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  Happy St. Stupid's Day!

31 March 2001

7:19 PM: Well, almost.

This has certainly been a few days of diverse cultural experience. First, the show Thursday at Bottom of the Hill. Opening was Mono Pause, who were great and fun in that weird kind of way that I really miss. Like when the lead singer held up some kind of frightening sailor-suited boy doll and mimed it singing the song, "Why did you create me? / What made you think I want to be alive?" Or the whole band "speaking" to the crowd in a disturbing way, until you realized that the reason they suddenly looked like a badly-dubbed film was that the voices were all coming from a synth somewhere. "From up here, you all look like little puppets." "You will be replaced!" I wish I had gotten there earlier to have not missed even five minutes.

I was feeling particularly nostalgic for this kind of East Bay craziness because Lana had sent me a link earlier about Live From The Afterworld - Recordings at the Afterworld Lounge 1991-1993, compiled by Lexa Walsh, who used to book the Afterworld Lounge at the Heinz Club in downtown Oakland, and who was in Toychestra, the second band Thursday night. Heinz was where I re-connected to music - it's where I first saw all my local fave rave bands: Three Day Stubble, Thinking Fellers, Fibulator, Little My, Eskimo, Pluto, Rova, it just goes on and on. I would go there at least three or four times a week. Never had to bother particularly with looking at a schedule; you could just go and every band would have at least one really good song. Plus it was small and not Clubby or filled with dorks. I miss it so.

And there it was for sale! The record, not the club. A double vinyl album - now I have to get a new sound card for sure. This helped make me a bit more forgiving of Toychestra, an all-gal group playing exclusively toy instruments. It's one of those things that sound fun in theory. They were all really cute and dressed up crazy and fun to watch, but the actual performance, well it went on a wee bit too long. Though there were times when they would happen on just the right combination of sounds, and then it was ... well mostly it was really spooky. Toys are scary.

Three Day Stubble at last, their usual indescribably strange selves. A nice Avii! dance-contortion-spaz-attack performance from Donald. They played "Welcome to the World" and a great song about a man going to a foreign country - by boat! - and leaving his aged mother behind. Sorry Mom. It all ended up lasting until 1 AM, and my, standing up for 3.5 hours is tiring.

Then, Friday, was the Escena Alterlatina CD release show at the Justice League. They gave me a copy of the CD, which was unexpectedly cool. Quite a different show, very different crowd. The kind of crowd where I, how can I say, found it prudent to accept a higher-than-usual level of shoving and drunken weaving. First band was Orixa; they were OK. Pretty much just sounded like a standard Live 105 band - and funny thing, Live 105 was sponsoring the show - only they sang some songs in Spanish.

Second band was Los Mocosos, much much better. Kind of a ska-salsa-alternarock mix with some flavor of hip-hop. But mainly, a cool horn section, great rhythms, interesting songs. At one point the bass player was introducing a song he was about to sing and asked, "How many people from Mexico here tonight?" Half the hall raised their hands. One of those 'Hey, living in San Francisco is pretty cool' moments. (This led to a great moment later, when the singer asked, "OK, how many people here from Brooklyn High School!?" and there were actually about a dozen hands in the air. He said, "Shit! I didn't think y'all would raise your hands even if you still had them!")

The headliner was Julieta Venegas, the person I'd come to see. She didn't have a band, though, just a guitar player and a keyboardist. She played an accordion sometimes, acoustic guitar sometimes, and on a couple of songs just accompanied herself on the keyboard. Which was good, but a little too quiet for the state of the crowd by that time of the night. It's also a little hard to get the full impact of an intimate singer-songwriter performance like that when you don't understand what she's saying. Maybe I should sign up for those Spanish classes at work. Still, though, enough comes through, and the songs as music were worth hearing. She's a little cutie, too. Ahem.

Today I was supposed to go see The Big Lebowski at a midnight show, but since Friday's concert Also went from about 9:30 PM til after 1 AM, I am one tired potatoe. So I think I'm just going to go eat something and rent a mooovie instead. Hey, maybe they have some Season 3 Buffy episodes...

Willfully blind self-indulgent nebbish or amusingly quirky old coot? And how bout that local sports team? Discuss among yourselves.

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