8 July 2001
9:51 AM: Friday night was "Bugs on Broadway" at the SF Symphony. That was a lot of fun. It is so weird to hear a full symphony orchestra play that intro music to the Warner Brothers cartoons. Some of the cartoons, we just watched on a big video screen with the original soundtrack, like the ubiquitous "One Froggy Afternoon". But then for others, they had created a kind of inverted karaoke soundtrack - the symphony played the music, while the video still had the voices and some of the odder sound effects. Brilliant, it was. The Road Runner cartoon, oy ... let's just say I found myself deeply identifying with the Coyote.
Then, last night, Juno, Rainer Maria, and Unwound. I went only knowing the music of the second band. Juno was good, yes, though I have a sense that maybe I saw the perfect set from them, from my point of view; they could only play a few songs, and I imagine they were the punchiest ones and the biggest audience favorites from their usual selection. I wish I had the vocabulary to describe music more intelligently, I just don't know what you call stuff. I remember thinking after one song, "So, OK, they're the kind of band where all the guitar parts are individual notes and not just chording," and of course the very next song was everyone strumming madly away in their best wall-of-sound fashion.
They're quite loud. Two guitarists, bass, drums, a singer who also played guitar sometimes. I bet they all listened to the Clash a lot, though they did not sound like them very explicitly. Sincere, they're very sincere. They jumped around a lot. I dunno.
Speaking of jumping around, Rainer Maria's guitarist was leaping and running and acting like a 8-year-old boy on a quart of pure sugar. He was just a big ol spaz. And the drummer was flailing away as much as he could for having to sit down, too. Then there's the bass player, the female singer, who tended to carry most of the melody of the songs through the cloud of noise from the guitar. She was just the cutest little thing, 5'2" at the most, real skinny, blond ponytail. The sensible sister, keeping her goofball brothers in line. And then she would sing, and this big big voice would come out, so strong sometimes that it lifted her up onto her toes. Very un-rock-star. It was cute when she would dance up and down with the beat from time to time.
They sounded utter faboo. Very loud also, a theme for the night. When they launched into "Save My Skin", which she introduced as featuring the drummer - and you can see that it really does, live - or on the choruses of "Hell and High Water", it was just - ah, again, words I don't have. Perfect. Sound to knock you out of the mundane reality of the drunken little dinks in front of you, and into an elsewhere.
Very short fans, Rainer Maria has, I must add. I realized that I was about one-third the length of the hall away from the stage, and nearly everyone that was closer was a head shorter than me. At most. Little singer, little fans. Maybe.
Unwound seems to be the band that most people have heard of. Not me. I gather they used to be exclusively about noise. Not so much now, but still quite a racket. I dunno, if I'd heard them before, or knew something about them, it might have been better. They played well, but the songs were very long, and the guy was just sing-shouting in that art band style, and it all seemed like it would be like really incredible if you were high. I only stayed for the first half of the set or so.
Now I am awake and I don't know why. This, however, could be said at pretty much any time of any day lately. Huzzah.
Willfully blind self-indulgent nebbish or amusingly quirky old coot? And how bout that local sports team? Discuss among yourselves.
All names are fake, most places are real, the author is definitely unreliable but it's all in good fun. Yep.
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