at Café Largo
His name is Chilly Gonzalez (nee’ Jason Beck). He comes out on stage dressed in a robe and slippers, looking like a mechanic from the used car lot down the street next to Norm’s. But sitting at his piano, he begins the night with three back to back classical pieces of his own composition that leave the audience breathless. Truly a virtuoso on the instrument, he earns the self-imposed title of ‘The Musical Genius.’
But then, he pulls the microphone up to his face, and he begins to talk. He is an incredibly engaging entertainer, discussing politics, sex, and his huge ego. He’s never two or three words away from discussing how amazing he thinks he is, how he has Jarvis Cocker on speed dial on his telephone, or how he’s just finished making a film ‘with no government help at all.’ After a bit of audience discourse, he throws down a few more songs, this time mixing his classical pieces with a more pop bent and actually rapping. He raps, he sings, he does a bit of everything.
After some comedic discussions on more of the above, he invites a ‘very special guest’ onstage. This very special guest happens to be Leslie Feist, who was performing the night before at the Hollywood Bowl. There are jokes about how Ed Droste, lead singer of Grizzly Bear (with whom Feist was singing at the Bowl), has made Feist sign a contract stating she wouldn’t perform anywhere else in Los Angeles for a week prior or a week after the Bowl gig. Or are they jokes? This reporter really isn’t sure. However, suddenly, after advising us to go on Twitter and tell the world to #LetFeistSing!, Chilly gets a telegram onstage from Droste in his hotel room at the Marmont, stating it’s ‘cool’ for her to perform.
So then we are treated to several songs with the ultra-adorable Feist on lead vocals, as well as playing the recorder. They’ve been collaborating together for a very long time, and their camaraderie and chemistry is clear. Even after she leaves to thunderous applause, she keeps popping back out on stage to sing a couple words or background vocals. And let’s not even get into the crowd surfing. OK, let’s. Chilly leaps from the stage and the front row barely holds him up. He comes dipping and diving back nearly to my row, but there’s no one on either side of me, except my date, and she looks at me as if to say ‘I’m sure as hell not going to hold him up.’ But at the last minute, he is swept back up to the front. Then Feist races out and she leaps into the crowd. Unfortunately, she doesn’t make it back to me.
And so, after pimping his new iPad (and score from the accompanying commercial now showing everywhere), he goes into a rant about something or other. Not important. Oh yes, the arrangement of The Police’s ‘King Of Pain,’ which he’s currently playing with his feet. He then says ‘You’ll never get it’ and throws the microphone down with disgust, trumping off stage to much applause.
Chilly’s new album Ivory Tower is out now on Arts & Crafts, and it’s a trip, well worth picking up.