Leaving Soon, Really
30 July 2001
1:26 PM: Weekend Media Report: Saturday, once again at Bottom of the Hill. Opening up was Poundsign. I recognized at least one of the guitarists from Aislers Set, for which I thinnnnk she plays bass. Super fun! Pop now! I used to think that "rosy-cheeked youth" was just a metaphor. Nope. Ar, I tell ya (hack hack wheeze), ya gotta love these kids, ya know? Of course, half the crowd wasn't paying the slightest bit of attention, but they had their own cheering section right in front so I don't think they noticed as much. Which is nice. I liked the Ringo moves from the drummer - you know, bobbing your head along to the beat, and then looking up with a big kinda goofy grin every now & then. I don't know how to say anything particular about the music - the songs were good, I liked the interplay of the guitars, and between them and the rest of the band. Craft, dang it. Fun music I'd like to hear again.
Now, the Reason that nobody was paying any attention was that the place was full of people who looked like maybe they don't normally go to shows like these, and that was because of the headliner - Jonathan Richman. Not his fault. He was great!
The thing that struck me is that he's a really, really good guitar player. I shouldn't be surprised, I suppose, but that wouldn't have been the first thing that came to mind about Jonathan Richman. I don't mean technically, or just technically; I wouldn't be able to judge that anyway, though it looked pretty complex. What I mean is that he could use the guitar to do pretty much anything he wanted it to do. Are we at a disco? Here are the wakka-wakka guitar chords, here's the bass guitar break, voila! Disco! It was fun to watch.
But then, everything about the show was fun. Once he started, the only times he ever even paused were when he needed a drink of water - and even then, I think the drummer kept playing. Just him and the drums, I'm seeing this combination a lot lately it seems. He's such an odd person. Sometimes with a kind of puzzled expression on his face, other times a big infectious smile, but even when he was joking with the crowd, he was so ... sincere. Not earnest, not flower-child. Just true. I don't know if I'd heard even one of the songs before, and it didn't matter a whit. I mean, how can you not love a song called "Dancing at the Lesbian Bar"? ("That other bar / It was OK there / But at this bar / It's more laissez-faire")
He sang songs in Spanish, Italian, and Hebrew. Sometimes with verbal subtitles. He did a great song about a break-up; after an earlier verse along the lines of "You just gotta take those sheets down to the laundromat", he was talking about all the terrible problems the ex-girlfriend was having now that she had left, and then came:Yeah, and now she's an alcoholic I heard that I heard that I heard that But you just gotta let her go! Just remember! Laundromat! Laundromat! Laundromat!
And as a final encore, an acapella version of "Arreverdeci, Roma". Beat that with a stick.
Then, Sunday, Julieta Venegas. The opening band was some kind of Latino-I-guess combo, normal good normal music. Lead singer was a bizarre little fellow in about 12 track suit jackets. He did some break dancing, and baton twirling with colored flashlights. They had tables out on the floor of the Great American Music Hall for some reason, so we got to sit through it. That made it just fine.
Julieta was of course very good. She's, yes, real cute, but in an I-dunno-how-to-say unusual way. She had to keep pulling her pants up, which somebody up front pointed out to her, and she got kind of embarrassed about. She's just really friendly. Of course, we had no idea what she was saying most of the time, since it was in Spanish. It sounded friendly. Her band was good - come on, how can it not be when Satan is playing bass? You could tell he was Satan, he had the little forked beard and all, shiny silver pants, and he smoked!
She's a great singer, and she writes great songs. It was really good to hear them live with a full band this time. The crowd was almost as much a part of the show as what was happening on stage, too. They sang along sometimes, and there was a whole girls-night-out party going on over to the left of us. Doing this kind of stompy rhythmic dances, spinning each other around, laughing and talking one second, swaying back and forth and singing to their favorite bits the next. I noticed that in general, it's a lot easier to deal with and ignore the usual constant chatter during a show when you don't understand what they're saying. Now if I could just find a translated-lyrics page somewhere...
In Other News: I am a big loserhead, still. Spent all day Sunday spinning my wheels trying to make mod_perl do what I wanted it to do, by gum. Guess who won. Guess who did not finish his project that he was supposed to deliver by Today. Blah. Well, it's not like I haven't had plenty of evidence lately of bigloserheadness. Can't say it's a suprise.
The trouble is, you know how people say, "I don't know why I bother?" And it's something of a rhetorical question? The implication being that they do bother. Me, lately, too literal. Why do I bother? I don't know. Oh, well, OK. Don't bother then. Fine, don't mind if I don't. Which leads to being, well.... here.
I'm going to go to work. I'm going to go to work. I'm going to leave the house. I'm going to leave the house.
5:30 PM: It's always nice to see I'm not the only one that gets out of hand:"It appears that Microsoft is backing off their much ballyhooed itty bitty teeny weeny sliver of flexibility and heading back to the rigid stance that has been slapped down by the second-highest court in the land," said AOL Time Warner vice president John Buckley.
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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