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  Another Button Popped

10 August 2001

12:45 PM: Very very very tired last night. Network went kabloo at the end so I just took that as a sign and gave up. Still too early for the show, so I decided to walk. I discovered that it's really not all that far on foot from our offices to Bottom of the Hill. But the way there is a weird little stroll. Vast parking lots - that's where they are! - for the ballpark. Some kind of construction site that in the night is just dimly lit piles of dirt with really bright lights shining into your eyes from the edges, far away. And road-like things going here and there through it. Looked like a good place to dump a body. Big industrial buildings, abandoned railroad tracks, and sidewalks constantly petering out into just dirt as it passed the locked gates and dead-manatee-shaped sandbags of unfathomable purpose. I expected to meet Henry from Eraserhead scuttling around.

The show was good. I maybe was a little too out of sorts to appreciate it properly, hard to say. Opening band was Iffy - no, that's their name, not a judgement. They were kind of funny - very, how do I say, smoove. Funk-like. The keyboard had a definite piano sound, Ray Liotta lookalike doing definite funk band bass lines, lead singer in oddly preppy outfit with hair all high on his head, kind of reminded me of James Black (of And The Whites - back before you were born, don't worry about it). Music for dive bars. Sometimes they were a little too background, sometimes they were real good. If their songwriting keeps improving with time, they'll be killer.

The Orange Peels were fun, basic pop music. Maybe a little too basic, or like I said, maybe I was just too tired. I did find a seat for most of their set, which helped. I liked them better when the lead guitarist/singer switched from acoustic to electric, and I bet that was entirely about the increase in volume. I didn't care for the drumming all that much. I'd want to see them again before I make any firm judgements.

Dressy Bessy, on the other hand, were great. Not at all sugary, which I thought they might have been based on the songs I've heard on Spinner.com. For sure not a girl band. Only one girl, singing and playing rhythm guitar (great eyebrows, for the mandatory cute-girl comment). At first, I thought, This whole band is about her voice and the bass player, because the bass lines were the main melody of all the songs. By the end of the set I'd revised that - whether the songs changed, or the guitar just got louder, or I just was paying better attention, I could not tell you for certain. It was funny, the bass player and the lead guitarist had this vaguely 60ish look. Not hippies - think Port Huron Statement. Overgrown curly hair, dry humor, un-fashion. In fact, the bass player really reminded me of a younger version of my friend Saul, in a picture I've seen of him protesting the Shah of Iran (I think) back in the 70s. None of this is really relevant to what they sounded like, as far as I know. Just funny. The new, as-yet-unrecorded ("We have a new CD coming out in ... what, December? We're kind of slow sometimes.") songs they played were as good if not better than the older ones, always a good sign. And they are masters of the fine and rare art of Ending The Song. No sloppy petering-out, no big ROCK AND ROLL! everyone-play-fast jams. Written ends. When the song is done, hey I know - let's stop. Sounds simple, hardly anybody does it. They rocked.

And I'm not sure about this, but I think I saw why the sound at that club has been so good for the shows I've seen there lately. Because I'm fairly certain that the shorter woman in glasses who kept appearing in the middle of the crowd, listening intently for a few minutes, and then going away again, was working the sound board. Imagine, actually checking out what it sounds like from the audience's perspective! I didn't check to make sure because I'd rather cling to that notion, it's so appealing.

Of course, I think the best thing about going to a show at Bottom of the Hill by myself is being able to look down on everyone else. These people are so weak, they have to bring friends so they can have someone to talk to during the half-hour wait between bands. They don't have the strength of personality to just sit there staring into nothing. I laugh at them. Ha. Yah.

Aaagh. Sometimes, you know, the better the experience, the better the band and the music and the whole rock and roll fun thing, the more it hurts. My phantom limb starts itching. I need more mediocre experiences. Average spectacle. Nothing to write home about, but enough to not be nothing. I need more trash science fiction books, in other words.

Today, by God, I am working from home. And if I need to sleep, I'm going to sleep. I don't care.

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

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