Abe Vigoda, Lord Huron and Gamble House drop by the Singing Cowboy’s place for an indie rock shootout


The most startling revelation about Thursday night’s show at the Autry Museum was how apparently few of the hip kids know where the Autry Museum is. For the record, the house that “The Singing Cowboy” built is right across the parking lot from the L.A. Zoo in Griffith Park. And although none of the bands covered the legendary performer’s signature hit “Back in the Saddle Again” – no, not that “Back in the Saddle Again” – the trio of indie-rock acts did host a pretty good hoedown.

The modest turnout (several people I talked to weren’t familiar with the Autry, which is poised to follow other local institutions such as the Natural History Museum and the Hammer Museum into the business of presenting indie music) got pretty good value for $10, even if the sound mustered by headliners Abe Vigoda was swallowed up a bit in the vertical, echo-y atrium where the stage was erected. The space’s natural reverb suited Lord Huron perfectly – Ben Schneider and bandmates, accompanied by the Calder Quartet, played a sweeping set of tropical-flavored folk music that stole the show, highlighted at the finish when vocalist Morgan Kibby (White Sea/M83) joined the ensemble for “When Will I See You Again.”

L.A. quartet Gamble House, too, benefited from the acoustics during its set of orchestral pop, played out in front of a mural depicting scenes and characters from the Old West.

Not unlike other local museum shows, the vibe was relaxed. Parking was plentiful, drinks reasonable, and some of the Autry’s exhibitions were open for perusal – cool if you like to re-enact the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, are fascinated by Old West memorabilia or Native American artifacts, or simply imagine yourself at the controls of a Gatling gun mowing down chillwave bands.

The Autry has hosted shows before – John Doe was a recent headliner, and Justin Townes Earle is on the schedule in February – but not quite for the demographic targeted by Thursday’s show. I suspect more such shows are the museum’s future.