Sunday, February 10, 2008

Old is the new new

Caught Tommy Jay's set at Carabar last night, and it was gorgeous. Just beautiful. His band consisted of a woman on backing vocals and conga drums, another woman (apparently Mike Rep's ladyfriend) on vocals, a lead guitar, a pedal steel player, and Mike Rep himself providing (exceptionally good) Casio bass lines and other keyboard ornamentation. They also brought up another friend, a short chunky woman with closely cropped gray hair and wearing a spangled bird mask, to provide backup crowing and cawing on a song. All the participants looked incredibly happy to be onstage and added a positive sheen to Tommy Jay's mysterious and melancholic tunes. The loving connection between old friends playing music together was palpable. I absolutely have nothing cynical to say about this. It was great. I have to say on my 30th birthday it was also quite inspirational. I can only hope to be that weird and wonderful and committed to kicking out the jams 15 years down the line.

Unfortunately the crowd dissipated during Mors Ontologica ... and I have to say that personally it was a supreme test of will to stay the entire length of their set ... but it was worth it because then Necropolis came out and kicked my ass, as they always do. It doesn't matter how many people are in the crowd, they always bring the ruckus. They played all the latest hits from their recent string of 7"s tight and fast without stopping for breath. Plus the sound was good so you could hear Emily's keyboards coming through loud and clear, which is the icing on their spazzy punk cake. I was so excited I threw a beer can at Bo, but now I feel kind of bad about that. I'm sure he understands.

It was a great night, kinda like seeing the punk-rock torch getting passed from one generation to the next. For better or for worse, Columbus honors its elders.

Monday, February 04, 2008

SHITGAZE Superbowl

This is the last time I'm ever going to use the "s" word, since that joke is wearing thin already, but since Saturday's show at Bourbon St. featured two Titans of Shitgaze--the NME-approved Tyvek and the me-approved Guinea Worms--going head to head for the shit-fi crown, I guess it's OK one last time.

I missed Blind Shake, who is apparently Michael Yonkers' backing band? Guess I'll catch 'em next time ... kind of curious ... got there in time to see Guinea Worms finish a rendition of their ode to collegiate fashion, "Drunk in Yr Uggs" ("drunk in yr uggs, walkin' slow for the thugs/nothing on yr thighs, except for my eyes") then launch into the Official Party Anthem of 2008 (sez me), "Box of Records." This song is evil. Since the chorus repeats at least 10 times througout the course of the song, and since the melody is retard-simple, you will be tortured by Will Foster's reedy voice wailing "there's really nothing better, there's really nothing better" in your head over and over again for days after one listen. It's been on repeat in my skull for weeks now, to the point where I might as well not even buy the 7", but I probably will cuz I guess that's kind of like downloading. Maybe someday we will be able to download songs directly to a chip in our brains. Whoa! Such was the hottness of their set that the Worms were actually looking--and my opinion was corroborated by a female friend--pretty hot themselves. Who says shitgaze can't be sexy???

Despite rampant hype and having played in Cbus at least 3 or 4 times in as many years, I had yet to experience Tyvek live. Rampant hype almost always = bitter disappoinment, but Tyvek proved to be hype-worthy and then some. For the first few songs I remained unmoved and I thought I'd been had by the Internet/record-nerd cabal--AGAIN--and then about halfway through their set something clicked and they became riveting and life-affirming. "Don't take away my air conditioner/it'll make it hard for me to sleep" singer Kevin begs, and you have the feeling he really needs that air conditioner. Like it might be the last thing standing between his sanity and a shooting spree at a fast-food establishment. Portraits of everyday despair against a clanging guitar backdrop and skeletal drums (reminds me vaguely of Mick Collin's post-Gories project Blacktop). Rock n roll bread n butter.

Wish I had more good things to say about Birthday Suits; I like 'em live just fine, but I don't ever feel a need to hear them on record. They're fantastically explosive onstage but the songs don't stick. They work so hard, though, I really want to root for them. Someone recommend something, a 7" or something, that will change my mind.