A personal diary keeping people abreast of what I am working on writing-wise.

Friday, March 21, 2003


I expected at least one of my concerts to be cancelled this weekend. But it looks for Erasure and Supergrass are just ending their tours, so they are over here and unless protests turn into apocalyptic riots, we should be safe. (Idlewild, who play Portland on the 3/29, start their tour tonight…so I imagine that could be in jeopardy.)

Which, apparently there was some real craziness in Portland last night. Of the three bridges I could have taken over the river from the office to the show, I apparently picked the right one. I looked down Grand and saw some flashing lights, so I jumped on the Hawthorne Bridge—the proper choice since protesters closed down the others. I had no idea. It always seems weird to me that the protests end up disrupting traffic and things. I mean, I understand that it’s because there is a mass of people in the street, and I also understand these people want to be heard—but what I don’t understand is the logic of stopping people from getting home in order to try to convince them of your message. Human nature being what it is, you’re more likely going to turn people against you by inconveniencing them. And yes, you can tell me all you want how much more inconvenient it is to have bombs dropped on you, but I’m talking human nature being what it is. Which is imperfect.

I only saw one protester myself. As I passed, I tried to read his sign, but it was too complicated. Three small lines leading to one big punchline—but I forget the punchline because I was too busy trying to read the other lines which was impossible on a drive-by. Again, unclear of the concept. When all you have is a couple of seconds to catch someone with your slogan, making it complicated seems to be counterproductive.

The gig itself was interesting. It looked to be empty at first, but eventually, there was a decent turnout.

The Music were quite fantastic. They were what I expected—pretentious and ridiculous, but super tight and delivering the goods. The band had it together and made a big, big noise. I imagine without the constraints of an opening slot they’d be prone to unending jamming, but all that was in check here. They remind me of early Verve and the druggy Black Crowes, and maybe a little bit of, dare I say, Kula Shaker (who were insanely stupid, but had some good choons). There is a gloriously fun over-the-top sincerity to The Music. I mean, consider that name. You can imagine the band meeting. “Dude, you know, it’s really all about the music. The music is what’s important. So that’s what we should be called. The Music.” I can’t believe that it took this long for some band to name themselves that.

The lead singer was wacky. His dancing was quite spastic. He actually danced like a rave kid, with lots of swirling hands and shuffling feet. To be honest, he’s a damn fine dancer, but his unbridled passion for it of course puts him up to ridicule to tittering college girls who like to mimic his movements and pretend like they are so much cooler—when we all know if they danced the way they really dance when out at the clubs, they’d look like balloons full of strawberry jelly hooked to a ceiling fan. (Our lesson for today: The only thing I learned in college is that college students are idiots. I am sorry if I am offending any college students reading this, but trust me, one day you will look back and think, “Dear Lord, I was an idiot. And so was everyone else.” The harder thing is realizing that while you’re in college. But then my dad always made fun of me by saying, “It must be hard walking through life knowing you’re smarter than everyone else.” I’d always reply to the affirmative. He also suggested I should have a hat that says, “You’re messing with me,” after one of my many stories that contained the line, “They didn’t know who they were messing with.” My dad had me pretty well sussed, until the day when I was 17 that he turned and looked at me and said, “You’re a bigger asshole than I ever hoped to be.” That was the day the student surpassed the master…but that’s another story and this is already a long parenthetical statement.)

The other scary dancing phenomena, since I am swimming in cruelty this morning, are the old people. I’m talking the ones even older than me. No longer old enough to know better, but old enough to forget they should know. You’ve seen them. They’ve been hanging at the bar and then suddenly the music grabs their loins. Usually it’s the woman that feels it, and the man ends up following because, well, he’s balding and overweight and won’t do anything to fuck up his chances at getting some after the show. They come running out of the bar, barreling through the crowd, annoying everyone. They ultimately settle in a spot that is kind of open, but not quite. Like, there is just enough room, and once the guy starts doing his fists in the air jumpy dance and the woman starts swiveling her hips, thinking all the while I am still young and I can grind!, the people around them have to move out of the way unless they get the old sweat on them and become infected.

And I say all that with the full knowledge that I am rapidly approaching the point where college girls will look at me at a show and say, “What the hell is that guy doing here? Who does he think he’s fooling?” I’m overweight and olding, but my hair is still thick, and frankly, I don’t give a good fuck.

Okay, The Vines

Wow. If ever a band lived up to their live reputation. If the guy in The Music was stoned out of his mind and loving it, the dude in The Vines was drunk off his ass and showing it. How fucking awful. Everything seemed to be played at half-tempo. Even “Highly Evolved,” which I don’t even think is three minutes long, which is supposed to be punchy and full of energy, sounded like the tape machine was running out of batteries. I wanted to hang on, prayed for an early “Get Free,” but it wasn’t getting better. We thought they’d pull it out, as “Outtathaway” started off pretty good, but it fell apart as it went. The following song started with an acoustic guitar, and James and I were out of there. I think we lasted five or six numbers, and it was awful. The singer was all over the place, practically delivering each line with a different vocal style. He’s cute, but not cute enough.

And yes, I know a lot of you want to give me shit for liking The Vines in the first place, but you guys are usually Hives fans and so you can just crawl away and die. At least I don’t make The Vines out to be anything more than crap with a couple good singles; Hives fans act like they are the return of genius, playing the same number twenty times in under an hour. Yippy. I bow to your overwhelming hipness.

Current Soundtrack: Massive Attack, Blue Lines


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