Lust in translation
What's that old Beatles song — the one about how sometimes you don't get to see the artist you've been waiting weeks to see because there's a swarm of scared suburbanites, but instead the other band on the bill the rules so hard that the night ends up being a total win anyway? 'Cause that's the kind of night we had on Friday when we went out to catch R. Stevie Moore and Deerhoof at Mercy Lounge.
While we knew that Joshua "Force Field of Lust" Radin was playing a sold-out show downstairs at The Cannery Ballroom, we didn't realize that said force field not only inhibits the ladies from keeping their underthings arid, but also eliminates his fans' ability to parallel park, negotiate a side street with oncoming traffic or make a motherfucking decision. It was like the suburbs had decided to exact their revenge on us for all of our shit-talking. Much to our chagrin, while we were stuck in parking-lot purgatory, indie-rock pioneer and recently repatriated expatriate Moore was plying his patented off-kilter pop. From what we hear, half our friends were weirded out and half were totally stoked, which sounds like it was right up our alley.
We did make it in time to catch U.K. synth-and-drum duo Ben Butler and Mousepad. The first song reminded us of Lightning Bolt meets The Legend of Zelda, but the novelty wore off pretty quickly. The band had all the prog-rock tricks up their sleeve — which is totally our thing — but when they were combined with glitchy, artsy-fartsy synth sounds — usually our thing, we swear — it just didn't click for us. The turn-on-a-dime changes seemed forced and anti-climactic, and every time they hit a solid groove they went and did something stupid and extraneous. (We call it "Owner of a Lonely Heart" Syndrome.)
Deerhoof, on the other hand, were fucking awesome. It was sort of like having the best parts of our favorite records playing at the same time and then cranking up the "weird" knob. And not weird like "I should cross the street before these people talk to me" weird, but more like "y'all are connected to a different cosmic plane altogether" weird. We definitely rocked out, definitely did a bit of un-Spin-like shimmying and a lot of slack-jawed gawking at a band that has complete and utter mastery of their performance. That band is off the proverbial chain — even the "Force Field of Lust" couldn't ruin that.
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin were already a few songs into their opening set when we turned up at Exit/In around 9:15 Saturday night. We're just going to lay it right out there: We love this band. There's something about their particular brand of upbeat Midwestern power pop that's so damn charming as to be irresistible. We like to think of them as the evil parallel-universe Weezer, from a world where they didn't implode after Pinkerton. Oh, how we wish we lived in that world.
SSLYBY played more or less how we expected. Their songs are simple and translate well to the stage, particularly the upbeat tunes from their first two records, which they leaned on increasingly toward the end of their set. As far as we were concerned, we could've left the Rock Block right after Boris Yeltsin played "Glue Girls" and we would've felt pretty good about the night. We can only hope that they come around again for a longer set soon.
To be honest, we came to Exit/In with absolutely no interest in Tokyo Police Club. They've popped onto and off of our radar a handful of times over the past few years, never staying long enough for us to get a grasp of what their deal is. But the young'uns in attendance promptly lost their shit when the PA faded and the stage lights dimmed. Ever seen someone crowd-surf at a low-energy power-pop show? We have now.
Eventually we started to warm slightly to TPC. After all, why should their inconsequential pop music be judged any differently than the inconsequential pop music we were really there to see? But everything felt a little too wholesome, a little too clean-cut. Their set was full of songs that might work better in the background of an MTV remake of Degrassi than as the focal point. Tokyo Police Club are not a bad band — they're just not an exciting band. By the time they hit their encore, we hit the door, cursing ourselves for not being in the loop on the Mumford & Sons secret show that was already wrapping up by the time we were looking for something else to catch — at least the kids inside seemed to have a good time.
How'd this glitter get in our hair? Email the firstname.lastname@example.org.
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