Archive for October, 2008

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah @ The Brillobox

October 24, 2008

While it can be argued that life could get better, it doesn’t. that is to say, despite my complaints about and in recent weeks, life is by most accounts pretty swell. It don’t get better than this, and I’m dealing.

The other night (October 21) I went to see Clap Your Hands Say Yeah at the Brillobox. It’s always nice to have national acts acknowledge the existence of Pittsburgh. Hopefully the enthusiastic yet stationary (dance, damn you!) crowd meant that we’ll see them again in the future. It was their first time here, but I think we left them with a good impression.

Admittedly, I am not the number one superfan of CYHSY. I dig them ok, but I was not in a position to sing along. I don’t usually jump on Pitchfork’s bandwagons, because I find the lot of them to be insufferable pricks. I just happen to be very enthusiastic about live music, hence, I was there.

Doors opened at 8, which meant I wouldn’t get there until half-past, and that no music would begin until like 9:40. Approximately. My bad mood in the meantime was diminished by the soundman playing “Oh! You Pretty Things” and “Autumn Sweater” over the system. It was not helped by the fact that the ‘box is non-smoking now, and apparently I managed to time my cig breaks so that I was cancering myself all by my lonesome.

Why grouchy? Well, because I was at a show, alone, again. Either I’m too much of an elitist indie fuck for my friends or they have little to no interest in good music. Yes, it’s more complicated than that, and I could prolly help my case by, uh, making friends with someone at these shows, but whatever. I don’t need another friend, I’ve got too many friends.

So I’m 3/4 or something for going to shows alone in the last six months or whatever, I missed out on Ukiah last Saturday. A big bummer, because when I finally got up the nerves to leave the house (and bathe, jesus. I was all kinds of shambles) and go for a walk around midnite, Howler’s was packed. Packed with all sorts of kids just like me, drinking pbr and smoking cigs and enjoying music that sounded great from Liberty Avenue. I don’t know who the headliner was that night, but between them and Ukiah, it would have been well worth the five bucks to get in.

I did have a date for the CYHSY show, but luck has been absent for me recently, so it fell through. I gave someone at the door my extra ticket gratis in the hopes of shoring up my karma.

9:40 and local band Donora came on. Think Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ second album meets the Cardigans. The bassist was having more fun than an amusement park and laying down some perky five-stringed grooves, and singer/guitarist was confidently belting out some solid pop nuggets. I will most definitely stay frosty for future show of theirs. Maybe buy their EP.

It was a long wait for yrs truly, with nary an ear to squawk into. But joy of joys, it did happen. CYHSY treated the crowd to a propulsive set, including four new songs, two of which laid down before the one song I could confidently sing at least some of the words to- “Satan Said Dance“. It didn’t matter, because barely anyone danced. I guess they’re not down with Beelzebub.

Obviously, albums don’t do any great band’s live show justice and this was no exception. I didn’t care much about the yokels around me, I let myself get sucked into the jangly yet danceable wall of sound. Their records sound flat compared to the live act, obviously. Also, CYHSY does that with their production anyway (something I kind of hate), which is why I am not a superfan.

It was a mixed crowd, some well-dressed, some shabby (hiya!), some young, some old. Two such older dudes in front of me were totally into the show, pumping fists and going on about how CYHSY have put out some of the best songs of the last ten years and obscuring my view. I’m kinda short.

After a nice long set:

Space Junk
Is This Love?
Man at the Bar
Satan Said Dance
Details of the War
Strong Man
In This Home on Ice
Trotsky’s Fence
Gimme Some Salt
Let the Cool Goddess Rust Away
Clap Your Hands!
The Skin of my Yellow Country Teeth
Upon This Tidal Wave of Young Blood

CYHSY departed from the stage to some loud thunderous applause (get it?! ha!). Many in the audience, coincidentally, were demanding that particular song. For our foot-stomping and whistles, we were rewarded with a two-song encore:

Some Loud Thunder
Heavy Metal

While I don’t think that CYHSY can lay claim to towering above their contemporaries, I have a new-found appreciation and interest in them. At the very least, the music is some of the best self-conscious, neurotic dance-rock in this decade that occasionally employs a harmonica. I can safely say they’ve pretty much cornered that market.

Grade: B

And only because I refuse to give such an esoteric outfit anything higher out of principle, and for all the energy in the music itself, the band themselves couldn’t stoke more than a dozen people to move around like their shoes don’t fit.


Savage Animal: In Memorium

October 9, 2008

A few days ago, a beloved member of my family passed, even after undergoing two successful operations for cancer. Old age is something you can outsmart but not outrun.

Savage Animal, the de facto mascot for my house and treasured furry companion has joined the squeaking choir invisible.

Yes, my pet rat died. Yes, her name was Savage Animal. Say it with me:

Savage. Animal.

In actuality, she was only partially my rat- I helped pay a sizable chunk of her medical expenses and made sure she was fed and entertained when the house matriarch was out on *business.

*Frisbee tournaments.

When the topic of Savage’s wake came up, said matriarch, my bfff, accurately stated that Savage was a glue that held a lot of the wonderfulness in this house together.

Those of you who have not had the pleasure of a pet rat, sucks to you. They are as smart as cats (no lie, look it up), more affectionate and are great stress relievers.

They are not, as I may or may not have mentioned, good accessories for games of pool, but are happy to ride shoulders during any and all activity.

Why a wake, you ask? Because she was our mascot, the blind little butterball of fuzz at the bottom of all of our souls.

And yes, enough people express concern over the situation that it is indeed warranted.

Having the trust of any animal makes the experience of being said animal’s human. I recall my folks’ dogs sleeping on my chest when they were puppies, and no matter how lousy a time I may have been having at that point in my life, the same magic transpired when Savage nuzzled into my lap for some sleep.

The past few nights I have come home, I have had to catch myself from calling out and ambling over to her cage to feed her a carrot or scratch her behind the ears.

Though our house maintains a steady regimen of neighbors bleeding over into common area, cooking, pool and porch sitting, the atmosphere is nevertheless subdued by the loss of the curious white rodent who was everpresent, even if she was only poking her nose out from her cage, trying to sniff for someone to pick her up and join in the fun noises.

The cage has been given away, there is a bare spot in the main common room.

Services are TBA and closed to the unwashed masses.