Tag Archives: hipsters

David Byrne and St. Vincent

During the 1980’s, I was into new wave and pop music.  I regarded the Talking Heads as arty farty bullshit for people who were older than me, although I did like the hit songs such as “Burning Down the House”.  Up until the other day, I regarded David Byrne as one of the most pretentious bastard in the world, except for perhaps Lou Reed.

Well, my opinion has changed.  I got a chance to see David Byrne and St. Vincent because a friend had an extra ticket.  I didn’t have to pay for it, so I thought I’d give it a whirl.  I hadn’t bought a ticket to see them because I had those aforementioned prejudices against David Byrne, although I love St. Vincent.

I listened to their album on Spotify (Love This Giant) and I liked it.  I am a sucker for anything with a horn section.  I was also hoping he would play a few Talking Heads songs – the ones I like

After getting lost (as usual), I found the venue.  I missed all of my freeway exits, because the freeways in Austin are marked for people who already know where they are going….I was really frustrated and stressed out because I was half an hour late to meet my friend.  Finally, I found my seat and I was immediately soothed by the sounds of birdcalls and rain, which was playing before the show started.  I liked that a lot.

David Byrne made an announcement over the loudspeakers before the show saying that photos and videos are allowed, but asking people to please not take photos with their iPads and to please not view the entire show through a gadget.  This announcement should be made before every concert EVER.

Everyone walked out on stage, and it was so low key that I didn’t even realize that David and Annie (St. Vincent) were also on the stage.  There were a lot of people, as you can see from the photo above.  I knew that they were not fucking around because they had a guy playing a sousaphone on stage.

The show was really visually interesting, because there was choreography from everyone on stage and it was different for every song.  At one point everyone was lying down on the stage and playing, including the horns!  Lying on the floor playing a horn!!  I have never seen that before.

Annie would do this little dance where she’d stutter-step across the floor. It reminded me of something Prince used to do, but she was less filthy about it:

David Byrne was really gracious and would step back when Annie sang.  He would blend into the background and maybe do a funny dance but he let Annie have the spotlight.  It was the most generous and gracious thing I’ve seen someone do on stage, and I was very impressed by that.  He didn’t seem pretentious at all – he seemed humble.

I was pretty annoyed that everyone was sitting down during the show.  I kind of figured this would happen since it was mostly greybeards and hipsters.  After a pretty subdued number, everyone spontaneously erupted into a standing ovation, and the band just stood there.  The longer it went on the more awkward it was, so they started bowing.  You could tell that they weren’t sure what to do, so they walked off stage like it was time for an encore break.  I am not sure if we missed out on some songs because of this affectionate outburst.

Then when the band came back, everyone was standing up and stood up for the rest of the night.  Fucking finally!

I have to admit that when they played “Burning Down the House”, I lost my shit.  I mean, I danced like no one was watching – I did the pogo, I sang along, I might have had a tear in my eye.  That song was my JAM back in the day.  (“The day” being my freshman year of high school.)

They ended the set by singing “Road to Nowhere”, and everyone marched off stage.  All I could think about was that the people in the horn section were probably all in marching bands when they were kids and that was why they could remember all the crazy choreography for every song.  It was kind of a heartwarming thought.

My advice to you is that if David Byrne and St. Vincent come to your town, you should go see them.  My heart grew three sizes that day, and I no longer harbor an irrational hatred of David Byrne.

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The problem with turntable.fm

Have you crazy kids tried turntable.fm? It’s the latest music streaming website, but it’s interactive! The idea is that you and your friends are in a virtual club, and you can DJ music while your friend’s avatars bop their heads to the beat.

Doesn’t that sound amazing? Doesn’t that sound like so much fun?

I love to make playlists and I used to have one of “those” mp3 music blogs a few years ago. Sharing new music or just making a playlist is one of my favorite things, and I even consider it to be my superpower.  Naturally, when I heard about this new website, I immediately joined and started exploring.

I only joined a few days ago, and I’m already giving up on it.  First of all, I should say that you can only join turntable.fm if you have a Facebook friend that is already a member.  I’m sure anyone hip enough to read this blog is hip enough to get into the site.  Am I right?

Actually that is the problem with the site.  Everyone who is a member is a snooty hipster and won’t let anyone else play.  The only room that a newbie has a remote chance of DJing in is a room like “Play 3 and Step Down”, where there is an orderly queue of people waiting to DJ their 3 songs.  Most of the time you have to wait for over an hour to get a chance to play songs, though.  If you just want to stream your choice of songs, you can’t create your own room and play by yourself, because you have to have two DJ’s in order to hear anything besides a sample.

If you can’t DJ, you can’t earn points and change your avatar to a Deadmau5 or other fun stuff.  Also it’s just fun to DJ and see everyone enjoying the song, or to get a chat message that you made a cool choice.  A DJ also can earn “fans” which is validation of uber-hipster coolness.

Maybe it’s because I am not an aggressive person, but I can’t get in to a DJ booth to save my life.  I am a very impatient person and I hate waiting around for someone to leave.  I don’t have hours and hours to spend in the turntable rooms waiting for the unlikely moment that someone will step down and actually let me play some songs.

In a moment of desperation, I made my own room tonight, and only one of my friends took pity on me and came in to listen.

Either everyone who reads this blog needs to join turntable, and become my “fan” (DJ name: mekkalekkah), or I should just forget turntable.fm and move on with my life.

I leave it to you, dear reader, to decide my fate.  THIS IS SO IMPORTANT YOU GUYS.

No, no, I’m just kidding – but I would like to know if anyone reading this post has used the site, and what their experiences have been.

Postscript:

While I was writing this post, a bunch of people came into the room I created and now I feel all better.  I’m still posting this though!  So there.

Further adventures at SXSW

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The local news stations and newspapers have been talking about how “dangerous and crowded” it was at SXSW this year.  Yes, there was a mini-riot at the free Strokes show on St. Patrick’s Day, but SXSW on St. Patrick’s Day is always a gigantic clusterfuck.  I remember in 2007 that it was so crowded and annoying that I decided to stay in my hotel that night and order room service.

When I went last night, the crowds were not that bad.  I know there was a huge line to get into the Perez Hilton, Fader Fort and Vevo parties, but I wasn’t about to start wasting my time there.  Without a badge or a wristband (or even an RSVP), there was no way I was going to get in.  Personally, I think those parties are overrated.  Perez had a shitty lineup this year – the biggest name was Taylor Momsen.  I was at Perez’s party in 2007 and it was a great lineup (Mika, Amy Winehouse, etc.) but this year’s was nowhere near it.  Yes, Vevo had Kanye, but I bet he does a tour and I can see him then with less hassle.  And Fader Fort is the refuge of every hipster who wants to act like they read Pitchfork and actually care about the ratings.

I had my plans for the night:  I wanted to get some free food from Rachel Ray’s party, and try to see the Dead Milkmen.  I also wanted to try and see Doug Benson (The Benson Interruption) and Donald Glover/Childish Gambino, but it turned out that those two events were happening at the same time as the Dead Milkmen.  I also was hoping to catch Sean Lennon or Anamanaguchi afterwards (again, they were both playing at the same time).

The thing about going to SXSW when you haven’t got a badge a wristband or a pot to piss in is to just go with the flow.  If you can’t get into what you planned for, have a backup plan.   You can just walk around and you’ll find something interesting going on eventually.

I did the old park and ride, taking the bus downtown.  I didn’t want to pay $10 to $20 to park.  Instead I paid one dollar and rode a bus for fifteen minutes.  I am definitely doing this again when I go to SoCo because I can’t ever find parking there which is why I never ever go there.

First thing I did was go to the Austin Convention Center and check out the Flatstock poster show, and the StyleX (Style By) show.  Yep, now there is a fashion aspect to SXSW.  The fashion booths were not that great, but there was an America Apparel flea market if you’re into that sort of thing.  I am not into that sort of thing so I made my way out.  The poster show was really great.  I saw a ton of posters that looked amazing, but I didn’t want to carry them around and ruin them so there was no way I could buy one.  They should have a shipping option for people who can’t carry the stuff with them.  The poster show closed at 6pm so you’re basically fucked.

Thanks for the free grub, Rachel, it was YUM-O!

I was getting hungry, so I went to Stubb’s to get some free grub at the Rachel Ray party.  Her parties are known for having amazing food, and I wasn’t disappointed.  There were some awesome tacos and “tosta-chos” which was like  a taco and tostada combined somehow.  Whatever, it was delicious, and it was free.

The best part was that the lines were really short and I got in right away.  They weren’t

Wanda Jackson, wildcat

even checking RSVP’s, although I did have one.  The even better than best part was that Wanda Jackson was playing a set, and I got there right when it started.  My friend A. has told me about how amazing Wanda Jackson is, and she was right.  She has a voice like a wildcat in heat, despite the fact that she’s 73 years old.  She’s famous for having made out with Elvis but there’s more to her than that.

Once Wanda’s set ended, I figured I should head to East Side Drive-In and the Mess With Texas Party.  The Dead Milkmen were scheduled to play in three hours and I was starting to freak out and wonder if I was going to get in.  I decided to skip seeing The Bluebonnets (featuring Kathy Valentine of the Go-Go’s) because they are a local band and I’ll have another chance to see them.

There was a huge line at the East Side Drive-In, but there was no way I was going to be discouraged.  Luckily, after about 15 minutes they started moving the line again and I got in.  The DoDos were just finishing a set, and from what I heard while I was in line, they are a band I need to learn more about.

East Side Drive-In had two stages, and the Dead Milkmen were set to play the outdoor stage.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t much grass on the grounds and so a constant cloud of dust would hover over the crowd while the bands played.  The first band I saw, OFF!, was a hardcore punk band.  The people near the stage started a very scary mosh pit.  Bodies were flying in the air, things were thrown, shoes were flying around, and the dust got even worse.  I was choking and saw that I wasn’t the only one covering my mouth and nose with the front of my shirt.  It was pretty miserable but I wasn’t going to abandon my post.

Next up was Surfer Blood.  Thankfully, they are a power pop band so the hardcore punks stayed put.  I really enjoyed their set and actually bought their album today on emusic.  They just do some straight up pop, and remind me of Weezer or Vampire Weekend.  I’m not ashamed to say I enjoy this sort of thing unironically.  Definitely worth a try if you also enjoy it.

I was really getting tired and was still choking on dust.  The next band was !!! (chk chk chk).  All I knew about this band was that they were the darlings of the hipster/Pitchfork/hypem set for years and I had studiously avoided them.  The more something is hyped, the less interested I am in finding out more about it.  As soon as the band hit the stage, I regretted my snobbery.

!!! is the most amazingly funky band of white boys that I have ever seen.  I didn’t know

Nic Offer commands that you shake your booty

any of the songs but I danced the whole time, and got my second wind.  The singer, Nic Offer, was wearing short shorts and voguing unashamedly.  He danced so strangely that he made the crowd feel okay about dancing weirdly, too.  The dude in front of me was a big old hippie and he just swayed back and forth the entire time in some sort of stoner ecstacy.  !!! did a Prince cover, and I was blown away.  I can’t remember which song it was because I am terrible with song titles, but it was something obscure.  Nic Offer kept jumping into the crowd and dancing with the audience.  He was being hugged and grabbed and he loved it, I think.  I saw a girl hugging him, with the most fiercely joyful expression on her face.

Nic dancing with the crowd

Her lifetime goal had just been achieved.   I definitely want to see this band again.

I was sad to see them leave the stage, even though it meant that the Dead Milkmen were next!  That’s how good they were.

Most people were there to see the Dead Milkmen, who are a legendary punk band from the 80’s.  I have never seen them play live because they didn’t come to Phoenix very often, and I was afraid of the types of crowds who would go to see them back then.  (Skinheads and that type)  I definitely knew that I needed to stay away from the mosh pit section I had seen earlier.  I am old and fragile, so that sort of thing wouldn’t work for me at all.  Still, I was close enough.  When I was in high school, I had a little

I still heart Joe Jack Talcum

crush on Joe Jack Talcum, who sings Punk Rock Girl.  He’s still pretty cute in a silver fox way, but now I know he is gay so it’s even more hopeless.  (I was confused by the fact that he sang about a girl, I thought he liked girls back in the day.)  Rodney Anonymous is now a real skinhead, mainly because he’s bald as hell.

After watching this video, I just realized that Dean Clean was the guy who sold me my tee shirt last night.  I couldn’t see the drummer on stage at all so I didn’t put it together until this moment.  I am really bad about seeing famous people and recognizing them.  Rosanna Arquette was right in front of me at the Antony & the Johnson show at Coachella in 2009 and my friend had to point it out to me.  I wish I had realized that it was Dean Clean at the merch stand.  I am feeling like a big bowl of fail right now….*heavy sigh*

Once the Dead Milkmen hit the stage, the crowd went nuts.  I am quite sure that the Dead Milkmen cow balloon got popped within the first few minutes.  I thought it was really cute.

Moo

The show was frenetic and insane, and everything I wanted it to be.  The weirdest thing that happened was that they played a cover of the song Cars by Gary Numan.  During the 80’s, the Dead Milkmen were always railing against New Wave synth music and saying that it was the worst thing that ever happened to the music industry.  Hearing them play an 80’s New Wave classic anthem was almost like having an out-of-body experience.  When the song was over, Rodney said that they had just played a song by a classic Austin, Texas artist, Gary Numan.  I was laughing my ass off but I don’t think the kids standing around me got the joke at all.

I am really bad at remembering set lists, but this is what I remember hearing last night (not in this order, necessarily):

Big Mouth Rodney Anonymous

Tacoland, Tiny Town, Methodist Coloring Book, Serrated Edge, Cars, I Walk the Thinnest Line, VFW, Right Wing Pigeon, Punk Rock Girl, Smokin’ Banana Peels, Surfin’ Cow, Stuart, Bitchin’ Camaro, Big Lizard

Ugh I totally forgot something important, I know it.  Oh yeah!  They played some brand new songs because they are going to release a BRAND NEW ALBUM!  I am excite!

Some of you may have heard the stories about the people at Morrissey shows who line up politely at the edge of the stage and wait their turn to gently hug their hero.  The Dead Milkmen have a similar tradition.  Punks aggressively make their way on stage, make a spectacle of themselves, and then leap into the crowd to surf.  In this case, it was the same three or four people doing this over and over all night.  The band didn’t seem to mind but I did start to get annoyed seeing the same people doing it over and over.  You’d think it might

Punk girl about to jump into the audience

get old after a bit, and obviously they weren’t watching the band.  I don’t understand punk etiquette, so maybe this isn’t rude, but I thought it was a bit rude.

The dust cloud really started forming during Bitchin’ Camaro.  So many bodies were flying around, and so much dust was raised, I couldn’t even see the stage.  I couldn’t breathe either, and my contact lenses were feeling like shards of glass in my eye.  Once the dust settled, I felt like I was covered in an inch of dirt from head to toe.  I felt like a giant dust bunny that could walk and talk.   The show ended and I tried to return to reality and figure out how to get back to 6th Street.

All I could think about was buying a Jim Jim’s Water Ice.  It had been my mantra for the past hour.  Once I got my water ice, I was as happy as a dust-covered clam.

I was so tired from being in a dust bowl for three hours, the rest of my plans for the night were shot.  Plus a chill wind started blowing and I felt like I was freezing to death.  It wasn’t that cold, so I think that being tired made me feel colder.

I saw some freaky stuff on 6th Street, but even that didn’t lift my spirits enough to stop me from walking to the bus stop and going home.  I was home by 11pm.  So much for carousing at SXSW!

It was totally worth it to achieve my decades-long goal of seeing the Dead Milkmen live.  I would do it again in a minute.

Oh and as far as seeing any fights and riots, I didn’t see any.  However, I did see a kid with a black eye and bleeding lip walking through the Driskill Hotel lounge…

Konichiwa, bitches!

Last night I went to see Robyn perform at the new Austin City Limits venue, the Moody Theater.

Here’s a clip of one of her songs, in case you don’t know who the hell I am talking about:

For some reason, Robyn is not well known in America at all. If you are wondering what she sounds like, I guess you could call her the Swedish Lady Gaga, minus the performance art. Robyn’s songs are pure dancepop, fun, and a little bit naughty. She’s just naughty and cutting edge enough to be adored by the hipster set. Believe me, the place was crawling with hipsters in their little pashmina scarves, funny haircuts and toting their iPhones.

I’d also like to discuss the venue, since it is  brand-spankin’ new, and will be the new home of the TV show Austin City Limits.  Not every concert performed there will be filmed for the show.  A lot of people in the audience thought that Robyn’s set was going to be on TV, but it won’t be.  (Sadly) 

Anyway, from the outside, the building just looks like a big, boring block of painted concrete, right next door to the W Hotel.  Once you walk up the stairs to the entrance and go inside, it is fabulous.  There is a lounge area at the entrance which is on a balcony, and it has a nice view of downtown (and probably the lake, in the daytime).  There are plenty of restrooms and bars, so there is never a long wait. 

I was seated in the balcony, so I had to climb several flights of stairs.  There is another lounge area, with couches, chairs and tables, and more bars at the balcony level.  It’s really comfortable and roomy. 

Even though I was seated in the balcony, I still had a great view.  Apparently, the worst seat in the house is only 75 feet from the stage.  You can still see the performer’s face and you don’t feel like you’re watching from a blimp.  The place seats about 2500 people so it isn’t too huge, it still has an intimate feel to it.

Of course, the real test came once Robyn hit the stage.  From the minute she appeared until the end of the show a couple of hours later, she was a ball of energy.  Constantly moving, dancing, and making sure everyone had a great time.  I was really impressed by her.  I also loved that her band were all dressed like mad scientists. 

Once the show started, I was up on my feet dancing.  What else would you do at a Robyn show?  The lady a few rows behind me had another idea.  She thought it would be really fun to bellow at people to sit down for the first half hour of the show.  She sounded like a constipated cow.  Finally, I turned around and suggested that she stand up.  Right after I said that, Robyn played Don’t Fucking Tell Me What To Do, which seemed very appropriate to my situation. 

Pretty soon everyone was up and dancing, even the boys sitting next to me who gave off too-cool-for-the-room vibes when they arrived.  By the end of the show, they were dancing, singing along, and basically losing their shit.  Such is the power of Robyn.

The weirdest thing that happened was that Robyn ate two bananas on stage while she was performing.  I was wondering if maybe she is hypogylcemic, or maybe she just thought it would be funny.  The second time she did it, she threw the peel out into the crowd. 

It was so much fun to be in a room full of people who really loved the music, who were singing and dancing, and having a good time.  Usually in Austin, I have found the audience to be more aloof because…yeah, hipsters…I will stop using that word in this post now.

Here is the set list.  I got this off of a Google search but it seems right to me.  I was too busy enjoying the show to write down the songs.  Sorry if that makes me a bad blogger!

1.”Time Machine”
2.”Fembot”
3.”Cobrastyle”
4.”Call Your Girlfriend”
5.”Get Myself Together”
6.”Dancehall Queen”
7.”Dancing on My Own”
8.Medley: “We Dance to the Beat” / “Don’t Fucking Tell Me What to Do”
9.”Love Kills”
10.”Indestructible
11.”Stars 4-Ever”
12.”With Every Heartbeat”
Encore 1:
13.”You Should Know Better”
14.”Konichiwa Bitches”
15.”Be Mine!”

Encore 2:
16.”Hang With Me”
17.”Dancing Queen/Show Me Love”