Wednesday, January 26, 2011

To All the Concerts I Loved Before - Part 10

Alrighty then...I missed last week in order to devote time to my comic book short that I will be submitting to this week, but the deadline is looming at January 31, 2011.  I'm almost there though, but that has nothing to do with music and that boys and girls is what we are gathered here to discuss today. Last time was mostly about a couple of really bad shows that I went to, but today the shows on a whole were fan-freakin-tastic.  On with it.

Le Tigre at the Glasshouse, March 9, 2002 - Talk about a fun day.  Amy, Rachel and I drove down to Pomona, stopping first in Pasadena to have a look at the Norton Simon Museum--I strongly recommend a visit btw--had dinner and then we were off to see Le Tigre.  First up was Chicks on Speed who I knew relatively little about, but their music was catchy and fun and seemed to be emanating solely from a laptop with some other items around the stage adding to the songs.
One of the things that stood out more than anything else about the show happened during the intermission.  The three of us were waiting for the headliners to appear and out of nowhere someone completely bumped into me.  Relying solely on prior concert-going experience I thought, "Great, someone's picking a fight with me.  Awesome."  I turned to see a shorter guy.  I cocked my head to the side saying, "Ughhhhh."  But he spoke first saying, "I totally wasn't watching where I was going, sorry about that."  I told him it was no problem and that I didn't care and he walked off.  This was a first.  No harsh exchange of words.  My wallet was still in my pocket.  My glasses were not busted up.  It was all an accident, and the man was sincerely sorry.  I then looked around the audience and noticed just how polite everyone was being.  No slam dancing, no male displays of aggression, no douchebaggery of any sort.  It was utterly refreshing.  Joy.
Le Tigre then took the stage touring for their absolutely rocking album Le Tigre.  Again there was a laptop, but this time there were also guitars and they went on to play a great show with everyone politely dancing and smiling the night away.  I have not experienced anything like it since.  "Deceptacon" and "Let's Run" ruled the set list.  A total blast.

Cake at the Santa Barbara County Bowl, Aug 8, 2002 - I almost shouldn't list this as a concert at all.  A friend of mine had free tickets to this show and an extra ticket.  The problem was that another friend of ours was celebrating her birthday and that of course took precedence.  As luck would have it, the night ended sooner rather than later and we rushed out to catch what we could of the show.  Thank god we did.  Now, we did not catch ANY of Cakes set, but we did make it in time to see the last five songs from The Flaming Lips who were touring their Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots album.  My first thought upon making our way to our seats was, "What the fuck have we stumbled into?"  There were disco balls, laser lights, confetti, people dressed in animal costumes dancing around, a screen playing a movie of the drummer as he pounded the hell out of his drums in time to the video.  It was complete madness and I was hooked.  Five songs is all we caught and I would have done anything to stay in that wonderfully psychedelic place for hours more.  Dreadfully not enough time, but an amazing show none the less.

Beck at the Arlington Theatre, Dec 5, 2002 - Now this is more like it.  Beck was touring the Sea Change album, which is very well composed, yet somewhat of a downer when compared to his earlier works, but the real draw for this show was that the Flaming Lips were opening for Beck and that his band would be comprised of the members of the Flaming Lips.  Bonus!  The Flaming Lips brought the crazy with their performance in a continuation from the August 8 show that succeeded in being more nuts than the last time.  There were even more furries running around and more mayhem than before and the crowd received far, far more than they paid for.  I don't remember the song, but at one point they were projecting an ultra-violent scene from Battle Royale while they performed a song that did not match  the tone of the video they were playing.  Very weirdly amazing show.
Then Beck came on stage and the music was great for the past upbeat favorites, but on the semi-downer Sea Change songs, the mood and energy would falter and confuse the audience only to kick up into "New Polution" or "Devil's Haircut."  Fantastic show all around, but The Flaming Lips lead the charge.

Blackalicious at Absinthe, January 17, 2003 - Ugh...okay.  Old age setting in.  I honestly do not remember this show at all.  I remember liking it okay, but for the most part I wanted to go home and catch some Z's.  What the hell was wrong with me.  Like I said, though, I remember that it was a good performance.

Built To Spill at the House of Blues L.A., May 24, 2003 - I really don't remember what album they were touring for this show, but after the performance that changed my opinion of this band the year prior, I was excited to see them again.  The general admission floor was completely packed, so Amy and I went upstairs to watch the show and were treated to seeing one man punch the shit out of another, requiring four security guards to drag the lunatic away.  This kind of put a damper on the evening for me.  Sure, Built To Spill put on a fantastic show, but in the end I was left seeing the crowd that comprises their fanbase...drunken, angry, douchebag men.  Such a vast difference from the Le Tigre show and The Flaming Lips joy fest.

Back again soon.

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