Lets work reverse chronological... counterclockwise if you will.
Last night: Young People/Mahjonng/Gossip. Notes from the show, written on the back of envelope for ACLU donations=
Young People always make me think of Willa Cather. She just has the turn of the century voice, and the music is like a wheat field on fire. Their primalism suggests safari trips and the immutable truth of nature. There is something classic (not rock) about them, their understadedness and that their flair is in the tiny lacy details of the hems of their songs makes every song a song someone wrote while traveling westword on horseback, to a trading out post. It seems like she should be holding a musket, not a drumstick or a bass.
Mahjonng need to work on encorporating Carol into the band better. Clearly the four of them are on the same sabulous brain waves, but, perhaps because she is in Portland half the time, or simply because she got drafted late in the season. As a result, she plays noodley in between the rhythmic breaks. She throws raps into the bridge and is the exclamation point at every sentance. It's discomforting to watch her watching the rest of the band for approvals and nods and signals. First time I have seen Mahjonng in a real hometown club, and there were about 200 people, dancing. I give the band 30 times the credit of any also-run 2nd wave post-2000 discopunk band because the people in Mahjonng are maybe the only real freax in this town and they they look like they have scabies. They look unkempt because they are, not for affectation.They look like they all live in a practice space.
Carol rapped/monotoned new lyrics to a song called "Africa's problems must be recognized", which was about AIDS, epidemic violence and an oil pipeline. She read names of locations of massacres and civil wars off a slip of paper. It made everyone a little nervous, maybe because it was backed by really juicy Konk-ish cowbell break funk from dudes who look like they have mange, and it seemed incongrous -- the audience was clearly not prepared to get some American-portioned guilt with that propulsive bass line. In general, I think all white kids at shows could stand to be nervousized, so more points for Mahjonng.
Before Gossip even launched into a song, some man/boy in the front rows yelled "BETH YOU LOOKING FUCKING INCREDIBLE, YOU LOST SO MUCH WEIGHT, YOU LOOK AWESOME!" apparently, not thinking. Thats not the sort of thing you yell at Beth Ditto, or at a Gossip show where about 67% of the fanbase is big, queer girls, for whom, Beth is thier gender-queer rockstar, who is pro-fat. Beth, who was galled SCREAMED back at him "NO, THAT IS NOT AWESOME. NOT AWESOME. NOT AWESOME. THAT IS SO NOT A COMPLIMENT! LOSING WEIGHT DOES NOT MAKE YOU AWESOME!". The audience went nuts from that point on. Gossip are always great. Not as in better than good, but of a greatness. Watching the audience react to them -- you can watch life being affirmed for marginalized queer kids, girls, dudes, trans-people -- and them grinding, and screaming a long in appreciation.
The night before, after the first installment of the Gossip/Young People 2 night stand, Colin and I took Nathan H. out to a shitty dive bar on Western called The Mutiny. We thought it was Djing, but it bands. And, perfectly enough, the best-worst bands any of us had ever seen, to the degree that nathan wondered aloud if perhaps we had died in an accident, and now were in heaven.
Firecrotch was amidst their last song when we walked in. For about the 12 seconds, we thought it might be kind of... Ani fan and male roomate with accoustic guitar, until the singer suddenly went all David Yow on us, jumped off the chair she was straddling, went into a deep yogic lunge, with her pants open/half off her ass, barking "I LIKE MY TITS! DO YOU LIKE MY TITS?!" and ripping at her clothes until we got an eyefull. The accoustic guitar w/ distortion was similarly angsty and sounded like a dog vomiting a tin can. The dude was super grunge high school 92, the singer, well, she looked like she worked at Old Navy, which solidified the weirdness, because she was so NORMAL.
Nathan and I asked for demo, where we could find mp3s, they had neither. She said they had an email address which she said was "www-dot-com" three times before realizing that was not an email address. Nathan asked what their other songs were called -- the only ones I remember were "Hey, I'm Italian" something about having a boner in the pool. Want them to play yr next Chicago gig: email@example.com
Nathan, always the smart one suggested that "if we could send Firecrotch back in time to have them play a show, it would change the course of history".
Next up were Gitney/The Gitnees? -- female singer looking exactly a young Etta James, wearing a dress that made her look like a Dirty Dancing extra - backed by a dude with a CD player, who played his guitar with what was either a debit card or his drivers liscence. The other guy had some pedals and rack effects or mixer welded to a shopping cart w/o the legs which I think processed the beats from the CD player. The music part was like playing every Prefuse73 song at the exact same time, minus all melody. (Bonus points for simply making a song OVER Ellen Allien's "Sehnsucht".). Vocally... Like Vanity6'/Liquid Sky but more...nonesensical 9th grade erotic.
Nathan described it best as "from sensous to fast abuse". Once the two dudes started singing, with her, in a round, it became "Like Boyz II Men without the cane" and "Electroclash Opry" and suggested that they should be featured on the dollar bill.
The only realy originality is coming from outside the sphere. The only hope for the future is in bands that are never going to be famous and that are lovable primarily for their blindness to convention and audacity. Totally sucking is the only true genius.
Posted by Jessica at February 28, 2004 05:50 PM