The scene was electric outside of Los Angeles' Hollywood & Highland open-air mall on Friday evening. A huge line snaked out into the streets, and much of the crowd looked strikingly similar: gaggles of teenage girls (plus guys, moms, dads, and little ones) in black T-shirts emblazoned with five key words: The Twilight Saga: New Moon.
Awaiting them inside? Autographs and a Q&A with the film's supporting cast, plus courtyard performances from four bands who contributed to New Moon's excellent soundtrack: Band Of Skulls, Sea Wolf, Anya Marina and, to close it out, Death Cab For Cutie.
In other words, this was the Hot Topic-sponsored New Moon mall tour.
One of the first fans to the stage screamed to no one in particular, "Oh my God! This is the coolest thing ever!" And for the crowd that braved the odds to get there camping out at the mall on Halloween eve to buy the shirt that would grant them their entrance it truly seemed to be.
The coolness included Twilight heartthrobs Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner paying a surprise visit.
On stage, opening with their bluesy "I Know What I Am," U.K. three-piece Band Of Skulls burned through a set that ran just shy of 20 minutes and channeled bits of the White Stripes, Black Sabbath, and the Black Keys. An apropos performance of "Hollywood Bowl" prefaced the closing song their garagey New Moon contribution, "Friends," which was met with squeals at an octave previously reserved for the likes of the Beatles.
Indie folk-poppers Sea Wolf followed, delivering a cello-swathed selection of songs whose titles were matched to the event: "You're A Wolf," from 2007's Leaves In The River, "Turn The Dirt Over" and "Wicked Blood," both off of the just-released White Water, White Bloom, and the at once bouncy and autumnal soundtrack piece "The Violet Hour."
Both were impressive, but Anya Marina, whose "Satellite Heart" is one of New Moon's most captivating moments, stole the show. "What's up Hollywood? Are you guys having fun?" the grinning singer asked to a chorus of shrieks. "Well, we want to have fun with you." She meant it.
Marina was the only musician to engage the exuberant crowd at one point leading them in a "Team Jacob" vs. "Team Edward" cheer-off and it paid off. Her ubiquitous hits "Vertigo" and "All The Same To Me" were extremely well-received. Another surprise, mostly lost on the audience, was regular Morrissey collaborator Alain Whyte manning guitar, especially shredding on "Afterparty At Jimmy's."
At the other end of the spectrum, Death Cab For Cutie greeted the incredible mania with zero banter and two songs New Moon single "Meet Me At The Equinox" and Narrow Stairs highlight "Cath..." well-performed, but over far too soon. The band said their thanks, unplugged and walked off.
Before the ensuing melee caused by the rush to see Pattinson and Stewart up close, we asked one fan if she had a favorite band on the soundtrack. "I don't really listen to this kind of music," said Carmina, backed by an army of self-described "Twi-tards." "But I like it now!"
Death Cab For Cutie
"Meet Me On The Equinox"
"All The Same To Me"
"Afterparty At Jimmy's"
"You're A Wolf"
"Turn The Dirt Over"
"The Violet Hour"
Band Of Skulls
"I Know What I Am"
"Death By Diamonds And Pearls"