine Inch Nails/Street Sweeper Social Club tour. After this song, Morello introduced the next song by saying that pre-Rage Against the Machine, he had to play a Jane’s song in front of Jane’s Addiction, and that it was a nerve-wracking experience. Tonight, that moment would come full circle, as Navarro would have to play a RATM song in front of him. Launching into “Killing in the Name Of”, it was very cool to watch Morello sit by the speaker with his drink in hand and watch on as Mark McGrath joined for this performance. At the end of the set, Morello and Navarro shared a moment of approval. McGrath would go on to perform Beastie Boys’ “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)”.
Then, the mood would change as Linda Perry joined for two amazing Zeppelin songs: “Heartbreaker” and “Living Loving Maid”. Once upon a time, someone told me “Heartbreaker” was the perfect rock ‘n’ roll song because it rhythmically mirrors fucking. I find that statement so hilarious. I think it was at this point when I started to feel like this collection of covers for this night’s setlist really reflected my year. Then, Lana Del Rey joined for Oasis’ “Wonderwall”. Sometimes, I think she may make me feel more goth than Bauhaus.
Next would come a strange moment, meaning that…I’m not sure how I felt about it. Fred Durst was introduced to the stage, and he performed “You Really Got Me” and “Sweet Emotion”. I was admittedly a huge Limp Bizkit fan in high school, but the song choice here left me really confused. Then, some words were exchanged on stage- not sure what happened- and that’s when they launched into “Nookie”.
I think I went into shock.
Perhaps Doomsday did occur and I was currently witnessing this concert I had always hoped would welcome me into the afterlife….only the setlist had gone slightly askew to things that haunted my past. I watched on as the crowd ate it up and Durst made his way into the crowd and stood on the VIP railing. What made it even weirder was listening to the lyrics to “Nookie” made extreme sense in the context of my life right now. You know that you need to do some damage control on your life when you catch yourself seriously listening to the lyrics of “Nookie”.
And then, a golden god emerged from backstage, also known as Zakk Wylde. I had just watched a movie with Wylde the other day. To end the show with “Voodoo Child”, “Man in the Box” – which was truly incredible as a Chains fan to hear him do that song, and “War Pigs”…even though some lyrics got flubbed…wrapped up a year of shows for me in a big black bow.
Excellent YouTube footage (not mine):
The confetti explosion at the finale signaled the end of Hollywood’s most rockin’ holiday party. In a year where I have been the biggest Scrooge yet, I left the show remembering that I don’t need a holiday to celebrate. Music is my one true love, and here in Hollywood, I can celebrate that on any night of the week.