Sunday, June 08, 2003

No, Really. This time I'm Back

I've noticed I haven't really been keeping this up lately. Especially last night when I was out and something hysterical happened and I thought "I really must write about this" -- more of which, later -- and realized that I had written more than a sentence or two in weeks.
I hope I can manage to a bit better.
Part of the problem is my wonky computer that since I've gotten the Internet again is prone to crashing. Another part is me being in #sinister all the time. After being away so long, I'd forgotten how addictive that can be, and it's induced me to not practice my guitar or piano or write or do too much else when at home. And posting from work is weird. It's not quite as private and leads to work-related ing: "This soy latte tastes like /soy/" says some woman, or "This hot water I put over ice has gone all cold!"
Well, yes, it would really, wouldn't.

Hopefully, I'll get some changes going on within this site soon. I've got somone offering to fix up this computer and the promise of a new one within a few weeks, so hopefully I can include some more local links to places like Go! Studios and the Cat's Cradle and some local bands so you can have a better idea of what I'm going on about.

I haven't been going out quite as much -- paying off bills and saving money for coming guests and trips to Scotland do suck up the available funds, as radio work does time.
I have two shows a week for the summer Wednesdays from Midnight to three am and the old Friday 3 to 5 am slot. I'm also on the music staff now, so I go to their weekly meetings and spend time listening to stuff to review it. This week it's The Eaves (imagine Trembling Blue Stars with Cure-y overtones).
But I do go out a bit -- again, see below. A show or two a week and trivia night at the Skylight Exchange, for example. No dates, sadly, but this is largely my fault I suppose.

Now... Last night.
It was Go! Room 4, a show of local bands, Pleasant, Gerty and North Elementary. The latter two had played a benefit show at the Cradle last Friday, of which I cought NE. They (NE) are rapidly becoming one of my favourite local acts. Rock Music, I says, and alive and kicking. If there's a continuum of pop into power pop and into rock, Elementary goes through the cusp of power pop and resides mostly in the rock section and it shows in their performance. Loud! Guitars into the speakers! Excess of Animal Spirits, as they would have said in the Long Ago. Their saving grace -- and what prevents them from becoming a tedious bog-standard mainsteam act is their twin-born since of play and musicality. The music might be loud, but it's well thought out, comprehensible and fun. Both to listen to and to watch performed. Their album -- Out of Phase -- is great, but -- of course -- they're better live, and what comes of as more poppy and less interesting recorded shows it rocky spine in performance.
Pleasant started things off. I know next to nothing about them -- I'd not heard of them before. They were a sort of off-kilter rocky, a hard-edge sound delivered with a sort of catchy, punk-tinged squeaky vocalist in a Star Wars Storm Trooper tee. Not having heard them before, it was hard for me to make any real judgements about them. It was a good opening act for the show; hopefully they can get a bit more together in their act and polish up some before too much longer.
In between came Gerty. I must have missed them last week at the Cradle, cause I'd remember these guys. I really liked them. Good, good music with an ace performance. Their music was the poppiest of the night, with an explicit and delicious 80s edge to it. They had some glitches with their imaginary drummer but carried on anyway. Vocals were split between the guy and the girl, both of which had strong sound. Fun stuff! They've got a new album out and gave away a copy in a dance contest during their 80s-iest songs. My friend Lisa was there and for their set we sat on the stairs deriding our own ability to dance -- "I need a short for when I'm dancing: 'I'm not epileptic!' " -- and feebly, ironically twitching to the beat. She stood up on the balcony to do her Molly Ringwald/Breakfast Club Dance (dead on, it was) and won. I thought "That is the stereotypical night out with Jay. Sitting in a corner mocking something and then WINNING it by accident." Typical. I people can cofirm this.
The boy singer seemed really to like Lisa, "The Girl on the Stairs", and besides calling her down to the stage to collect her prize, he later gave her another album. It was quite odd when later, as he was collecting email addys for band releases, he asked me, "You guys have the same address, right?"
Oh yeah, so you hit on the girl THEN think she's muh woman?! Seems me and Gerty-boy needed to step outside and discuss ettiquette. That or property rights, one.
But we didn't. And I got one of their albums, even if *I* had to pay $5 for it. But I did get a free sticker.

The night was elsewise pretty grand: I got a free beer and played a great new 80s videogame (Some racing game where you're a yellow car collecting flags and being chased by red cars. You can use a smoke screen to stop 'em! Anybody know names?) John, the singer from NE, knew Lisa and her fanzine, Thunderpants. Admit it. You love the name. He volunteered to make a disc for the second volume. This is where I blunder into the scene. John leaves with Lisa pondering making a new one and me volunteering (begging? "Really, I've got degrees in criticism and writing! I write reviews!") to help.

And now some sundries:

Book of the day: Ummm. I've been eschewing real books lately in favour of decade-old Dr Who novels from Virgin and BBC books*: I've gone through Last of the Gaderene, Love and War, The Scales of Injustice, First Frontier, The Tomb of Valdemar, Blood Harvest and am currently reading Nightshade. I've been given a copy of Pynchon's Mason and Dixon, but it looks so massive and daunting there on my nightstand I hestitate to pick it up.

Word of the day: Contre-temps. A very me Gallicism I've been using of late, meaning literally "against-times". A good description of a social conflict between a scandal-inducing disagreable and a snide look. Sort of the penetrating, low-level effect that would send undettes through Society.

This post brought to you by: The Magnetic Fields cover of Bowie's "Heroes", "Come Back from San Fransisco"; Kings of Convience, "Toxic Girl"; Sondre Lerche's album "Faces Down"; and The Eaves.

*As they STILL haven't gotten any in the US since last May...

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