The Hollywood Forever Cemetery is a staple in the Los Angeles community. Not only can you go visit the final resting spots of some of Hollywood’s most famous stars and founders, you can also catch a movie there at a Cinespia event, attend a holiday festival, or catch a show either outdoors or indoors at the Masonic Lodge. Here’s the thing, as popular as the Hollywood Forever Cemetery is, I admittedly had never been. So when I heard Manchester Orchestra was going to be playing there I jumped at the opportunity to cover it. Let me tell you all about it.
I was stoked all freaking day. I figured the Masonic Lodge was towards the front of the cemetery, and it was. What I didn’t know was that you should probably get there early, especially now that it’s getting darker sooner. I pulled into the Hollywood Forever gate a bit before 8 PM and I asked the attendant where the free parking was. He stated that anywhere down the road on the right side was fair game. I began to drive down the unlit road (totally feeling like I was in a Supernatural episode by the way) when I noticed the graves were super close to the curb and that there wasn’t any available parking. I drove what seemed like half a mile until I found the end of the road. Of course, I’d find parking at the end of the road. Of course, the road would be super dark. Of course, it’d be oddly cold. Of course. But what if I hit a grave? What if the music I’m playing is disrespectful to the spirits at rest? What if I really heard that thing I thought I heard but convinced myself otherwise? If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m a total pansy. Luckily, I noticed a car behind me so I was relieved that at least I wouldn’t have to walk back to the lodge by myself. I began grabbing my camera, ID, ear plugs, etc when I noticed the folks in the car had already left. I locked my car and tried to catch up to them. You know, close enough where I felt accompanied but far enough away so that I wasn’t creepy. Eventually these lovely ladies asked if I wanted to walk with them to which I replied with a relieved, “please.” They laughed and we made our way back to the entrance while one of them insisted on taking selfies with the graves. I was too afraid of seeing something show up in the photo to do it. They kept laughing at what I was saying so at least I provided them with some entertainment. We finally made it to the lodge and went inside.
The Masonic Lodge is up a flight of stairs and down a hallway. A small but beautiful space. There were chairs in the middle of the room and bench seating on the sides, some upstairs seats as well. I got there just in time for Manchester Orchestra. The band stepped on stage and began playing songs off of HOPE. HOPE recorded is beautiful but HOPE live in such an intimate setting is breathtaking. The crowd was kind and attentive. It seemed that we were all mesmerized by Andy Hull’s voice to even attempt to sing along. The instruments were all brilliantly played. It honestly felt like we were all in a trance. Eventually Andy Hull’s brilliant stage banter woke us up a bit. He commended the crowd for not being rude. The worst we had was a song request and Hull sang him a line from it. He mentioned that at the show they played previously somebody mentioned a penis and how happy he was that no one had mentioned anything like that to which Robert McDowell told Hull, “you’re the worst person here.” The room laughed. After they went into some of their older hits including, “Colly Strings,” “Sleeper 1972,” and “Where Have You Been?” among others. All stripped down of course.
Seeing Manchester Orchestra at the Masonic Lodge was an incredible experience. It made me appreciate the band more than I already did. I didn’t see a single speaker and it still sounded incredible. I even stopped taking photos after the first song because I felt the sound of my shutter was rude. The whole night (paranoia included) was perfect. If you get the chance to see this tour or the band make sure you don’t pass it up. Dates are here.
A huge thanks to the ladies that let me walk with them and an even bigger thanks to Joshua at Rey Bee for making this happen.