Archive for July, 2009

Announcement

Posted in Blog on July 13, 2009 by trevorgregg

If you are friends / acquaintances with that guy Marco who was at Mo’s party on Saturday night, the 6’5″ 250 lber who got his MONKEY ASS whooped in a drunk pullup contest by yours truly, please let him know I’ll accept my $100 in cash or check form.

-T.

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Shake it up baby now

Posted in Blog on July 8, 2009 by trevorgregg

Music – Dinosaur Jr – Just Like Heaven

Ellie’s cousin Dave is in a band, and we went to see them last night.  I’d never heard of them, which is not that surprising.  I’m not up on what the kids are listening to these days; if it’s not on the Velvet Underground pandora station, I haven’t heard it. But hey I guess these guys are popular.  Popular enough to sell out the Independent at least.

We got there around eight.  I’d never been to an indie show before so I didn’t really know what to expect.  In fact I’d never even heard the band’s songs since the janky ass stereo we… appropriated… from somebody’s party one time won’t even play CDs any more.

So I went in a blank slate.

Holy white people, batman.  An entire venue of short dudes with beards wearing blazers over hoodies.  The guy next to me at the bar still had his little red safety light blinking on his backpack.  Given how tore up they looked, I can only assume the two guys behind me cut their hair themselves, probably in the dark with a kitchen knife.  I saw several guys with rolled up pantlegs, a subtle affectation that lets everyone know they were hip enough to ride their fixies to the indie rock show while the rest of us took the bus.  I’d describe the girls but, making up about 10% of the concert-goer population, I didn’t see enough of them to make any broad generalizations.

Apparently there’s this whole caste of indie hipster that I’d never encountered, a sub-family of the larger Hipster genus that somehow escaped my notice.

This kind of oversight is not unheard of.  A few months ago my buddy Ryan told me that there were two varieties of Cheerios, Regular and Honey Nut.  I didn’t believe him until he showed me the boxes side by side.  I had no fucking idea.  Two kinds of Cheerios? Who knew?

Anyway, as much as I hate fucking hipsters that’s not the point of the story.  We’ve beat that dead horse to a pulp on several occasions.  I will say this for indie nerds: at least they have the courtesy to be short.  At an unimpressive 5’11” I could see the stage, even from the very back.  I felt like Yao Ming at an elementary school.

Moving on.  So we got there, had a few beers with Ellie’s brother, and waited for the opener to start.  While we were milling around with the beardos in front of the stage, Ellie’s aunt spotted us and came down from the VIP balcony to say hi.

Mothers take pride in their sons.  It’s as close to an immutable law as one is likely to find in human nature.  It shouldn’t have surprised me so much, then, that Ellie’s very normal and nice suburbanite aunt was grinning ear to ear, giddy as she discussed the success of her son’s “breakthrough album”.

“I told him, the first time I heard it.  I said Dave, this is going to put you guys on the map.  It’s really that good!”  We all nodded.  “He tells me they’re going to be on David Letterman in a few months! It’s so exciting!”

She went on to talk about how she had walked in one day and heard her son’s album playing at her hair salon.  We all agreed it was very impressive.  The lights dimmed and she went back upstairs, applauding louder than any of the hipsters.

We don’t generally think of rock stars, especially ‘cutting-edge indie’ rock stars as having moms.  Not in the traditional sense.  It’s part of the rock mystique, I suppose, that rather than being raised on pop-tarts and public schooling like the rest of us mere mortals, rock stars just coalesce out of the ether.  They’re avatars of their own talent, not bound by the same mundane thanksgiving-and-christmas obligations as the rest of us.

It’s an illusion of course.  One that’s kind of comforting to shatter.  I’ll bet Ozzy’s mom had a wall full of Sabbath posters and pentagram tshirts in her living room right next to the porcelain angels and graduation photos.  Trent Reznor’s mom probably brags to all her friends at church about how her son made the bigtime.  A mother’s pride lets her overlook little things like her son biting the head off of bats on stage, or writing a hit song with “I want to fuck you like an animal” as the chorus.

——

The opening band came on and played for about forty minutes.  I did my best to set aside my puritanical rock sensibilities and enjoy the show.  Which was hard.  Many of us raised in the nineties on unfiltered Nirvana have an instinctive dislike of this newer, sissier kind of rock.  It’s close enough to good to pique your interest, but then a guy with greasy bangs starts in on a freaky ten-minute keyboard distortion solo and you realize that indie rock is just pop music that’s been bastardized by fat potsmoking wussbags from Portland.  They pick a name like Spacethug or Perhaps It’s Love or some shit, find a drummer named Hirsch on craigslist, buy a bunch of too-small retro t-shirts and proceed to write fifty god damn songs about how painful it is to not be cool.

But hey I’m not one to judge.

If you like indie rock, you’re just exercising your god-given right to have terrible fucking taste.  Our forefathers fought and died for it so you may as well enjoy it. AMERICA!

Wait where was I…

Dave’s band was better.  Thankfully.

Not really my type of music, per se, but the singers can hit notes and it’s obvious that they’re all very technically talented.  They’re a little artsy and esoteric for me, a few too many random tempo changes and dissonant chords.  Still, they weren’t bad.  I looked past certain scenester affectations, things like weird Bjorkish female vocal solos or the fact that Ellie’s left-handed cousin plays a right-handed guitar upside down.  You graduated from Yale with a degree in music, form a nationally-renowned rock band, and can’t afford a fucking left-handed Stratocaster?

C’mon bro.

They also had one song in which there were two girls and a guy each playing guitar.  This is a big no-no.  The only musician in history that’s ever needed three guitars is the immortal Andrew W.K., who rocks so fucking hard that two guitars is simply not enough.  For everybody else, two is the absolute upper limit.  Remember that.

The show was good, all things considered.  They played a long set with few mistakes and a decent amount of variety.  The only real issue was with the sound guy, a guy who fucked up so often I can only assume he was just flipping switches and mashing buttons at random up in his little booth like a kindergartner with a Casio.

It really sounds like they’re on the verge.  Ellie tells me they were on NPR recently… they’re selling out shows, getting good reviews.  Hopefully they do it, hopefully they hit the big time.  And not just so Ellie can be interviewed on Behind The Music when the band breaks up and everyone goes crazy on drugs.

They seem like good kids and, traditionalist rock snobbery aside, I can say without qualification that they definitely suck less than the other new music I’ve heard lately.

And that’s the true secret to success.  It’s like running from a bear; you don’t have to be fast, you just have to be faster than the people around you.