El Rincon, 4/29/09

I decided to be an American man tonight. I rode my bike to the rock show.

(I’ll tell you one advantage the foolscap has over the blogpost;  foolscap never crashes. You don’t have to worry about saving your work; it automatically saves as you write.)

The first band was playing as I arrived. They may have had the word “Suns” in their name. Pseudonmeena said that Jackson Browne’s son is in the band. This simultaneously relevant and irrelevant fact makes me think of a YouTube video of Billy Bob Thornton spraying petulant dadaist blather at a Canadian rock journalist. This band was fine; they had a good-time glass-bottle open-road crusin-country vibe. Jammin, Californian, lean, jeans, you said it. Young lady playin tambo. Skyways.

Nodzzz played next. I am genetically, maybe I mean dispositionally, or socially inclined to like this band. This blogggg’s name does the thing with extra consonants that that band also does. Has anyone figured out why we do this? Isn’t there more to it than mere typographical playfulness? I remember Steevee being an early adopter. What does it all mean? It’s a better band name than “Nods.” It playfully forces the sleepy connotations of the word Nod.  “catch some zs”. Well any way folks they totally caught some zs tonight, if zs here refers to catchy and wonderful pogo-friendly live//dead milkmen hits! I think the songs on their myspace page are thirty times more articulate than I am. I love em. The two  dudes caress and bounce their guitars in unison, then say “La la la la la” in unison. Hugely fun.

Next up I wanted to tell you about the next band, the Oh Sees. I’ve listened to their 2006 album The Cool Death of Island Raiders a number of times on my computer. The main guy, John Dwyer, has a lot of stage presence. He was working the door, too, when I came in: “$5… if you got it!” I got the sense that he organized the show, but whaddoo I know, I’m no rock journalist, I’m typing my thoughts before bed. If you meant to visit the Atlantic Monthly‘s blog and arrived here by accident, please click here or you’ll be automatically redirected. If you found this web page from the article in the New York Times about “acid blogging,” welcome! Oh Sees also had a female tambo player. She was impressively in synch with Dwyer vocally. I wanted the drummer to do more fills. There was a lot of  half-noisy guitar wandering, but throughout the drummer kept it straight and in the pocket. I kept expecting and/or wanting the drummer in all the bands (except Jackson Browne’s Sunnzzzz, who were not a punk band?) (And also not including Nodzzz; he’s perfect) to get more florid or fill-heavy or kraut-rockin’, but they all kept it firmly in the punk-rock one-two pocket. Oh Sees drummer had some occasionally random / “arty” crashes, but by and large he was “building” (figurative language) straight mid-tempo punk architecture, locked in tight and bouncy with the phenomenal bass player (wait, was that a regular guitar not a bass?) while Dwyer deepthroated the mic and waved his tattered reverby guitar-shreds over that figurative  structure I just mentioned

Last band was called Mayyors, another band with repeating consonants in their name. Except isn’t y a vowel? Not in this case, boys. Not in this case. The “narrative” created by the progression of bands tonight was a descent into chaos, culminating with Mayyors. Metal hair dude on guitar, beanpole scary punk anti-drummer (just kidding, he was pro-drummer, I just thought “scary punk anti-drummer” sounded cool), awesome “main music guy” guitar player who, like Noddzzz, lovingly and nice-awkwardly held and stroked and bounced his guitar, little swing here, little swing there, looking at it hard, pointedly looking away from it, etc. He seemed talented. Whaddoo I know. Then the lead singer doing all the right insane/arbitrary/scary/weird/cool art-punk-metal lead-singer things: putting on giant headphones for no reason & immediately dancing so hard they fly off; rubbing audience members in performancey/inappropriate/great ways; (dancing/moshing/crowd-surfing fan that kept giving them enthusiastic dancey thumbs-DOWN throughout the show; this “mixed message” felt appropriate to the I’m-pushing-you-because-I-love-you stage-dive “ethos”).

They played fast punk songs that, having been melted down to a hot sludge,  retained all of their speed and angularity.

They ruled!!!