SATURDAY, MAY 5: Ever notice how when you’re down to your last dollar you crave expensive things like raspberry and Gorgonzola salads with endives and pear dressing? Or you really want that Odwalla Vitamin B Monster? When usually a cheap o’l Starbuck is enough to get you up? Yeah, well, I’m going on week three of no job-o and suddenly every last thing is desirable and just out of reach. And all my books, I’ve already read them, and my albums, it’s all just the same, and I’m flipping through the paper longing to see Year of the Dog but knowing I must wait till it hits DVD. All I want in the world right now is to buy Blonde Redhead’s 23 but I can’t, so I’ve been listening to it on Myspace because my computer is so old and susceptible to viruses I had to disable my Limewire and I can no longer download songs for free. Yup and you guessed it, I can’t afford to pay 99 cent Itunes. So what’s a girl to do? That’s right! Ruin everyone else’s fun! Happy Cinco De Stinko!
Oh, I tried to get in the mood, but it’s slightly soul wrenching when you can’t even afford the Red Bull from which you drink and all of your friends are starting to resent you. (Hi guys!) The sunset was beautiful, the hotdogs were hot, and sort of crispy and black, just how I like them and the view of Manhattan on top of the roof was breathtaking. But what was it all worth? I watched them, my young and somewhat upwardly mobile friends (this is New York after all, and trust-funds are like STD’s out here; not every one says it up front, and some may never tell at all, but you should assume that at least two out of five are infected) spilling Tequila and dancing around like the carefree greedy boys on Stromboli Island in Pinocchio before they get locked up and turned into squealing donkeys.
In fact, on rooftops all across Brooklyn I could see them, hitting Piñatas and wrestling in fake Mexican wrestler masks. Laughing, loving, shyly moving closer to one another in plastic beach chairs, red party cups filled with Patron and fists clenched around Corona, staring down at one another’s soft worn-in Wallabies and tattered boat shoes (enough with the boat shoes already! What, now we’re sailors? Can we at least be something cool and multi-purposeful next, like doctors?) Yes, I was one poisoned crab salad away from losing it.
So what’s all that got to do with this week’s show, you ask? I don’t fucking know. So yeah, The Arboretums, dudes, I wish I could say they blew me away, but I wouldn’t say they sucked. The guy has a nice voice. It’s ah-ight. They’re like TK Webb light (and TK only needs one guitar, thank you very much) They had moments of actual almost greatness, like when they opened with a slow orgasmic guitar driven Zeppelin-esque “Stairway to Heaven” song. But then they would slip into a monotonous guitar grinding that was neither metal, nor abstract noise (basically it didn’t really seem to serve a purpose) and wasn’t punky.
Now before you say grumpy girl who only likes the B-52’s and wants to go see Year of the Dog, I’ll have you know that my tastes are very sophisticated and that I publish under another name for actual money (when I can get work) and though I might not look like I know about deep south soul or Norway blood-sucking bat-troll metal, I do. My library goes from Bangs to Meltzer, just like every other music geeks. Actually his voice was very beautiful and sort of Todd Oldham-esque and if I had one main critique, it would be that they turn the guitars down a bit and try not to be such a power band and follow those softer instincts, since it feels like they’re pulling that way anyway. Or, go all out and be bluesy loud-as-fuck seventies stadium rock, just, you know, without the stadium.
Cass McCombs on the other hand seemed to suffer from the opposite problem. He could have benefited in my opinion from a little fire under his butt. Which is ironic since he was being backed by The Arboretums. But overall his songs were reminiscent of Oldham, Jeff Buckley and Magnolia Electric Company–already I’m yawning–okay, maybe I am a little biased toward certain things. But ya da ya da. It sure was pretty stuff. And all the happy sailors and their mates swayed in romantic appreciation, bellies full of barbecue, and me, my pockets full of dust.
Reporting Live from New York,
I’m Nikki Darling and You’re not!