Love Grenades Blow Up Bardot

Story and Photos By: Markus Eliance

View all of Markus’ Love Grenades photos here.

When I first arrived at the entrance of the club, I could feel the energy. I was early (apparently an uncommon practice as I would soon learn), and as the bouncers led me through the side alley entrance and up the stairs, the air of exclusivity was upon me. This is the Hollywood the Love Grenades were coming to turn upside down.

With an audience full of derby hats and ironic t-shirts, stylish blondes with pouty lips, and wannabe scenesters drinking imported beer, I waited patiently for the band to arrive. I waded through the crowd in the dance hall to the main room, where the DJ was spinning breakbeats and grooveable dance tracks. Out of nowhere, Smokey Robinson’s “Tracks of My Tears” pops out of the speaker. This night is becoming more unpredictable by the minute.

As the minutes go by, I got bold and snuck a seat into the roped-off VIP booth, dead-center with the stage area. I invited a trio of girls to sit with me — two brunettes, and a blonde sporting one of the aforementioned derby hats. The blonde is from Boston, and chats with me about girls in gun clubs (at the mention of the magazine I work for.) During this small talk, one of the brunettes goes to light her cigarette in the candle on the table; she leaned in seductively to take a drag, and at that moment, accidentally set her hair on fire. Luckily, I moved quickly and lightly grabbed the flaming strands, extinguishing it with my bare hand. Her friends screamed in a mix of shock and embarrassment, but the brunette simply laughed it off with, “I know who’s getting a haircut tomorrow.” She gave me a kiss and dragged her two companions to the bathroom (probably for damage assessment).

Finally, after two hours have passed, the stage lighting activates, swirling flashes of green, red, and squad car-blue. When Elizabeth Wight, the lead singer, belts out the first few notes of “City Lights”, I was taken aback by the sudden wave of musical energy that rushed through the room. I moved closer in to the stage, sitting cross-legged on the floor. It felt like the band was playing in my bedroom. The seating arrangement is so close, that the lead singer took the opportunity to sit in a few laps and pit dive into the crowd. How much more intimate can you get?

The audience was absolutely enthralled with her, as she pranced barefoot across the room. The band’s turntablist coolly sipped at his beer in between mixing, and the guitarist, Corey, turned every note he played into a vibrating harmony with Elizabeth’s breathy voice. With a pitch that easily rivals any of today’s female pop vocalists, she oozes a raw talent that bolsters the sound of each track. It’s like the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s had made a baby with Daft Punk in a disco hall bathroom.

In the middle of the set, Elizabeth pauses the show to ask for a drink. At least three male audience members struggle to make a break for the bar. She cries through the mike, “Vodka and Cranberry! And some water, too.” The whole room feels like a group a friends reuniting after years of being apart. It was that carefree spirit that got everyone in the house grooving like there was no tomorrow. The band blazed through a six-song set, and ended it with an encore of their song “Young Lovers.”

I highly recommend you check out the track at their MySpace, as well as the video. I left Bardot that night with a new song stuck in my head, and the remnants of that energy trailing behind me.

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