Monday, April 14, 2008

Who killed the music?

Whoa. Ok. So before my organs shut down, I need to recap what the hell just happened to me. This past week, starting last Friday, has been so saturated with music, sweating, dancing and fist pumping. So much to the point that I need to document it all here to remember it. I estimate the hours of music witnessed live to outweigh the hours I've spent doing anything normal - eating (slices of pizza on the way to a show), sleeping (only in the cab on the way home) and showering (I don't think bathing in other people's sweat counts as a shower). Here goes...

Last Friday was pretty innocent actually. I stayed local, opting to head down the street from my house to drink with some friends at an Eastern European bar. After a couple, the Croatians I was with decided to lie to the DJ, telling him it was my birthday (it wasn't) and that I was from Wisconsin (I'm not). Once he heard this, the DJ killed the Croatian "gypsy" techno he had been playing all night, and dominated the system with AC/DC, "Come on Eileen", and Guns and Roses. It was friggin' hilarious and they got me out of there before I could request "Walking in Memphis".

walk with me...

Actually, thats all pretty unrelated, but I need to document it as The Beginning. I wouldn't call it foreshadowing, but the music that night provided a bit of scale to measure the rest of the week by.

Now, the shows:

Saturday - edIT at Low End Theory - Knitting Factory - 11 pm.

If you haven't heard edIT by now I highly recommend it. He's part of a crew called the Glitch Mob, and he puts together ridiculously over the top beats that sound like if Prefuse 73 and Swizz Beats had a kid who only listens to club rap...or something. just listen, and watch for the hook... 2 minutes, 31 seconds in.

edIT - Battling GoGo Yubari in Downtown LA

It was here that I had the second of my "hey that's too much awesome in one place!!" moments. The first was when Daft Punk had the audacity to put "Around the World" and "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" into the same song. edIT, the sly little bastard, had the nerve to put the a capella from Roots Manuva's UK classic "Witness (One Hope)" over his own "Certified Air Raid Material". Again, the high concentration of awesome in that one moment should be illegal, it had Anthony and Myself clutching each other and jumping up and down like Walter and Perry from 'Home Movies'. If I could somehow find a copy of edIT's show I would definitely put it up here, but for now, just enjoy the tracks separately (the Manuva video is fucking hilarious).

edIT - Certified Air Raid Material

The night ended with Ant and I giddily beating the shit out of each other in the cab. Yes, edIT was so good it turned us gay.

Monday went to recovery and further domination in Super Smash Brothers.

Tuesday - Hot Chip and Matthew Dear - The Music Hall of Williamsburg (I hate typing that) - 8 pm.

I was dead sober for this one, as I was trying a new system: Healthy week, unhealthy weekend. Give it a shot sometime, I'm convinced that I would be dead right now if I didn't do this.

Matthew Dear opened, and as I have been really liking the album, I only have one complaint - the songs don't really go anywhere. They carry a pretty cool arc and then kind of just peter out...which is OK I guess, but it wasn't all that amazing live.

Then there was Hot Chip. They have come a long damn way since the first time I saw them. Back then, they still had a drummer, and their live shows were upbeat but still pretty hastily thrown together...Now though, they have become an absolute beast live. Every song is so tightly put together, formulated to squeeze as much quality into every moment. There's no drummer now, and they have no problem turning every song into a thumping anthem.

The peak from their new single "One Pure Thought"

Miles and I left that show realizing that we may not see Hot Chip in a small venue like that for quite some time. Their sold out Terminal 5 show was on the horizon, after that, The Garden, after that, The Moon.

Thursday - Paul Simon and friends - Brooklyn Academy of Music - 8 pm

This was a weird one. Paul Simon is playing a residency at BAM right now, doing different sets of music. The one I went to was called "Under African Skies" and consisted of a lot of tracks from Graceland. I'm a big fan of this album (especially Call Me Al) but the real reason I went was to see David Byrne, who was billed to perform a few songs with Paul. David Byrne is really one of my personal idols...discovering the Talking Heads was like hearing my own heartbeat for the first time. Cheesy as that is, their music and themes were instantly familiar to me, and I love them enough to pay 60 dollars to see their principal member sing two songs with Paul Simon. It was worth every last cent.

Paul Simon was barely there actually, it wasn't until 4 songs into the show that he took the stage to do "Gumboots" off of Graceland. He would sing a song, and then fall back impishly to play guitar lightly while someone else sang his songs. To be honest it was a bit of a rip-off until the amazingly white-haired David Byrne took the stage.

This was the third of my "whoa, too much awesome in place" moments. He did "Call me Al" personal karaoke standard, that I know every word to, was sung by one of my personal musical heroes. He brought the fucking house down. It doesn't translate too well to video, but a once sleepy crowd jumped (or hobbled) to their feet, in love with Byrne's odd phrasing of one of the most credible 80's pop songs ever. The only way it would have been better is if Chevy Chase showed up to play the bass solo.


Underwhelming as the rest of it was, I left happy and stunned.

Friday Double Feature - Man Man/Yeasayer at Brooklyn Masonic Temple/Devin the Dude at Studio B - 8 pm/12:30 am

This was when the machine broke down...

You pay hard for this lifestyle. My tiny sniffle after Paul Simon developed into a full blown fever and flu. Awesome. I didn't let it stop me though. We got to the Brooklyn Masonic Temple mighty early to catch the opener (Coyote) while slamming bottle after bottle of water. Actually, the only memorable thing about their set was watching a woman on the upper level fall on her face near the edge of the balcony, spilling an entire beer onto everyone below. Hilarious.

Yeasayer was pretty cool, and almost measures up to the hype. They were a lot more psychedelic than I thought they would be, and I actually gave one of their songs my undivided attention.

Man Man though, Jesus. I know there is a lot of hype around their live show, which Ant wouldn't shut up about (he loves them):

"They are going to cannibalize us"
"Man Man is going to be life changing"
"This will be a watershed right here, man"

And a bunch of other hyperbole. Luckily for him, they lived up to it. I don't know too many of their songs, but I can appreciate the fact that they sound like a junkyard tearing itself apart in a bar on a 3 year whiskey and heartbreak bender. Good stuff.

takes a minute to get going, but its worth it

Sweaty and gross, still sick, and sober, we hopped a cab to Studio B to see our man Devin the Dude, who ranks right up next to David Byrne as one of the greatest of all time. Yeah I said it.

We got there to see Prince Paul playing a DJ set called, "Every Good Rap Song Ever Made, Ever." A friend of mine works for Devin's label, so we got a shot at going adventure that fell apart at the seams. We weren't back there long before the Polish manager came running into the room screaming and swearing in Polish, telling us to "get the fuck out of 'dis room, NOW!". Apparently she was pissed that a bunch of rap cats were smoking weed...which was confusing, being that Studio B has hosted the likes of RZA and a whole shitload of other weedhead rappers. She even kicked Devin out...of his own dressing room.

Anyway, we stayed in the main room, waiting for Devin to take the stage. This is the weird thing - all of his songs are the most laid back, blunted pieces of music in the world. Yet, when he does them live, they are still as engaging as any other kind of music. It's a bizarre phenomenon, but SO entertaining. He did the classics - "Lacville 79", "Doobie Ashtray", the song about pooping, "Do What the Fuck You Wanna Do", and the religion forming "Anythang".

Kind of a weird promo for the show

After the show, we went backstage again, and got to smoke weed with Devin the Dude. Now, I rarely smoke weed, hardly ever, but I had the opportunity to smoke with Devin the Dude...thats like playing hockey with Gretzky, meditating with Gandhi, or...eating a python with Booker T. Alright, so we didn't have a session or anything, but here's how it went down...

(Standing around backstage, bullshitting, drinking)
Devin (pounds all around): Alright, I'm out
All: See you later want to hit this blunt?
Devin: A little dab'll do ya (giggles, hits it three times and leaves)

A little dab'll do The point is, we smoked with Devin the Dude (technically) and I will not let anyone forget that, ever. Never ever.

We ended our night with an ill-advised trip to the bar in my neighborhood at 4 am. We're smart people.

Devin the Dude (ft. Andre, Snoop) - What a Job

Saturday - Hot Chip - Terminal 5 - 8 pm

I wish this was the end of it all, but wasn't. We made it there early to see the opener, Free Blood. Terrible. We opted instead to sit in the back, talk shit, and drink overpriced beer. My insides were liquefied and I was ready to drop, and Ant was ready to lose it. We were crashing hard, I lost feeling in most of my limbs, and I was breaking into cold sweats. I dropped the beer and stuck with the water, ready to see Hot Chip do their thing.

Terminal 5 is huge, and they played accordingly. The setlist was the same as Tuesday night, but the energy was not. They killed it, and the show was brilliant, but man...and I feel bad for saying this, the fans in the crowd were a bunch of idiots. Maybe I was just crabby, but constantly getting knocked around by drunk girls trying unsuccessfully to push their way to their front while getting beer spilled all over me threatened to ruin everything. Luckily the music was fuckin awesome.

"Over and Over"

"Ready for the Floor"

I can't believe I am still writing this. I've sweat through 3 shirts and forgot my own name about an hour ago...

After that, we went to a birthday party, came home, and fucking died. I woke up sometime around 830 pm yesterday, confused about everything that had just happened. Was it real? I don't know...I don't have any actual visual evidence that I went to any of these shows, but my body and mind is telling me it happened. So much music. I don't deserve a medal, but I should at least get a "participation" trophy and a kick in the nuts.

So now, I am going to cry in the shower. Its Ant's birthday tonight, I'll be the guy drinking OJ out of the carton at the bar.

Have a great day.

1 comment:

Ryan West said...

Just listened to Walking in Memphis the whole way through for the first time since I was in 8th grade. Surreal.