it's time to admit it, i'm getting a little tired of webster hall. i feel like i'm there all the freaking time. what's up with these bands? book yourselves somewhere else. i like bowery ballroom, so let's try that one on for size. luckily the next two shows are elsewhere. but then it's back for the magic numbers & the elected.
west river and i caught the last three or so songs of inara george's (is that even her name? i'm too blase to even check) set. i placed her somewhere between suzanne vega and beth orton, both musically and physically. west river posed the "beth orton's younger, less talented little sister" theory, and we stuck with that.
so first off about Rogue Wave. Zach Rogue needs a shower. or a comb. or something. also, he should buy a new t shirt. even ask the merch table if maybe he can get a nada surf t. (it's really gauche to wear the shirt of your own band.) they really were not on top of their game last night. the first two or so songs were just not tight. it was almost like they were each playing along with a radio that was next to them, instead of with each other. and it hurts me to say things like this about a band i so enjoy. however, they managed to pull it together by the fourth song or so, after which point they sounded really good. it would have been real nice to hear 10:1 or endgame, but i had to be content with bird on a wire, endless shovel, publish my love, every moment, you (which came out much better live than i ever thought it could), love's lost guarantee, medicine ball and that's all i can remember at the moment. they did some chinese fire drill action a couple of times and the drummer/bassist/keyboardist switched around with the guitarist/keyboardist/drummer and the other guy. they're a funny looking bunch of guys. a bit older than most of the bands running around these days, and very calm. their stage presense reminded me a lot of built to spill, but that's probably because one of the dudes kind of looked like their lead singer.
it will be exciting to see RW on their own tour. while quite a few people seemed familiar with the band last night, i'll be happy to be in a room surrounded by people who think they are the bees knees and are all singing along, instead of just me singing along and being the only one for at least five people in all directions doing so.
i'll just say this once. this band is worth checking out. i will even make you a sampler cd if you ask nicely. perhaps even if you demand it rudely.
DEAR GUY IN FRONT OF US:
Stop talking to the six people you came with. saying "they are soooo good" every five seconds does not enhance anyone's, namely my, experience of the show. as a matter of fact, we find it irritating when morons like you come to a show and talk the whole fucking way through it. you are at a fucking gig, dude, the point is to listen to the fucking band! also, there is no smoking in webster hall. you wanna fire up your j that's ok by me, but you really don't need to chain smoke through the whole gig. i managed to suffer through it without a fag, and so can bloody you. you can also go outside to smoke. you're not in high school, it does not make you super awesome because you're too cool to follow the fucking rules about smoking indoors. also, you are tempting me to grab your cigarette from you and return it to you by mashing the lit end into the back of your neck. if you realize what song it is and that you really like said song, please do not jump up and down like a fifteen year old girl. i want to get violent when they do it and since you're a mid-30s gay man it seems only fair that i actually get violent with you. your friends are also kind of annoyed with you. the guy to your left with the longish hair, leave him alone, he's jammin' out. the guy to your right with the hoodie can enjoy the show without your constant commentary. and please, for the love of god, stop pulling the girl in front of the girl in front of you back so you can talk to her, she wants to punch you in the face. no, wait, that's me, but she probably does too. also, you better consider yourself damn freaking lucky that you pulled all that arms in the air, throwing peace signs, shrieking and leaning way back, thereby invading my very protected personal space during a fucking song with lyrics that say "always love", because if you'd done it at any other point in the show i would have strangled you. NB: our experience with this man is a prime example of why this blog is called "bag of rocks".
ok, so on to nada surf. until rather recently the only thing i knew about these guys was they did that song "popular" that came out when i was in college or hs. and i liked that song. generally i think novelty songs are stupid (this is a person who, obviously with great error, wrote off both weezer and the flaming lips as useless gimmick bands, so go figure), but there was something about the scathing sarcasm coating all the lyrics to that song that always made me smile. and the fact that apparently the words came from an actual book that earnestly suggested such idiocy was pretty much right up my "the only thing to do in this situation is laugh" alley.
i knew there had been a great movement for the band since its "popular" days, but i didn't really know where they were then and so had no preconceived notion other than evidentley these guys can be funny when they want to be. it's a really good album, and the more i listen to "let go" the more i think that one is pretty awesome, too. anyway, i'm taking the long way round here. Nada Surf are a good band, and they are a very good live band.
they were clearly stoked to be in new york, as they are from this fair city. there were stories about when webster hall was the ritz and the shows they'd seen there as kids, and how it looked bigger now than it had when they were younger. they also had six gigantic mirrors. two were behind the drummer, which was awesome, because i love watching the drummers and they're usually at the worst angle. it was a little bizzare though. anyway, they played a lot of stuff: do it again, concrete bed, blankest year (during which the members of RW and inara george and her peeps came out and danced around), blizzard of '77, inside of love, fruit fly, blonde on blonde, the way you wear your head, what is your secret, your legs grow (which is stunningly lovely live), paper boats, imaginary friends, look in the mirror, always love (see above where this song saved a man who thought it necessary to pump his fist in the air during every word of the chorus's life) and i'm sure some more i'm forgetting.
in the covers category, they treated us to a fairly bearable rendition of the smiths' "there is a light that never goes out" and at one point went into "love will tear us apart" during another song. they played until 130, at which point i was praying for them to stop because i was so tired. but i was sad when they actually did.
of course, the old mta had me home in a timely way and i got to bed about 3 am (yes, i was being sarcastic).