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  Oh My Aging Feet

15 July 2001

5:38 PM: Man o man. That was a lot of bands last night. It's PopFantasy 2001 at Bottom of the Hill. Last night, after Chinese food and exchange of Buffy tapes with Lana and Eddie, I got there a bit before 9 PM, in time for the very first of five bands. Ow. Glad I did, though, because the first one turned out to be one of my favorites. Let's see now...

The Brittle Stars: Why I love Indie Pop: they're all such big geeks. The lead singer was this leetle leetle cute girl playing keyboards, and on either side of her were these big giant guys playing bass and guitar who could easily have been engineers and probably are. The bassist congratulated his wife on getting her Master's degree! Aww. Their sound reminded me of the more plaintive songs of Sissy Bar, though no banjo. Very fun, catchy. It was like, I don't know, transportation to another time. Imagine one of those TV show bands like The Partridge Family, only if they were making music now, and they were actually really good. I got their CD, have not listened to it yet.

The Fairways: This was one of the bands I had read something about, and so was looking forward more to seeing. In the article, it mentioned something about how comparisons to Belle & Sebastian drove the band crazy. Well son, if you're gonna sing like that, what do you expect? I quite liked it, don't get me wrong. The lead singer is this very cute Japanese boy - he's unmistakably from California, but I understand they're really popular in Japan, you could see why - and he sang a lot of nice songs. Cute bands and cute audience, theme of the night. The bass player was almost the tallest, she had this moppet hairdo that came over her eyes, big white watch. Yes I was listening, too.

Girlfrendo: From Sweden, I gather. Extremely silly. I would have gotten their CD too but it was too crowded by then. The lead singer was this funny roundish blonde woman with a Bjorkish accent, and the rest of the band were blonde guys and one with black hair, and they all certainly looked very healthy and Scandinavian and generally like people who'd grown up somewhere civilized. They did a song about "how hard it is to be a bumblebee, sucking honey all day long." Great drummer. Very, very catchy songs. I wish there was somewhere I could go find out the names of what they played. I also liked that for their last song, they did a semi-sortof-cover of the Ramones' "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" - "Hey audience, we are Girlfrendo!" Silly.

Hideki Kaji: Japanese band. Lead singer, songwriter apparently, was in a kilt. Don't ask me. All very cute, of course. They did the fastest cover of "Close To You" I've ever heard. But by this time my lungs were aching for air - well, smoke, technically - and I was getting musiced out. So I don't know. It was guitars and oooweeeeooo synth and sounded pretty familiar to me, and I ended up out on the patio with a beer for the last half, so I could snag a chair and Sit Down. Man, my feet start to hurt after two or three hours of standing.

The Aislers Set: Headliners, the other band I'd read about, the ones that I basically came to see. They were great! There'd been this kind of strange looking guy hanging around on the patio during the evening, I remember thinking to myself, "He sure does look like a girl, I wonder what it is exactly." Well, it might have been the fact that she is a girl, dummy. Turned out to be the singer for Aislers Set, playing this big fancy guitar, and trumpet sometimes. A girl who I think was also the bass player for Fairways but maybe not, on keyboards. A guy playing guitar, very good. Almost a country styling to what he played at times, it worked really well. Yet another really cute female bass player, the world is full of them, which is one point in its favor. I forget the drummer, though he/she was good in that ugh-me-like way I can't articulate; you know, forceful. They rocked the hardest of all the bands that I saw (I think Hideki Kaji probably was up there). Great songs, and they just sounded so good. Pop music, god damn it, kicks ass. Rehearsing songs, getting the arrangements right. But also, kudos to the sound people at Bottom of the Hill for the whole thing. Oh man I almost said "props". Send me to old people's jail now.

Oh! D'oh! How could I forget the drummer? Yoshi! It was his birthday! I think we sang "Happy Birthday" to him six or seven times. Hee.

Speaking of that. Kids today, in the hip indie pop crowd: no leather jackets. Lots and lots of sweaters. Long-sleeved thrift-store shirts. Long-sleeved T-shirts, people actually do wear those things, who knew. Also, not a lot of black. I had happened through no real planning to pick a black T-shirt off the pile that day. I could feel myself standing out like neon. I sweartagawd, I saw one other guy there wearing a black leather jacket, and he was definitely in his late 30s at least. I don't know the significance of any of this, just noticed it.

The club was jammed. Maybe not quite so packed as for Quasi, as there were people there to see each different band mostly, so some of them elsewhered for the rest of the show. But it was a good crowd. The people who didn't want to pay attention went outside, maybe that helped.

Tonight! White Stripes again! At Great American Music Hall, too, much smaller than Fillmore. Should be fun if the crowd doesn't suck.

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

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