Saturday, December 27, 2003 at 11:54:15 (EST)

And the headaches were ringing out on Christmas Day
This is the longest I haven't blogged in quite some time. I really meant to, but forces allied against me at every turn. My sister's AOL connection was just too slow, and ever since I've been back, I've been consumed by other matters. Like getting wasted and having a hall-of-fame hangover.

Read the whole damn thing.


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Monday, December 22, 2003 at 17:33:45 (EST)

Back where it comes from
Yeehaw! I'm typing this from my sister's house, using her AOL connection! I've been here 4 hours and have run out of anything to talk about until we go to the local polynesian-themed restaurant and i get some mai-tais in me. So far the only revelation: my sister's pets are much better behaved than mine. What have I done wrong?

I have a few people to try to see while I'm here, and I'm not sure if it's gonna happen, so I'm apologizing to anybody I don't get to see up here. I always forget, this place is BIG, really spread out metropolitan area. But my brother-in-law has given me free range to use his car, so people of Cleveland, beware! I may be running you down this evening.

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Sunday, December 21, 2003 at 15:50:22 (EST)

Like this ...
Wow, what a show! After trying and failing numerous times to see TV on the Radio, I am pleased that the fates conspired to make me wait until last night. They performed at the fairly new club, The Hook, with Mommy & Daddy, Tracy and the Plastics, and the venerable ESG. Since Red Hook has almost no subway access, I took the B61 bus there, missing the stop and having to wander around the neighborhood for a while looking for Commerce Street. There's seems to be quite a lot going on there, but oh! I can't imagine living so far from the trains.

I finally found the club and momentarily feared the show was sold out, making my long trip pointless. But I got in fine; I guess the exorbitant ticket price had afforded me entry. The club is pretty big, somewhat reminiscent of North Six, but with fewer kids. They even have the same bleachers-type seating in the back of the hall. It was fairly crowded, but not nearly as crowded as it got later (I also heard that the show did sell out, so whew! for me). Drinks were too expensive, but I kind of expected this. The club also has a basement room where DJs were spinning and people were groovin' and smokin'. The basement leads to a back-alley sort of space where are the serious smokers chilled out. Literally. I had seen pictures of the club on their website and was relieved to find that it is much grimier in real life than it appears on the web. I was afraid it'd be too swanky, making me feel bad if I dropped my drink or barfed on the dance floor.

Mommy and Daddy were playing when I got there. I had always wanted to see them, they're a couple who play bass and keyboards with a drum machine. Not my kind of thing in theory, but they totally rock live. And they're cute as buttons, which never hurts.

Tracy and the Plastics were up next. Well, actually it's only one person, a young woman who I assume from her set is both a lesbian and film major. She sang alone on stage, backed up by prerecorded beats synched to a video of her in different wigs talking about the historical significance of the band's name. I thought is was pretty funny, and her voice is great at times, but I don't think everybody enjoyed it. What was weird to me was how un-theatrical it was. She wasn't dressed up, she didn't prance around or use props. She just stood there with a microphone. Seems to me if you don't play an instrument and have no bandmates, you gotta jump around or something. M&D play instruments and still managed to bounce all over the place.

TV on the Radio then took the stage. All their recorded stuff is all drum machine-driven, but now they have a bassist and drummer, so the sound was quite a departure from the peter-gabrielly sound of most of their work. Fine with me, they totally rock the full band. The bass was a little too loud, drowning out the drums too much, but they were really on, and best of all, the singers really sing. Now, I'm a big fan of the Steve Albini growl-speak vocals, but if you've really got the pipes, actual melodic singing is great. I was kind of surprised they used no keyboard whatsoever, but I guess that's just for the records. I wonder if the new musicians will be permanent members from now on, recording with them in the future. I hope so.

ESG must be one of the weirdest bands of all time. Their music isn't crazy, very spare funk-rock. But the members are all black women from the Bronx. They formed in the late 70's, so they're not exactly spring chickens anymore. And two of the daughters also play with them now. But they turned the mutha out. The drums are really the centerpiece and with their minimalistic style they really worked the room. The slightest fill or change-up was met with roars of appreciation from the crowd. They could not get enough of it. Why are there not more bands like this?

We hung out for a while longer and I again danced, badly. I keep thinking of that thing KDunk posted on her site the other day: "Dance like no one is watching." I hope no one was watching. Really. We got a car home, a very wise move at that point. But I wanna go to more shows like that, even if I have to take the bus.

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Week of December 21-27, 2003

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