Here, there, everywhere a Chica! (June 2003)
What a month! It's Sunday morning (actually 2 pm ? my morning) I have a queen-size hangover (a very big queen, in Prada ? probably named Roger, stamping around in my brain), and I'm gobbling down leftovers from Montage, pesto mac with chicken, from the night before (actually, that was this morning - a blurry 3:30 am). By the by kids, if you don't have an all-night restaurant in your town that specializes in low-brow atmosphere and cheap mac n' cheese after the city bars close down, open one. You will rake it in, trust me. Drunk people will line up to pay for greasy carbohydrates until the cows come home. Anywho, with all the shows I've been flitting in and out of, there's a lot of good, bad and ugly to fit in here. For liability sake, the names have been changed to protect me from people finding out that I never knew their names in the first place. Shall we continue? It all started late last month (insert flashback sequence music here)...
Yeah Yeah Yeahs @ The Meow Meow
With my date firmly in hand, 'cause otherwise, you know, he'd run away, I climbed the darkly lit stairs of The Meow Meow; a cement bunker located on the second floor of a squat little building in SE P-town. Being the humble big shot that I am, I casually threw my name out to the doorman (we'll call him TOM), not wanting to overwhelm him too much with my celebrity status. Tom played it cool, looking through and past me in a bored manner as if he didn't recognize my illustrious moniker, then checked his list. He finally located the name and stamped my wrist, then proceeded to charge my date (we'll call him RUGGEDLY HANDSOME) for his cover charge! No, no, no, I protested, it's Chica +1, trying to retain my big shot status in front of Ruggedly Handsome (I could see his admiration for me slipping from his eyes). Tom was adamant that I was to receive no second get-in-free card. He kept holding up numerous pieces of paper, with oodles of guests on them, illustrating that he already had too many, as if it were my fault he hadn't made adequate room for my needs. (Sigh) Whatever, I coughed up the admission fee (Ruggedly Handsome is the kind of boy you just gotta pay for), and moved on into the room.
About the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Guess what? Chica Love Love Loves them! The songs are punk-heavy, and simple, and they are so together, and loud, and sexy, and..., and... it was fantastic. Karen O's got a mouth that could swallow half of Brooklyn, and when she opens wide, a blast of tempest fury comes screaming out, crawls down your windpipe and shakes your guts. Ruggedly Handsome and I were blown away. See them, would want to be them.
The Melvins w/Tomahawk @ The Roseland
If you recall my criteria for a good band, (for those of younot paying attention, the criteria is: Are they cute? Did they let me in for free?), you may experience a mild shock to find out that I most hardily dug The Melvins. Because, get this, I DID NOT GET IN FOR FREE. Their publicist (we'll call her BITCH) was all like, "No, you can't get guest listed 'cause I already got an IMWT writer coming to interview the Tomahawks," and I was all like, "Yeah, but that guy blows!" Then she was all like, "I've read your shit, hon. I wouldn't be throwing no glasses at somebody else's stone house," and I was all like,"Huh?" And then she was all like, "Buh-bye," and hung up! And I was so mad, I was all like, kick the cat, kick the cat, kick the cat. Thank you, yes, my toes have healed, and the cat... well, he'll live, but what was left of my pride was deeply wounded, and for the sake of my journalistic integrity, I shall only say this: The Melvins were good. Take that, Bitch!
Tomahawk? Uh... they were okay. My compatriot for the evening, Quiet Wyatt, was all about the Mr. Bungle and Faith No More, and everybody kept telling me how great Mike Patton's voice is. Well, sheesh! If I had 50 vocal effects on my voice I could sing like a mother-fucker too. (Note to self: Get 50 vocal effects. Sing like a mother-fucker.)
Visqueen w/UHF @ The Ash Street
The four lads of UHF (we'll call them UHF), with their ethereal and mind-blowing pop, go down smooth, like a blow-job without that pesky penis sticking down your throat, making you gag during what might otherwise have been a really nice round of "No ? do ME instead!" Their set floats seamlessly between dreamy pop ditties, to meatier, more intricate movements of music. (Pssst. I've been going to college. They taught me how to use adjectives. At least, I think they're adjectives.)
The UHF set finishes and I'm all primed for Visqueen. Kim Warnick, Visqueen's bad-ass bass player and supreme sing-along vocalist, was also a member of one of my favorite bands, The Fastbacks. So, you know, she could of walked on stage, pooped on a monitor, and I would have gone wild. Not that she did that; there was absolutely no poop involved in Visqueen's set of pop-lishis rockmeoffs that came flooding down from their lofty platform. Visqueen's headmistress, Rachel Flotard (ha ha ? tard!), has written hook-laden power-punk-pop tunes, amply backed by Miss Warnick's thicklet bass thumps, and held down by Ben Hooker's (ha ha ? hooker!) rambunctious rack-o-drums. It was big fun in little club land, and I left satiated and oh-so-satisfied.
Pleasure Forever w/Cobra High w/Theory of Ruin @ The Blackbird
Portland, OR, the land where I hail from, has pretty sucky radio stations. There's one good DJ on our "alternative" commercial station, but she don't get much lee-way to play cool new music. There's a college station that has a great couple of hours devoted to new music, but it's AM, hard to get in, and even harder to remember which night that particular show plays. So what do I do? I listen to a lot of internet stations at work to hear new music. Yes, www.Live365.com is my friend during the dull workaday. When I hear a song I really like, I'll pop out of whatever program I'm working in and go to the Live365 window to see who the hell it is. This is how Pleasure Forever became a little yellow sticky on my computer screen, a reminder that they consistently caught me ear. So, imagine my forever pleasure at opening our hometown rag one morning to find out that these guys were playing that night, in my little burg. Not only that, they're local, and throwing their CD release party. Score! I hustled up a date from the corner market (we'll call him IVOR), hustled up an outfit from the dregs of my party clothes (we'll call it HIDEOUS), hustled up some money from my roommate (we'll call him BOYFRIEND), and off I went.
We walked in during Theory of Ruin's set, and, um... gee, they're really LOUD. I mean really LOUD. Ivor and I made "Shall we get a drink?" hand motions to each other, at least that's what I think he was signing, and then went and got us some refreshing beverages. Thinking that I would never get over how fucking LOUD they were, I was shocked to realize by the end of their set, I was only thinking how fucking GOOD they were. The songs begin dark, sticky, quietly menacing, and then an explosion of rage wells out of the players and all hell breaks loose until the strains of the next ode starts up. Well played, boys. Well played.
Cobra High had two songs that rocked my world. I don't know which two; I just know they stood out from the rest of the set, which I found kinda so-so. Ivor was enjoying it even less. But what they hell does he know? He hangs out at the Quickie Mart for christsakes, making money by buying kids beer.
Anyway, I forced him to stay by promising to kill his neighbor for free (long story), told him to plant his ass on a bar stool, and grin like he's digging the shit out of everything about him. This can be difficult to do, 'cause the Blackbird, for all it's cooler-than-thou attitude, is really nothing more than a meat market, ala the discos of the 70's. The hipper the hair, the more annoying the pick-up line will be. It's a snoot factory, where the denizens come to see, be seen, and get laid, rather than roll with the bands. Whatever. Ivor promised not to smack anybody so I left him and moved up closer to the stage to feel the magic.
Okay, Pleasure Forever is really good, but they dropped their enthusiasm off at home. Or maybe they're always a little stiff. I dunno. But for a CD release party, they didn't seem to be enjoying themselves so much. The music is shadowy, a tinge of carnival-goth, with songs allowing so much gorgeous, breathy space that you could transport yourself in-between the sludgy gaps to move on to what you pray is a brighter future. It's rock that's otherworldly and smashingly real all at once. But, I could have gotten the same experience at home from listening to my
downloads full-purchase price CD as I did in the club that night. Ivor apparently felt the same way. As the final song ended, I glanced over to see this Neanderthal passed out in his bar stool, head back, jaw dropped on to his chest, drool sliding ever not-so-seductively down his chin. I vowed right then and there that the next time someone introduces themselves as "Ivor, Mail-Order Bridegroom," to run super super fast in the opposite direction. Didn't see that coming.
Phew! That was a mouthful. Au Renoir for now, my lovelies.
Pissed off about missing your May dose of In Music We Trust? So were we. Shhhh! Don't tell 'em I told you, but it was a big government conspiracy. Remember, darlings, always fight The Man, but praise your Chica here: [email protected]