The Nautilist's Ball
This was awesome! I'm sure you're getting really tired of hearing that from me right
about now, but you can skip past it if you don't want to read it.
"Gentleman, this fallen angel is the illegitimate daughter of art and science."
The Edison is a visual wonderland filled with artifacts from the building's heyday
when it served power to the Los Angeles area and decorated in a fashion reminiscent
of when the twentieth century was merely a baby among the centuries. Can you see
those high back chairs and ottomans upholstered in leather and a fine dark lacquer?
Good. Now, add an element of the fantastic, old Edison electric lamps and bulbs
turned down low for a warm, amber light.
The street level entrance includes a gated area when men and women can smoke and
relax while the rest of the club remains smoke free. I was greeted by a lady who played a rip saw with the bow of a violin
sounds were both haunting and melodious. Even at this first level of the Edison,
the lighting is mostly indirect. Our musician here had two small lamps that provided
warm light and high contrast shadows that only added to the mystique of her performance.
Join me while we walk down the impressive stair case from the street level to the
subterranean area that makes up the bulk of the club.
The colors are muted; industrial steel, polished copper and brass. Glass vials suspended
from wrought iron trees filled with pale blue and green liquids. Plasma discs embedded
into the doors of the old coal fired boilers, hint at the power generation found
in the building. Behind glass, old work conduits still run under the city streets.
Projectors throw images from an independent films and silent movies of old while
televisions gives us glimpses into stories that lend themselves well to steam punk.
An old brick walled furnace has been converted into a sitting room, lit with electric
glow of Edison's candles, and an organ from the late nineteenth century adorns the
"A modern marvel of engineering; clockworks elevated to the very natural process
which even now sends your blood racing. Your eyes flash at such irreproachable beauty."
The space is large and the ceiling is high as evidenced by the three flights of
stairs to reach the main club floor. The space is used very efficiently, proving
to be well laid out, providing nooks and crannies that littler the space, making
this cavernous space small and intimate. In corner of the space stands an old movie
project ready to light the screen with its celluloid images of old. Green potted
plants accent the deep, rich reds that surround them.
"Walls of iron, bolted with steel, two miles high should hide how we feel."
The troupe Lucent Dossier provide the entertainment if you didn't wish to stand
in the throng of people listening to the music or if the band was taking a break.
The troupe was sometimes funny, sometimes quite serious, but they were always fascinating
and would occasionally drag member of the audience into the act, including me, camera
and all. Gypsy belly dancers, clockwork girls that dispensed cotton candy from her
breasts while gliding through the space, a very accomplished aerialist that performed
some of the most amazing work I've seen in a long time. Scenes played out to music
and dance, telling stories of abstract struggles and sometimes just for the art
of it. There was even a girl a red sleeper, her hair in pig tails who was scared
and would cling to people to help "save her" from this mad house, though she was
never without her stuffed bunny, "Bear."
"We're a crew of drunken pirates. We're the only airship pirates."
The stage was high enough off the ground that the band, Abney Park, could be seen
from almost any angel, well, except for when Daniel kept hiding behind one of the
plants on stage. This area was probably my only real area of disappointment with
the space. The plants on the stage limited visibility and seemed to be not quite
big enough for five people. On top of that, like all of the club venues I've been
to, a precious few as it has been, the stage lighting was hit or miss. Frequently,
Nathaniel was shrouded in darkness, standing on stage right like he normally does.
Down stage center, however, was beautifully lit and each of them shined when they
reached that coveted spot. The problem lessoned somewhat with the addition of an
another riser to the stage area that shared the same light that downstage center
did. I would hazard a guess that these venues tend not to refocus the lights when
different live acts come in.
"It was just for kicks, but I'm afraid the gig is up."
Robert and the band were in their usual entertaining form. Robert's smooth and rich
voice lead the band through their numbers. Nathaniel's expert violin and guitar
work stands in its own voice. Finn's backing vocals and on stage dance work hits
all of the right notes as a balance to Robert. Daniel continues to show us just
what he can do with his electric bass. Kristina shows us just why her work is key
to the sound and the experience we have come to expect and love from the band. Excellent
music and a lot of self deprecating humor provided the bookends between the songs,
which included at least three new songs from the next disc. One of those new songs
didn't really stick well with me, but the one that "not really ready for this show"
was really fun and I like it a lot. It had a good beat and made moving the body
easier. It appeared that it was loaded up by Kristina as an executive decision.
The audience seemed to thoroughly approve of her decision making skills. I did not
catch the song names, I don't think their names were mentioned, but I would love
"Sacrilege, but you keep on dancing. Heretic, you spin round and round."
When you combine all of the elements from the evening, the event was truly amazing.
While I will not likely do it again for any number of reasons, I am very fortunate
to have experienced it and do not regret it in the slightest.
More photos from the Nautilist's Ball