Nakano Theatre, Torrance CA

Feb 3rd-6th 2011
Los Angeles Area

PANTHELION is back from a long weekend in the LA area including 2 awesome shows Friday & Saturday night at the George Nakano Theatre in Torrance, CA. There were so many highlights from the trip, some really touching and others just ridiculously hilarious its hard to know where to start. I guess the beginning...

We arrived in Hollywood Thursday night to relax and catch up with our old friend, actor ZHUBIN RAHBAR before heading down to Torrance the next afternoon. Of course within a half hour of our arrival there is a knock at the front door and to my surprise a beautiful young lady we will call "Ms. N" stands before me requesting the attention of our vary own Mr. CHAZZ ALLEY. Nice as she seamed, I couldn't help feeling a bit nervous as Ms. N stood there smiling while waiting for CHAZZ to collect his luggage. I replayed the story in my mind CHAZZ had told me about the first time he had met this girl up in Oakland a few weeks prior. The colorful story also included a 2 day jail stay for our good friend, trumpeter DOUG ELLINGTON due to some bogus traffic incident involving CHAZZ & Ms. N, which needless to say was the main source of my apprehension towards this sweet young girl. I almost wanted to suggest to CHAZZ he ought to have a quick drink with the girl and stay with us the night in Hollywood... perhaps even get some rest for the weekend ahead. But I figured, far be it for me to be the voice of reason. That's JEFF BORDES' job and after all, even he was off wining & dining with one of LA's top chefs that night. So, off went CHAZZ & Ms. N and the rest of us went out on the town in search of orange juice and sunflower seeds...

Torrance. Okay now I thought we were going down to LA to do a couple of shows at this theatre with a Japanese name, turns out we went thru some crazy geographical warp and ended up in a full-on Japanese suburb of Tokyo. The Torrence Cultural Center for the Arts put us up at a very nice Japanese Business Hotel called the Miyako Hybrid. Now, I have been to Japan several times and I gotta say aside from the larger scale of, well just about everything, this little community was an exact Las Vegas replica of the Tokyo hotel experience. If you don't know what I am talking about, just refer to the fancy electronics on the side panel of that toilet. Well that was all fine & well, but I was most excited about the Japanese bullet-train station inspired mall next door where I was able to promptly fill up on tuna fish donuts from the little bakery inside. YuM! LAXMAN DRIVAS who is a life long vegan was less excited than I about the food selection in the mall. He sadly opted for pack of dried seaweed and a bag of salty dried pickled plums.

The real business. The shows at the Nakano were awesome! What a fun theatre!! The Nakano is the Black Box theatre of the Torrance Arts complex. They set up the room with about 50-60 4-person cocktail tables. This makes for a super intimate experience, but because of their full-scale lighting and dimmer rig you still get that good'ol showbiz feel to the concerts. The audiences were excellent. The Nakano caters mostly to older patrons which, not surprisingly turned out to be a real treat for us. It was an amazing feeling to receive the appreciation and encouragement of folks who really take the time to listen, understand and ask questions about the music.

Of course, there was one beautiful young lady in attendance Friday night that blew us all away! Ms. THEA AUSTIN from the group SNAP came to check us out. THEA is so nice and sweet and humble. THEA blessed us with her presence after the show back at the hotel for sushi and drinks and we all tore it up! I deny ever having so much fun. Just when we thought things couldn't get any lighter Mr. CHAZZ ALLEY and that trouble making Ms. N show up downstairs at the sushi bar wearing nothing but the hotels complimentary bath robes and slippers while sippin' on gin & juice that they had brought down from CHAZZ' room. The sushi chef tried to remind CHAZZ in his broken English that this was Torrance, not Long Beach. But other than ordering another several rounds of sake bombs and soft shell crab rolls, we paid him no mind.

Thank you THEA, thank you ZHUBIN, thank you Miyako Hybrid Hotel, thank you Torrance Cultural Center for the Arts & most of all THANK YOU to all of you who came and supported the PANTHELION performances on Friday & Saturday night. We had an amazing time and look forward to the next opportunity to come back to play in Torrance!

photos by Ariana Perez

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