Locals: Sam Rothstein at Double Happiness

Erica Thompson

“I went to LA and I took some Ls,” Sam Rothstein raps at the onset of “Blade Runner,” just as the swollen bass erupts on the track. The song opens the Sad Los Angeles EP, which the Columbus MC dropped in July to chronicle a trip to the Golden State that went awry.

“It was a torrential downpour the entire time,” Rothstein said during an early-November phone interview. “And then basically every show I had lined up, some major problem occurred with it.”

The first concert, scheduled in Long Beach, was canceled minutes after it began due to a group of patrons — many underage — “bum-rushing” the venue. “And then [at] the second show, the promoter had lied about some stuff and he put me on way earlier than I was told,” Rothstein said.

You can hear the thread of frustration and disillusion throughout the EP, especially on “Dreaming in a Locked Room,” on which Rothstein raps, “I used to tell myself I wanted this, I needed this. … She asked me if I still believe this shit, I plead the fifth.”

“To be perfectly honest with you, I have that moment probably once a month,” Rothstein said of wavering in his pursuit of a career in music, especially when measuring himself against other artists. And losing money on plane tickets and unsold merchandise during the California trip brought those familiar doubts to mind.

“But any time I have those types of thoughts … I just usually try to book myself a show,” he said. “I can go and get onstage and rap and then I forget all about it.”

Rothstein's next performance will be a live album recording on Saturday, Nov. 11, at Double Happiness. The concert was scheduled to be the venue's last before closing its doors at the end of the month, but additional shows will take place Nov. 24-27, according to owner Yalan Papillons.

“I always just felt [Double Happiness] was a spot for weirdos, and I consider myself one,” said Rothstein, who played his first Columbus gig at the venue in 2014 before moving to the city from his home in Lancaster. “I always felt at home there.”

Double Happiness

9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11

482 S. Front St., Brewery District


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