"Holy Christ they packed a lot of you in here!"
And with those ironically appropriate words, Aimee Mann welcomed the crowd and the show was off and running. I have to say, this was one of the most unique and most enjoyable shows I have ever been lucky enough to see.
It was a freewheeling affair that kept rolling at a super quick pace and never, even for a second, got anything close to dull. The format of the show was like that of an old time radio variety hour...think a holiday themed, much hipper 'Prairie Home companion.' Aimee was on stage and playing most off the night, mostly Christmas tunes...a mix of old classics and her original stuff from her Xmas album released last year.
The evening was sort of tied together with a brilliant three segment short film that Mann put together. The premise of the short was Aimee's struggling to find celebrities to come to the El Rey for the big Hollywood edition of the Christmas show. Some classic cameos by Ben Stiller, Will Farrell, Patton Oswalt, Bob Oedenkirk and many many more. Comedian and sort of emcee Paul F Tompkins did a killer 20 minutes or so of stand up as well.
Guests including Amos Lee, Nellie McKay, Jackson Browne, and Grant Lee Phillips each came out for a couple of songs each. The highlights for me where the incredibly charming Nellie McKay singing 'Feminists Have No Sense Of Humor' and Jackson Browne's
amazing version of Steve Earle's 'Jerusalem'...but noting topped Amos Lee singing a heartbreaking rendition of John Prine's 'Christmas In Jail.'
Who knew live Christmas music could be SO much fun!