Maya Rudolph & Gretchen Lieberum are Princess

I’m not really one for tribute bands. There’s this group Peace Frog who does a pretty solid tribute to The Doors every Sunday here in Venice, which I love because Jim Morrison and that era kind of define Venice and deserve to be honoured as such. But overall, most tribute bands are washed up impersonators, in my humble opinion.

Then one day I heard that Maya Rudolph had a Prince tribute band that was set to play two back-to-back shows at the Troubadour. All former notions aside, there’s no way I could resist this show. I have loved Prince since Purple Rain single-handedly forced me into puberty and Maya Rudolph is a comedic goddess, not to mention the Troub is my favorite LA venue. Worst-case scenario, it would be good for a laugh and a bit of a boogie, right?

Princess is a dynamic duo made up of two devoted Prince fans – Maya Rudolph and her best friend, jazz vocalist Gretchen Lieberum. Throw in a kickass backup band and some pseudo backup dancers who present her majesties with the appropriate stage props and accessories, and you’ve got a tribute show sure the melt any Prince fan into a pool of purple goo. Words eaten. All hail the tribute band!

Sure, the show has a comedic element to it. But it was clear from the second the ladies stepped on stage to open with Let’s Go Crazy – Rudolph donning a lace blindfold, no less – that we were dealing with legit Prince fans.

I’ve only seen his majesty live once. It was a sold-out stadium show in Vancouver, BC in 2013. Prince played for nearly 3 hours…and when the house lights came on, he kept going, despite his stage being torn down around him. The man is unstoppable!

I wasn’t sure how Prince would feel about Princess, but it turns out he’s a fan according to this interview Rudolph gave for LA Weekly upon meeting her idol.

“It was like the gates of heaven opening,” Rudolph says. “Gretchen and I got to meet him the last time he played in town. And he gave us both these big, nice hugs, and he said that he had our performance on Jimmy Fallon recorded on his DVR.” (side note: the backwards bit is kind of epic)

I’ve seen a lot of incredible live shows in LA this year, but I can’t say I had more fun than I did at the Princess show. If you’re in San Francisco in January, they’re playing SF Sketchfest.

princess-troubadour

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Live Music in LA

When we decided to set up shop in Los Angeles, we narrowed it down to two of our favorite neighbourhoods: Venice and West Hollywood. Venice for the artsy, hippie, bohemian, and inspired beach bum lifestyle. WeHo for the energy, excitement, grit and garish atmosphere.

When I tell people in Venice that we nearly landed in Hollywood, they cringe and question how we could ever consider living somewhere as loud and busy as WeHo. Truth is, I’ve got it bad for the gigs. Live music is what made me fall in love with LA, and most of our favorite venues happen to sit in the shadows of the Hollywood Hills.

My groupie tendencies and love of music are what inspired the name of this blog, actually. Sure, LA is famous for the film industry and I’m equally as passionate about that art form. But the bands that were formed here and the music that is inspired by this crazy town seduce me to no end.

Los Angeles is a relentless temptress. Being the nine-to-fiver that I am, it’s hard to hit the town on school nights, but I can’t help myself. Once I’m there breathing in the stench of LA’s late night underbelly, it’s hard to get me home. I realize that doesn’t sound too enticing, but I’m telling you, this city has pheromones.

Over the past several months, my husband (fellow groupie) and I started keeping track of our favorite venues and began listing all the places we want to go next. So far, I’d have to say the Troubadour is my favorite and my husband is partial to the Greek but here’s our ever-expanding list and what we’ve scratched off so far:

Hollywood Bowl
Greek Theatre
The Fonda Theater
Hollywood Palladium
El Rey Theatre
The Echo
Teragram Ballroom
Whisky a-Go-Go
Hotel Café
Roxy Theatre
Trip
The Del Monte Speakeasy
The Orpheum
Basement Tavern
Grammy Museum
Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever
The Observatory
The Forum
Troubadour
Echoplex
The Getty
The Mint
The Viper Room
The Shrine
House of Blues – Sunset Strip (now closed)
Club Nokia
Santa Monica Pier
The Regent Theater
The Theatre at Ace Hotel
Pappy & Harriet’s
Bootleg Theater
The Wiltern
Belasco Theater

Before catching a show at the Whisky last week, we had dinner at the Rainbow Bar & Grill. Although I’m about 50 years too late to the party, the place still had an eerie vibe to it and apparently hasn’t changed much over the past several decades. While we were there, hiding in a corner table surrounded by gold records and other precious memorabilia, an older gentleman began telling patrons stories about the old days. How Sinatra would sit and chain smoke and drink for hours with his friends and how Zeppelin would receive blowjobs under the tables from forthcoming groupies. He also shared the “true story” of how Marilyn Monroe, another star who frequented the place, was murdered by the US government and how the hit man who carried out the deed was brutally murdered somewhere in Florida to abolish all evidence. Thank god some of these people are still around to tell these torrid tales.

I love this list of the 50 best music venues in LA from LA Weekly, which has become our cultural bible since moving here.

What am I missing? Is there another music venue I need to add to my list?

hollywood-bowl

whisky-a-go-go

the-greek-theatre

del-monte-speakeasy

rainbow-bar-&-grill

the-mint

HOB-sunset

the-la-forum

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