Henry Rollins - live in Los Angeles (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Henry Rollins

live in Los Angeles (2005)

live show

It's been more than 2 years since Henry Rollins last did a show in LA, and even more so since he'd last done a spoken word show here. So, needless to say, I had been looking forward to this for some time. The show was to take place at a small guitar shop called McCabes in Santa Monica at both 8 PM and 10 PM, both Friday and Saturday nights. If the name sounds familiar, it's because it is, as Henry recorded a spoken word album way back in 1992 at McCabes, and to the best of my knowledge this would be his first time back there since.

To start things off, I arrived at the strangely quiet streets of Santa Monica at about 5:30 PM, determined to get a good seat. After a couple hours of waiting, a small line gathered and soon we were let inside; I had tickets for both shows so I came early to solidify my seating. We were motioned through the store to a back room area, no bigger than someone's garage, which was the "theatre." I immediately thought "fuck yeah," as I got a seat about 4 inches from the small stage, not thinking about how strained my neck would be after 5 hours.

Anyway, after a very short waiting period, Henry came bolting down the stairs like a hyperactive child and went into one of the best shows I have ever seen. His enthusiasm was apparent and he seemed to be in a good mood; I knew it was going to be a great night. In no particular order, I will describe the evening's stories and political rants.

Henry had recently returned from a 7-day train ride across the entire Northern portion of Russia, and he had some new stories to tell, along with some old ones. His description of an overzealous, grouchy old cleaning woman on the train was priceless. She would walk into his room at all hours of the night and start cleaning and yelling in Russian. Due to the language barrier, a humorous chat between her and Henry about the train's meals began, with her using animal sounds and hand motions to describe the different options. Henry, of course, responded with similar animal sounds and motions before finally motioning for the fish after dismissing beef and poultry. Other memorable tales include Henry's acount of a Persian cab driver named Ijaz who got Henry's number (and never called) and some very well-informed conservative bashing. Henry seems not only to have a serious hatred for George W. Bush, but for Fox News anchor Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly as well, which was great.

The two shows lasted a total of 5 hours combined, with a few repeats, but I should've expected that for going to back-to-back shows. I left feeling that Henry is at his spoken word peak right now, utilizing both valid information and hilarious observations, and he's still as angry as ever. Here's to hoping he's still got some new music up his sleeve.