Sons of an Illustrious Father, Teragram Ballroom in L.A., June 27, 2019

That beautiful photo of Sons of an Illustrious Father from the June 19, 2019 issue of Vogue Mexico has been making me happy all week.  These busy musicians are in the middle of an insane touring schedule and I had the bliss and privilege of seeing them play in Los Angeles tonight at the Teragram Ballroom.  It’s joyous to see performers beam at one another adoringly, mid-song.

I have fingers crossed that the band will release lyrics soon for the two new songs from tonight’s set.  One of them had Miller on lead vocals and instrumentals that sounded like they had been developed by all three band members in collaboration.  The other might have been, I think, a post-breakup song with Larson on lead.  From what I could tell of the lyrics, there was a temperate note to them, self-possessed but not angry.  I look forward to hearing them both again.

The crowd greeted the band’s cover of “Don’t Cha” with glee.  The revelation of that performance was that Larson is an underrated treasure on keyboards.  There is apparently nothing that this musician can’t do.

It’s a good time to be a Josh Aubin fan.  The man was aglow.  Literally, with glitter on his cheekbones, and pewter lipstick.  The hair right now is longish with a swoon-worthy flop.  All eyes were on his dancing, so light-footed that he appeared almost to float a few inches above the floor.

They ended the set with “Crystal Tomes,” which sounded more knowing this year, more at peace, not as anguished as last year.  It was so good to see artists who are at the top of their creative game together.  At one point, watching them, I thought about projects I’m working on and exciting collaborations I’m fortunate enough to be part of — their performance reminded me that this is the best of being human, what makes us a beautiful species.

Thank you to the musicians for making me feel like my blood is rich with inspiration now.  Looking forward to seeing them perform again in Philadelphia next month.

For Pride: “Don’t Cha” covered by Sons of an Illustrious Father

Happy Pride month.  Want to see something that feels really queer? Not rainbow-themed platitudes from otherwise anti-gay corporations, but the kind of nervy, wary seductiveness that makes you think of lipstick and riots?

Sons of an Illustrious Father’s cover of “Don’t Cha” by the Pussycat Dolls dares you to look, to desire but not approach — unless you’re willing to join. If you’re just going to watch, and you’re not sure how you feel or why you can’t tear your eyes away, then be warned. The longer you stand there, undecided, the riskier this becomes. Maybe vines will grow around your feet and you won’t notice until it’s too late.

Just kidding. It’s only a music video. Go ahead and watch it. Nothing will happen to you.

Band member Lilah Larson told Another Man magazine that they thought up the cover and video in response to “ostensibly hetero couples, who were sort of uncomfortably ogling the frolicking queers – including us – in a way that belied their envy and lust.” There’s danger when they look at you like that and you see in their gaze that they don’t know if they find you beautiful or if they might attack you because they find their own desire repellent.

In such moments, you glow twice as beautiful, ten times as beautiful, and there’s a knowing smirk that goes with this power. It’s in the last shot of this video, at the 5-minute mark. Take a look.

And listen to the song. There’s a hypnotic hook that band member Ezra Miller calls, in an ecstatic bit of wordplay, “the descending catatonic scale.” The melding of music and madness in that description is a rapture in itself.

Happy Pride.

Sons of an Illustrious Father is currently on tour.