DON’T PLAY IT COOL
Ireland's The Thrills played Portland last night. That's the most creative intro I'm feeling inclined to give them. I'm going toe-to-toe with them on effort, really.
Okay, that's a bit harsh. It was actually a good show. They were louder and more ragged than I'd have expected. Songs like "Your Love Is Like Las Vegas" were filed down, more svelte, quicker and sharper. Someone shaved the twee right off. Though, while lead singer Conor Deasy proved to be a natural, affable front man, his cries of "WE'RE THE FUCKING THRILLS...MAKE SOME FUCKING NOISE" were far from convincing--but almost in an endearingly clueless way. Like the nerd asking the cheerleader to the prom.
Let's be honest. Encores are generally bullshit. They're so contrived, so not spontaneous, they plan them in the set list. They're like tips. They're not actually rewards for good work, they're cursory. I remember early Suede gigs where they'd play a full set and exit, end it right there. The Dandy Warhols often comically sit on the stage and smoke. Those bands had it figured out.
The Thrills had no reason to ever leave the stage. Their main set didn't even reach 45 minutes, and even with the two extra songs, allegedly performed by popular demand, they weren't even close to an hour. I know they have more songs. They didn't play everything off the album (though, to be honest, I was glad no "Hollywood Kids," since that song kind of grates). What about their Smiths or R.E.M. covers? It was a bare bones show, and I don't think they deserved the full pretensions afforded rock bands that actually put in the work.
"Awww...do we really have to get up for this?"
Started reading Brad Meltzer's The Zero Game, and damn if I'm not hooked. He had me completely ensnared by page 50, and that was even before the first of several big twists. Every time my bus approaches my stop, I want the driver to keep going. Excellent premise, too: the lower-level staffers in Congress play a secret game where they bet on each other's ability to manipulate the system. If you know anything about Brad's work, you know the possibilities for it all going wrong he's going to be able to wring out of that. Looks like another taut Meltzer thriller. (And those who may recall my 7/06 entry on point-of-view and how it used Meltzer's The Millionaires as an example--he really plays a trick with narrative voie in this one that ends up blind-siding the reader. In a good way, of course.)
I am alternating my "light" books now with a heavy one, Growing Up With Audrey Hepburn by Rachel Moseley. It's a dense critical study of Hepburn's films and her image's impact on British women across the generations. I have barely cracked it, and I have to admit, it's a bit heady for me. I'm not used to reading such intensely critical work. It's about as difficult as the Susan Sontag book I was dabbling in last summer. I see it as a challenge, though. I want to stretch the parts of my feeble brain that does this kind of work. (Both Moseley and Sontag's books were gift from braniac McQuain. He pities my stupidity, methinks.)
Unrelated, I dabbled in some unfamiliar writing territory polishing up the bio for the band Audio Learning Center, who I am friends with. They weren't happy with what they had, so I took a crack at it. Not my usual thing, but interesting. Not sure how much they'll use. Similarly, I’m pretty proud of this Blue Monday press release. A nice bit of fluff. And I'm procrastinating starting my new Tokyopop project. Can you tell?
Current Soundtrack: Starsailor, Silence Is Easy