SATURDAY, APRIL 7: Lechaim! I hope you all had a lovely Passover. I know that I did. In fact, the last week has been filled with both grand confusion and hope, much like the monotheistic religions themselves. Not following? Please, let me explain:
I live in a Puerto Rican neighborhood, on the same street as an old European-looking church complete with Quasimodo bells that ring every hour. Last Sunday, I awoke to the deep, rich sounds of these bells…except that the sound didn’t stop. I shook my head just to check, and when I realized the ringing wasn’t coming from lack of sleep, I popped my head outside the window and saw hundreds of families walking down the street in a somber procession, each carrying a bright-green palm frond (this is New York, folks: there are no palm trees here. And when I say “no” I mean NO!) It was quite a sight, and it kinda warmed my heart, that pretty little parrot green. It made me think of home. Which got me thinking: You know what I miss most about L.A.? K-EARTH 101.1 and KLOS. Hell yeah, the oldie stations are the only way to go if you’re in traffic. In N.Y. there is no traffic, just bunions and crazy bagmen on the subway trying to sell you magic beans. Dear Angelenos, don’t ever bitch about traffic again unless you’ve had to sit next to a urine-soaked junkie dressed up like a cell phone on the L train. Enjoy your DJs, throw away your Ipod, you have RADIO!
Which brings me to the point (I have one I swear!): the past, repentance and patience (am I pushing yours yet?). I was privileged enough to get on the Sub Bop list to go see Low at Webster Hall on Friday night—a great, loved band from bygone days. I’ve never been to Webster Hall before, but I’ve passed by it many a time and I always sort of equated it with, like, the Henry Fonda in L.A. But I was wrong. Whoever decorated this place was definitely on acid. It’s completely tricked out like a dungeon inside, with creepy Alice in Wonderland, Kama Sutra and Jack Nicholson Joker faces and weird alien heads protruding from the dark-red walls like they’re about to come to life, step out and murder you.
The first half hour of Low was awesome, but then they started to lag, and soon half an hour dragged into an hour dragged into two… dragged into a half-hour-long encore! And although their melodies and harmonies pretty much can’t be challenged (note to the Fruit Bats and Gwyneth Paltrow’s husband’s band: just give up, stop writing songs about balloons and colors and admit that you suck) by any other contemporary (i.e. not baby boomer) band, they can be boring as fuck. At one point, Alan Sparhawk joked, “Hey, next song’s a slow one.” Har har, fuckface, it would’ve been funny if it weren’t so painfully true. This is when the actual decorative quality of the walls came to my attention and started to close in on me in a sweaty suffocating…wait for it…slowness. On a side note, at the end of the show (yes, I made it all the way through!) I found myself standing unusually close to Sub Pop co-founder Jonathan Poneman. Instantly flashing back to my 14-year-old inner child, I yelped, “Ohmigod it’s Jonathan Poneman!”
Last night was back to Studio B (A pattern! A pattern!) to see Erase Errata, Adult and Child Abuse. Charo, Mateo Nipper and I arrived just in time to hear the tail end of Child Abuse (again), who were awesome as usual. But the reason for my attendance was the grand dame of the ball, Erase Errata. Holy holiday week, these girls are good! Shit! I was expecting muff central but was happy to see peeps of all sexes, sexualities and styles. They’re so tight it’s un-f’ing believable. People were dancing and shoving in a general celebration of good vibes and sweat. Watching Ellie, the bassist, was sort of like jerking off for the first time, thinking, “You mean I could have been doing this this whole time? Idiot!” Like, I can’t believe I missed all those opportunities to see them in order to, I donno, paint my nails or flip my hair.
Next up was Adult, who, I have to be honest, I had also never seen—and, aside from listening to that one album with the legs sticking out from behind that car on the cover, my exposure was very slim. They sort of ruled it though; in fact, they sort of burned the stage down. It was Satan’s Barmitzfah, and Adult was the hired band. And you know Satan’s a Jew, Jesus being his mortal enemy and all. Nicola Kuperous shouted out her lyrics with the urgency of an angry drill sergeant—she sounded how I imagine Hitler and Betty Page would sound if they got into a screaming match… and if they were the same person. The whole thing was very the Cure-meets-electro-meets-Linda Blair. So, basically: loved it!
All in all, it was a blast from the past: no N.Y bands, only places we’ve already been and songs that make us think of home. But that’s all right, because like Heinz on fries, some things are worth the wait. Today He has risen, He did rise, and in the words of the great Patti Smith: “Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine.”
Reporting live from New York,
I’m Nikki Darling, and you’re not.