April 17, 2007

Oakland’s Street To Nowhere covers Leonard Cohen

Last Tuesday I saw Street To Nowhere again, opening for Rocky Votolato. Turns out this was kind of the third time I saw them because they opened for that awesome Format show I was at last year at the Cervantes. But I was either late or not paying attention that night, so my loss. They put on a really good set this time around, showing more of their “singer-songwriter” side due to the nature of the following acts, and less of the Weezer-meets-Bright-Eyes rock. Drummer Joey still broke both snare drum and drumstick by song #3, a foreseeable mishap if you were watching the pounding he was giving to those bad boys. Sweet.

In any case, one of the songs that STN included in their set was a surprising Leonard Cohen cover of Chelsea Hotel #2 (I mean, what are the kids covering nowadays from Cohen other than Hallelujah?). After the show, leadman Dave Smallen told me that at the above-mentioned Denver show last year they were kind of off, partly because Dave’s entire extended family was there to distract him. I asked if he was embarrassed or otherwise discomfited by singing Cohen’s lyrics about “giving me head on the unmade bed” in front of his mom and family. He just shrugged — and tells me that his cool mom is actually the one who introduced him to the music of Leonard Cohen. Props to Dave’s mom. My mom introduced me to hippie folk and countless lullabies with three-part harmonies, but no Cohen.

Chelsea Hotel #2 (Leonard Cohen cover) – Street To Nowhere

This version was recorded in bassist Bryce Freeman’s basement in Oakland. And a word of correction: In my previous post, Dave says I called him a 17-year-old. Ladies, let it be noted that he is actually 22.

Check out their album Charmingly Awkward, out now on Capitol. All the kids love it, ’twas selling like hotcakes at the show last week. And look who wrote something nice about them way back when. Chris posted “Boxcars Boxcars Boxcars” [listen], but they did a smashing job on this one Tuesday night, a real crowd-pleaser that’s fun to sing along with:

Tipsy – Street To Nowhere

And completely random side note, but don’t you wish every club you went to had one of these pinball machines?

The King sits there brooding, giving his blessing over your music scene as you feed him quarters.


  • Hi,
    the link to Chelsea hotel #2 isn’t working, I’d still love to hear that song. Can something be done about it? Great post, as always, cheers mate.

    Anonymous — April 18, 2007 @ 12:29 am

  • Okay, it’s fixed now. Thanks for the heads-up, I think it’s worth a listen. Marvelous lyrics Leonard penned there.

    heather — April 18, 2007 @ 8:12 am

  • Man, I need that pinball machine in a way I didn’t know I needed it … until I saw it here. I may need it more than I need a velvet Elvis at this point.

    Dainon — April 18, 2007 @ 1:11 pm

  • Just think of all the awesomeness. If you come visit Colorado Springs sometime, I’ll take you to The Black Sheep to try it out. Bring some quarters.

    heather — April 18, 2007 @ 1:13 pm

  • funny thing but a club up here in London, ON, Canada has an elvis pinball machine. not sure if it the exact same one but i thought it was of note to pass along

    Pinball — April 18, 2007 @ 1:47 pm

  • I always found that Cohen lyric a bit sordid. The bed should definitely be made, most uncouth to have an unmade bed.

    Yon — April 19, 2007 @ 1:49 pm

  • This comment has been removed because it linked to malicious content. Learn more.

    Anonymous — June 9, 2007 @ 3:58 am

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

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