Los Angeles – Last Friday’s record-release show for Colleen Green’s third full-length record, I Want To Grow Up, was essentially just an enormous punk-rock party – an all-ages event that had the spontaneity and organization of a high-school basement show. There was no green room for this show at Historic Monument 157, as Colleen spent the majority of the opening acts’ sets milling around with the crowd, chatting it up with the friends and fans that had made it out to Lincoln Heights to celebrate the release of her newest record. Between the comedians, opening act Free Weed (who was also celebrating a record release and a birthday), headliner Colleen Green and the ensuing late night party, there is no doubt this was the best event in Los Angeles that night.
Drawing a crowd that ranged from groups of teenage friends to middle-aged couples, Historic Monument 157 provided a most unique music listening experience. This enormous, historically designated Victorian mansion sits slightly out of place among the strip malls and fast-food restaurants of North Broadway, serving as a live-in artist collective, community center and performing arts space. The venue’s huge back patio was a laid-back place for concert-goers to relax, have a drink and enjoy some hand-made grilled cheese before the show got started. And just as a punk-rock house should, a large (but friendly) boxer wandered around the premises, largely ignoring the mass of strangers that had gathered on the back patio.
Colleen Green set up in the intimate living room of Historic Monument 157, giving the crowd the opportunity to be mere feet from the performer. Even though Green has given into higher fidelity and the full-band approach on I Want To Grow Up, she is still performing alone with just her guitar and old-school drum machine. After a few minutes of adjusting the levels on her guitar and drum machine so they were just right, Green launched into the opening chords of “I Want To Grow Up.” Being an album-release show, Green decided it would make the most sense to just play the entirety of her new album in order – something she said she had never done before.
Despite being a little bit under the weather with a cold, Green put on a flawless vocal performance. Being a punk record, I Want To Grow Up is not exactly intended to be a vocalist showcase; however, it is an extremely melodic album that relies on vocal hooks, which Green was able to deliver song after song during her set. The most powerful moment of her set was the transition between “Things That Are Bad For Me (Part 1)” and “Things That Are Bad For Me (Part 2).” Between most of the songs in her set, Green had to crouch down and adjust the drum pattern sequencing – but the break between these two songs was smartly pre- programmed, making for a powerful transition.
With Colleen Green’s star rising and more attention being bestowed upon her after I Want To Grow Up’s release, this may have been one of the last times her fans will be able to see her in such an intimate setting. But with the way Green seems to like to buck convention, perhaps she will continue to play small and unique venues such as Historic Monument 157 in the future. Either way, this was one of the most memorable shows this reviewer has been to in a quite a few years.
Earlier, after comedians Jake Weisman, Kate Berlant and Jonah Ray warmed up the crowd with some solid and sometimes offbeat stand-up material, the first “band” took the stage. Free Weed is the solo project of Erik Gage; best known as the lead singer of Portland’s White Fang, Gage is also a close friend of Colleen Green (Green’s guitar was decorated with letters that spelled out “Happy Birfday Erik,” as he was celebrating turning 26). He performed what could be best described as “karaoke on crack,” singing over dozens of his short songs about drugs, video games and girls.
Colleen Green will be playing a couple of March shows in Southern California before heading overseas for a pair of dates – on in Brighton, United Kingdom and Paris, France. Check her Facebook for ticket information.
Photo of Colleen Green live by Eric Evans