I got to know my friend Chris Sutton when the band he was in, Dub Narcotic Sound System, was touring with The Make-Up and they all stayed at my house. Was it in 1996 or 1997? I can’t remember, but we’ve kept in touch and I’ve seen him play with plenty of other rad bands since then, including Nudity and Spider & The Webs. And bought plenty of records that feature his contributions: C.O.C.O., Hornet Leg, Dirtbombs, Chain and the Gang, Hooded Hags. But at the moment, he’s playing with The Gossip. What!
So I was stoked to get a message from Chris on Friday afternoon saying that he was in town and asking if I wanted to attend a show in Hollywood. Totally! I was on the other side of the Orange Curtain but made it to The Fonda just in time to hear the opening band finish…
What can I say but The Gossip were as awesome onstage as I hoped. The famously fabulous singer Beth Ditto is supremely confident when she unleashes her stellar voice yet so humble and straightforward in between songs. It was telling when she expressed concern for some unrest in the crowd before citing her Riot Grrrl background/need to settle things before continuing the set and even dedicating a song to Tobi Vail. And while the band was totally tight and heavy, there was a lot of playfulness, too. Beth sprinkled in some Stones (“Under My Thumb”) and Aerosmith (“Rag Doll”) throughout the set before the group actually covered Tina Turner (“What’s Love Got To Do With It”). The crowd as super into it throughout, practically exploding at the end for “Standing In The Way of Control.”
I got to catch up with Chris at the after-party on the roof afterward. I gushed that it was not only rad to see him play such a big, sold-out venue but also hear him on such a pro stage. And then to hear about The Gossip’s upcoming tour of South America and all of his other musical endeavors as well as his painting… Damn. Chris told me that he feels blessed to get to play with the likes of Beth Ditto, Calvin Johnson, Ian Svenonius, Tobi Vail, and Mick Collins, but those opportunities wouldn’t happen if he weren’t such a rad musician and awesome guy to hang out with. Hoping to see him again in L.A. or Portland soon.