Plastic Has Memory
was a band
that Milla Jovovich
created in 1998. They did several shows, and Milla
changed her style completely from her previous work (The Divine Comedy album
), which was more artsy-folksy. Fortunately for me, I was living in California
when she began to play a few short concerts
. I was able to attend one of her shows at Luna Park
, a nifty club
in West Hollywood
. I bought a minidisc recorder
and an amplified microphone
to get the bootleg
. To my knowledge, it is the only bootleg of Plastic Has Memory, which has since dropped the name and is in reorganization.
I met and talked to Milla for a bit, and I wrote a concert review for my friend Colin, who runs a Milla Jovovich fan website (http://www.millaj.com/). The odd thing is it ended up getting reprinted on four other websites who didn't have permission to copy it (and one schmuck added his byline to the story). A certified letter with a nice legal notice solved that problem.
I'm appending the review I wrote below. Please note that I am a rabid Milla fan (and I have the most wonderful wife in the world... she puts up with autographed pictures, posters and music without complaint. She bought me a nice 4-foot by 5-foot poster too!). I was filled with caffeine and my head was still buzzing when I wrote it.
I went to see Milla this last Thursday, June 24th 1998 at LunaPark in West Hollywood, CA. To summarize the set into one word: Wow! I left San Diego early to get there in time, since the show was slated to start at 10p.m. (and I had to drive 160 miles in SD/LA traffic). I actually arrived at nine, and when I went to the entrance, I was told, "Oh, she just started her set." Needless to say, I was quite annoyed, since I brought along some audio recording gear. The venue was a small back portion of a club with a stage along one wall and tables arranged in a U-shape around the rest of the walls. I didn't bring a camera because I figured the audio recording was more important, and I didn't want to get booted by the bouncer. Overall, the club was intimate and cozy, but not noted for acoustic qualities.
Milla was singing a slower tune, accompanied by a guitarist, a bass player and a drummer. A keyboardist joined them on stage for two numbers. She was wearing black slacks, a pleated shirt and a smart black suit-top. She was stunning, and I'd like to say that if you can see or meet her, you should take the opportunity. All the myriad of pictures that are posted do not do her justice. Pictures cannot capture the energy, the little giggle behind the smile, or the presence that she commands.
I shuffled off to set up the recorder, and found a good node with less people chatting and no echoing. This area turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The bouncer/manager kept standing next to me because there was a door to a smoking area (the club was non-smoking). I began recording, and I captured about 15 minutes of audio. The set ended, and they started kicking the folks out. I asked one of the waitresses if Milla was returning, and she said yes, but after 10. I talked to the bouncer, told him I travelled from San Diego through traffic to see Milla, and he said it was OK to stay for the next set.
Milla's first set was played to a small crowd, I'd guess about 75 people. Partway through one of her songs, her guitar audio quit, but she kept on going with the band not missing a beat. Very professional, particularly for a newly-formed band. Her vocals were right on, but the club atmosphere and acoustics tended to muffle them. She has quite a vocal range, and I can say that she does not have a 'studio' voice that only sounds great after processing. It's sonic gold right out of the box. She also plays a mean guitar, which looked like a Fender or Ibanez-clone, yellow in colour. She was quite the performer.
After the first set was completed, I began replacing the disc so I'd have a fresh one (and in case it was confiscated, I'd have SOME audio). I look up and there she was, walking towards me. Turns out she needed a smoke, and popped out the door next to me. When she re-entered, I chatted with her. She's working on new material for an album. She didn't say when an album would be forthcoming, though. I shook her hand, thanked her for all of her hard work, and blurted through the 'how wonderful you are' speech that's ingrained into every male's genetic code. She was very charming (that breathy 'Thank you' will remain in my brain forevermore), and she had the most amazing smile, even though she was unhappy with the first set. She continued on to backstage, and the new crowd began to trickle in.
Crowd was the operative word. There were easily twice as many people for the last (advertised) set. There were many strange folks in attendance, including one older gent who introduced himself as an Isreali spy with a Russian accent. Actually, there were many folks for the second set who spoke Russian. Odd costumes were the norm, and I looked unusual dressed in 'normal' clothes.
The curtains opened, and the response was extremely enthusiastic. She was clearly pleased with the larger crowd. She progressed through the same set of songs, but with more verve and vibrancy. The second set was clearly the best, and the crowd applauded and cheered after every song. The new tunes are very different from her other albums. They're more towards the harder rock/etherealistic genre. Portishead and Cocteau Twins are what popped into mind first when thinking of the style. Personally, I like the new direction, which may lead towards more actual airtime on alternative radio stations when it comes out. The vocals are polished, the songs are well written, and it's not predictable. This should prove to be a bitchin album when it finally gets pressed.
Now, the question that you all have...How can you get copies of the audio? Well, fear not! I am going to do a bit of work on them, clean them up, break them into songs and give them to Colin so he may post them on his site for your listening pleasure. I'll also have full versions available as a long concert (which will be marked set 1 and 2), in case you don't want the songs broken up individually. Now, don't expect perfect soundboard quality. I did my best, and it will give you an idea of the new music. I scanned through it quickly, and it appears to be pretty good for a bootleg. Please don't send me any emails asking for copies... wait until Colin has them posted. I expect to have them to Colin in MP3 format either Monday or Tuesday.
In conclusion, it was worth the trip. The sets were short, but there was some great music packed into that short time. Oh, and she did mention that she was playing at another venue on the 16th (of July, I assume). I'll work on my friend to see if I can get the digital camcorder for that one ;)
I did go to that second concert with another friend (Yurei), and we each had minidisc players at the ready. Unfortunately, the concert was cancelled literally at the last minute because her drummer quit (which really sucks, since I play drums. Grrrr...)