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Current Mood: pensive
… but you won’t change the way I feel…
Well it’s been a bizarre and rough couple of weeks, kiddies, and it ain’t over yet. I may just make it though. We’ll have to wait and see.
Last weekend, I had the pleasure of seeing some great shows, and some really weird shows, and of course some shows that were both. I caught the Phenomenauts and the Epoxies at Bottom Of The Hill with Shel. I gotta admit that the first time I saw the Phenomenauts, I was not impressed. I don’t know if they were over-hyped to me, or if I just wasn’t in the mood for camp that night, or maybe just wasn’t expecting it? This last show was different. I knew what to expect, and I thoroughly enjoyed them this time around. In fact, it was clear to me that the Epoxies should be opening for them. A bassist with flashlight goggles, “Joe-Bot” thrashing on his guitar with what looked like a Nintendo Power Glove, and a keyboard player that is evidently the “scientist” of the whole outfit… quite a group. The musicianship was alright, but the name of the game here was stage antics, and they don’t lack those. The singer ducks as the keyboardist tosses a megaphone to Joe-Bot in mid-song so that he can blare it into the mic during one verse. At one point, the scientist unleashed a leafblower-powered toilet paper gun on the crowd… which it might help to visualize as a scene from Ghostbusters. At another point, during a spoken preamble to “Earth Is The Best,” a giant earth-looking balloon hovers in mid-air on stage, and just as the drums kick in, the balloon is kicked out into the crowd to be tossed around. Lots of nice touches like that. All in all, very Devo, but I really enjoyed it this time.
The headliner was The Epoxies, and they were a yawn. I had a good laugh when this kiddie-punk band’s singer yelled out “this is PUNK ROCK!” Sorry lady, Hot Topic is not punk rock. The one upside is that the male guitarist (who was inexplicably wearing an external pair of prosthetic breasts) and the bassist were playing a Gibson Explorer and a Gibson Thunderbird respectively, each equipped with a green laser not unlike a pistol sight. With the fog machine on full blast, this equated to green laser beams flashing overhead the whole show. I may steal this gimmick someday. Just being honest.
Something that struck me was how young the crowd was. The music between bands was bad 80’s music with the exception of “Private Eyes” by Hall & Oates. I guess it was an all ages show, and it looks like The Epoxies fanbase is 17-year-old douchebags. They haven’t yet learned the etiquette of how to get by someone at a crowded show. Shel and I were bumped into enough times that we had no choice but to start throwing ‘bows. This improved my night considerably.
The very next night, I joined Sarah and some others to see the highly-anticipated Red Elvises. So I guess this is Siberian surf rock, with some rockabilly and Tom Waits thrown in, and all in the broken english of a heavy Russian accent. Fucking bizarre, but really nice guys and a lot of fun. The bassist plays a gimongous red triangle bass which I hear is loosely based on a traditional Russian instrument. They had a tuba player. The keyboardist is a ridiculously hot redhead in a tiger print cat suit. She was dancing like a stripper while playing her keyboard/organ on par with any keyboardist I’ve ever heard. Amazingly fast! Sarah’s buddy Neal was in love. So was everybody else, truth be told. Holy moly. Highlights of the night include the drunken lament of “Strip Club Is Closed” and of course the lyric, “I got me condom; I’m going to find me pretty girl.”
If the previous weekend in Sacto/Fresno was “my” weekend, this one was undoubtedly Sarah’s. Saturday afternoon, I went with her, since she was modeling for a book signing with her friend Molly Crabapple, illustrator of “Dr. Sketchy’s Official Rainy Day Colouring Book.” Sarah appears in this book, and the whole even was actually covered by the San Francisco Chronicle. It’s on the web here, and the story (as well as the large picture of Sarah and her tattoo) appeared on the front page of the Style section of today’s (Sunday) paper! How ’bout that shit?
OK, enough feeding her already-massive ego. Back to the weekend. Saturday night was the Burning Man lite of ArtsFest. Lots of folks there, but it seemed like they weren’t really ready for a group of burlesque performers. The sound guy certainly wasn’t as he fucked up and sometimes missed sound cues all night, the worst of which hit Sarah when they managed to lose her CD and mention it until she was already on stage waiting to start her dance. A rough night, to be sure. Sunday was all about recup’ing. Woke up, had brunch, took a three hour nap, had Thai for dinner, went to bed.
OK, I realize I just wrote a shitload about only a few days of stuff. I’ll keep this one really short. Two major events. First is I saw Sik Luv at the Blank Club on Wednesday with Sarah, Sus, and Nick. It was another great show from this trio that I’m hoping to get to play on a bill with very soon. Second, Sarah sent an urgent “kneemail” to my face last night which resulted in a bloody nose and a chipped tooth. Mother fucker.
How’s that for brevity? OK, on to new topics…
Work has been pretty good. Eating lunch occasionally at my desk has led to a new obsession in Wikipedia. Whilst I eat a sammich, I can look up a topic I want to know more about (rhinos, Malta, Talking Heads, etc.) and read all kinds of interesting things. The Information Age. What a time to be alive.
While I’m thinking about it, anyone else notice Thursdays are a slow email day? Anna says this is a recognized phenomenon. Everyone’s working hard on Thursdays I guess? I just know all the normal email banter with friends comes to a near grinding halt for one day a week, and I can offer no explanation.
Your old complaint about not having a stitch to wear won’t apply much longer, because we are just inches away from finally ordering a new batch of This Charming Band t-shirts. These ones will be a new color and feature a new quote on the back, so stay tuned. Coming up, we have a big “Tribute to Manchester” show at Rickshaw Stop on Saturday, April 14th. There are a ton of reasons to come to this show… let me name a few. It’s our first San Francisco show since the beginning of January. It’s the last show we have scheduled at the moment. Aaron Axelsen of Live 105, Popscene, and Leisure will be the DJ for the night. We’ve never played the Rickshaw. We’re expecting tons of folks to be there. And most importantly… there will be a special guest appearance by Wally and Peter, former TCB members to play a few songs with us… ones you haven’t heard from us in many months. So what else do you need to hear? This is HUGE! Don’t you dare miss it…
Though I usually do the flyers myself, Nick and his friend Shelley worked together to produce the Sgt. Pepper style picture for this special event’s flyer.
I’ve been in serious guitar mode lately. I had a productive session in Guitar Center this weekend in which I tried out a Gibson Firebird (ooh la la), test-drove several Les Pauls in search of the exact model I’d like to go with, and picked up a new pedal which will not only improve my tone on “Panic” but also get me dangerously close to nailing Marc Bolan’s tone on “20th Century Boy.” We shall see… Oh, and by the way, who tipped off Gibson that a great way to get into my wallet would be to launch a “Guitar Of The Week” program? So wait, every Tuesday this year you’re going to another announce a limited-edition-of-400 of some reissue or otherwise unique guitar? Every week a new temptation? God help me.
Speaking of guitar anxiety, I’m facing retirement anxiety via my twins. You may be familiar with the pair of matching turquoise Epiphone Casinos I had used at nearly every show till the end of 2006. I love the Casino sound, not to mention that it’s my most comfortable guitar. My undisputed number one! Well, they’ve been virtually forced into retirement at the pleading of my bandmates due to the extreme feedback issues they raise. I can certainly understand their point, and feedback has not been an issue for me since I put them away, but man do I miss them. They were part of my whole mojo up there on stage. I’m considering bringing them back soon or at least occasionally. I can picture Nick and Orlando shuddering as I type that.
That’s right, bitches!
The quote of the week goes to Sarah’s friend Molly who, being from New York, did not realize just how right she was:
Molly: “Oh Sarah, I love your purse! Where’d you get it?”
Molly: “What’s ‘Fresno?'”