the most horrible thing

Posted in writing with tags on January 26, 2009 by MonsoonSeason

hay internet, slow news month for me.

meredith gran of octopus pie just launched a new site, The Most Horrible Thing, based on this comic.  it’s pretty amusing!  you should kill some time with it, if you’re a time killing type.  I wish the third panel was added, but that might be too many dialogue boxes for people to fill out, and then they won’t want to do it.  regardless, faces are priceless.

here’s one I made!


I’ll think more about posts and posting materials and interesting things to talk about


the best of 2008

Posted in music, neither, writing with tags , , , , , on January 8, 2009 by MonsoonSeason

I’m not going to write this:

“as 2008 closes we must reflect on the dramatic effect of things that blah blah blah”

that is boring and nobody likes that.  I’m not even going to really write about it, because who cares?  it was good, that’s enough.  this is what was good in 2008:

best album – hercules and love affair 

hercules cover

I can’t tell you how many times I blasted blind

best live show – devo @ mccarren pool, june 26


more unbelievable than I thought (and I was stargazing)

best book I read – the curious incident of the dog in the night-time by mark haddon

curious incident

yes I know it came out in 2003, I just now read it

best webcomic – octopus pie

octopus pie

meredith gran has created more realistic, likable, and genuinely interesting characters in such a short amount of time

biggest deal – come on


score a billion for the civil rights movement why don’t you

drop yr pants

Posted in music with tags , , , , , on January 7, 2009 by MonsoonSeason

the bears of blue river, clambiner @ doc’s music hall, january 6

let’s preface by recognizing that I’ve seen the bears about six times and I still have no idea as the the words or song titles of any other their songs (save for the new one, more on that later).

this is the problem with being friends with people in a band–you slowly grow to not appreciate them as artists, but just as your friends who are going to play a couple songs and entertain you.  I couldn’t name you one song from the impetuous impregnables, some other guys that I’m friends with.  it just doesn’t seem so urgent; that feeling that you might not see these people for a long time, so you have to soak up every moment, that feeling is absent.  it’s important that they’re playing, but at the moment, it just seems like any other time you would meet these people.  so, a bears of blue river show is like going to the movie, or a book club meeting, but with $1 you-call-its.

so, roll into doc’s around 10, nothing has started, everybody is drinking, typical doc’s.  the bears are on stage, tuning their myriad of equipment.

oh god I forgot not everybody knows about the bears of blue river.  they’re a twee orchestra with a folksy bend.  lots of harmonizing and there’s a toy piano in there and songs about growing up and dealing with stuff.  it primarily serves as musical outlet for gavin wilkinson (which may or may not be true I will admit), who apparently writes all of the songs?  I have not asked about this due to being an impolite conversation piece.  while the roster is constantly changing, the permanent set members tend to be gavin, joey patrick sholes (got it right this time), justin spring, and jeremy bauer.

but what makes this an august occasion is that the bears have added two TWO new members, both of which I don’t know the names of.  there was a girl, who sat by the other girl (time to figure out names), and mostly sang, and then gavin’s new roommate, who stood next to jeremy and did some claps and sang.

this is how bears works:  if you want to be in the band, hang out enough, and you’re good to go.  it’s interesting, since I’m not really used to collectivism being a core concept in bands.  I usually think of bands being 3-5 people who like each other enough to pool together and make a personal sound, which would mean they have to not bring in people whenever.

regardless that is how bears works and it is not my place to make assumptions.  you know what happens when we make assumptions.

so, they got up and running, playing through another lively set.  my friend jayson commented that they’re getting better with each set, and I tend to agree.  they’re getting more comfortable with being on stage (not so much gavin, who has pre-bears experience via this story, nor joey p, who came from arrah and the ferns), more comfortable with the crammed band dynamic.  plus, as jayson said, they’ve played these same songs about 80 billion times so they’re bound to start getting better.

a lively, if mostly seated show.  joey seemed to play a horn part with his guitar, which was kind of disorienting at first, but later was neat.  the new song is called “bacon and legs,” gavin informed the audience with a wry grin.  and I’m not really sure of what the joke was there, but I still smiled.  after all, they’re just some friends on stage, messing around.

following the bears was clambiner, who we didn’t know, nor knew what the expect:

TJ:  I think the drummer said he was in a metal band a couple weeks ago
gavin’s roommate, the new guy in bears (sorry dude):  they do kind of a rap thing
gavin:  they’re hilarious, if you don’t take them seriously.
nox5:  please god please don’t let this band jam please

all of these things came true!  except the metal thing, which I’m okay with.

clambiner consists of three people:  clam, biner, and biner, assuming the two biners are brothers.  the brothers biner.  ha!  clam had a gigantic mane of red hair, billowing from a skull cap which had slits on either side.  big biner had long hair pulled back in a pony tail and constantly smoked, while small biner, looking wildly out of place, was well groomed and unbelievably sweet looking, all smiling goofily at the other members, just having a good time.  I kept looking at small biner, trying to guess an age, a motivation.  all I know is that kid was killing it on keys.

the first song was a tiny rap explosion called “dance dance,” which holds the lyrics “dance dance, drop your pants / bend over baby I ain’t looking for romance.”  then clam did a rap about how he will kill you, I think.  I was too busy laughing to really pay attention, because yes it was ridiculous, but the beats were also really well made, and it’s interesting they put this much work into a joke.  it seemed only fair to laugh along with them.

then they played a daniel johnston cover, which was sort of unbelievable.  and a stones cover, and a ween cover, and then it all made sense.  of course they would do a ween cover.  fans of free exploration and genre dysphoria unite under the common banner of ween covers.  not saying this is bad!  each cover was pulled off with efficiency and warmth.

they ended with two more rap songs, which showed most of the crowd to the dance floor.  even if they weren’t seriously busting it out, talking about booty shaking and body dropping, it didn’t matter.  we were into it.

on a side not I was not into that dude’s hat, with the slits, it made me uncomfortable for some reason

the bears of blue river’s myspace
clambiner’s myspace

ring in the new year with justice

Posted in music with tags , , , , , , , on January 3, 2009 by MonsoonSeason

oh would you look at that a post

justice (DJ set) @ congress theatre, december 31/january 1

to close out 2008, I figured that the best idea would be to drive to chicago with my friend TJ and watch justice DJ with a 1000 other kids.  I should also mention that I’m currently in indiana, which I’m not okay with, but it makes the drive to chicago seem more plausible.  but we went, and it was a very, very good idea.

except for all things concerning money.  things not okay by my standards where money is concerned:

ticket to see people DJ, not live sets:  65
average price of mixed drink at congress:  10
me decking a dude who I thought was going for my wallet:  priceless (this will be explained)

but first, music.  we arrived at 10p, which we learned was a mistake, considering peanut butter wolf had already launched into his set by then.  we stood in the front lobby, in line for coat check, where the glamour (and two other guys, not sure who they were) was playing a pretty dance-oriented set.  two things of note–just hanging out in the front lobby were about 150-200 people, dancing and having fun, which was pretty shocking, considering that it was just a lobby and not the venue proper.  the other thing is that there was zero crossover from the main stage and the lobby, which is an interested architectural feat considering the connecting path to the main stage was just an open hallway.

so, coatless and double fisted with mixed drinks (it was ill-advised to wait in line again for alcohol), we entered the main stage area, where so-me was starting his set.  so-me played a more varied set than the glamour.. which I didn’t know if I was expecting or not expecting, since I had never heard so-me?  I kinda thought he just made t-shirts and videos.  upon inspection of iTunes library, it is revealed that I have heard but one song by so-me, which was “decalomania” off of the ed banger 3 comp, so I had nothing to go on.  but he played electro and pop and rap and it was kind of in a direct line leading towards justice’s set, who took the stage seconds after midnight.  confetti fell on our heads and crosses were lit.

the first song of the new year happened to be “Also Sprach Zarathustra,” which just so happened to be the most epic thing to ring in the new year, so kudos justice.  this was quickly mixed into some electro, some other stuff.  I’m going to be honest, I usually try and catch who played what and in what order, but if I did that, I’d be missing the point of this show.  I had already lost TJ.  my drinks were gone, the cups, scattered.  I just made out with a girl whose name I didn’t even know.  time now for crazy dance party; crazy, sweaty, stupid, even mindless dancing for two whole hours.

well, almost two hours.  about an hour and fifteen in, I accidentally started a fight?  see, there was this dude rubbing up ons, which I expected because it was a gigantic dance party and there was bound to be unintentional and intentional homosensuality, but he kept going for my ass, which was uncomfortable.  but when I looked back at this guy, he looked really sketch–all dropped ball cap and sunglasses and dirty oakland raiders jacket.  so then my mind started racing; what if this man is a thief, and this is his playground?  I have already spent so much money, how will I get home if I have no more money, oh god my parking ticket in south bend is in that wallet, I won’t be able to get my car out, and TJ didn’t have a lot of money, oh crap TJ where are you, and then he went for my ass again so I turned around and hit him in the face.

the guy fell back, more out of shock then being knocked out, and he also knocked over this shorter girl in a blue dress.  and then I don’t know what happened because by then I had definitely split.  coward move, but I didn’t want to be thrown out because TJ didn’t have a phone and I didn’t have a coat.

so, if you’re the guy I hit in the face, or the girl that got knocked over, I’m really sorry, it shouldn’t have happened, but I was dealing with some serious anxiety things and I’m sorry.

anyhow, I spent the next 15-20 minutes chilling in a dark corner of the congress, feeling bad about decking some guy and taking pictures.  then a girl came over and picked me up like this:

girl:  what are you doing?
nox5:  just taking a break.
girl:  come dance!  *picks me up*
nox5:  yes okay
*some dancing*
nox5:  I just hit a guy in the face
girl:  hahaha awesome

so we danced until 2, which is when the set ended, and we kissed goodbye (a polite kiss, that-was-fun,-the-dancing kiss, not a makeout kiss) and I frantically looked for TJ, who it had just occurred to me for the second time that he was missing.  but I found him in the exit so it was okay.  the last song was “we are your friends,” which seemed ironic and contradictory, but simultaneously, a great end to a great night.

the next day, lots of stores were closed and I bought a CD off of one of the guys from russian circles outside of quimby’s.  they’re pretty good, but it’s kinda metal (I am not sure whether or not they would say this about themselves), which I’m not so much about, but hey it’s their life and they can choose to be metal if that is their desire

the glamour myspace
so-me myspace 
justice myspace 
russian circles myspace

I owe ted leo one dollar

Posted in music with tags , , , on July 20, 2008 by MonsoonSeason

ted leo:  we only have til 8:30, so we’re just going to do the encore now.
nox5:  woo!  yeah ted leo!
ted leo:  something something something
nox5:  ‘timorous me’!
ted leo:  but yeah, here’s a few more…
nox5:  I will pay you one dollar if you play ‘timorous me’–final offer!
ted leo:  so yeah, ‘timorous me’.



subject:  I believe I owe you a dollar.

hey Ted,

thanks for playing castle clinton on thursday.  your set was powerful and fun, even if a lot of people in the wings weren’t dancing.  forget those guys, they’re no fun.

anyhow, when you came out for the encore portion, I shouted that I would mail you one dollar if you played ‘timorous me’, whereupon you did so.  I was ecstatic and it was, of course, fantastic.  but I am a man of my word!  may I please mail you one dollar bill?


Nolan Maloney


I have yet to hear back, but when I do, it shall be posted here.

ted leo and the pharmacists @ castle clinton, july 17

anyhow, Ted and the ol’ RX played an exciting show on thursday, to the delight of many kids and the not delight of many old folks.  he was the first show I’ve seen at castle clinton where the majority of the crowd was standing up at the request of mr. leo.  most of the audience was having a good time, jumping about, but there was an enclave of hipsters and old folks on the wings that were seated, arms crossed, disapproving of the standing crowd’s raucousness.  shame on them for not expecting it from punk rockers.

a quick aside about the sound set-up at castle clinton.  it’s refreshing to find that the best sound techs in new york are the ones actually hired by new york, rather than just some mediocre speech sound techs.  these people truly understand and appreciate sound, so it’s always great to go to a river to river show.  it’s perfect quality, and it makes me wish I had seen the avett brothers all the more.

the set was ‘shake the sheets’ heavy, playing at least seven songs from the album.  the other heavy was, obviously, ‘living with the living,’ with a few hits from ‘tyranny of distance’ and ‘hearts of oak.’  the band, as usual, was lively but slightly unapproachable, with ted still being the smiling face of the outit.  this works in their favor, however, as it allows ted’s voice to shine to the forefront and for his messages to be of largest prominence.

not sure what his cover was in the encore, however–sounded like misfits?  oh well.

ghostbusters fanfiction + a venture into local bands + what happened to punk rock that matt & kim was the most raucous band and didn’t have any guitars

Posted in music, neither, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 16, 2008 by MonsoonSeason

here we go again with the hiatuseseses

sorry internet, but I was busy riding a bike from new york to delaware in order to surprise my family vacationing at the beach. I rolled up on ’em towards the end of the annual 4th of july parade along bethany beach, de. tears were shed and beers were shared.

anyhow, onto things that matter to everyone that isn’t just me and my family:

cringe @ freddy’s, july 9

it all started with my addiction/nemesis twitter

twitter, for those not in the know, is a simple update aggregator for normal joes who like the concept of liveblogging, but never have the stones to keep up with it. you basically put down what you’re doing and/or thinking every few hours or minutes and follow all of your friends who are doing the exact same thing. normally, that sort of gimmick-y web 2.0 nonsense doesn’t jive with me, but twitter has such a laid back, don’t-install-applications attitude that it is endeared to me. it’s the internet equivalent of talking to a plant, your plant, in the middle of a public garden.

so I was weeding out the odd followers keeping track of my plant rambling when I stumbled across sarah brown, creator of the cringe reading series. the idea of cringe was interesting, seemingly funny: people read diaries and bad goth poetry and everybody drinks alcohol. it was like what I did back home during college (and will continue to do so probably). and it so happened that the first wednesday of every month, it was going down at freddy’s, which is like three blocks away.

but I’ll catch it next month, because the avett brothers, my favorite bluegrass/punk rock outfit, was playing a free show at stuyvesant high school for the river to river festival. OR SO I THOUGHT

a smoking girl around the area (both in activity and attractiveness) told me that they were sold out, inquiring if I knew other things in the area. I told her that I was thinking about cringe, but when she asked where that was, I told her I was clueless. oh well. my lovely male friend sam called and I had him give me directions, and then went to it with my friend rachel (also attractive I’m such a ladies man fuck).

situated in a seedy dive surrounded by warehouses and brownstones in a maybe-this-isn’t-a-great-neighborhood part of park slope (!), freddy’s is the kind of bar where you instantly don’t feel welcome. there’s a bunch of regulars drinking a bunch of regular drinks, a jukebox blaring peaches that nobody pays attention to, and off-putting wall decor. eventually, we made our way to the back room, which sort of looked more like an employees-only entrance, to hear a tale of a girl having sex with a guy in a sleeping bag.

the stories, as advertised, were painfully embarrassing and compelling. when a guy broke out his hand-painted ghostbusters fan fiction, it reminded me of the zine style hand drawn comics I did in third grade. the first, hand man, was about a superhero hand that fought the evil dr. foot. the other, slick, was about a retarded snake in a bow tie that got everything wrong. I only knew how to draw snakes and hands and feet, so the stories were a natural fit.

I have two large regrets about the evening, however: first, I should have come earlier; second, there won’t be another cringe next month until the middle of august, whereupon I will have already returned to indiana. problems. I hope that cringe is still going down when I move back in a year. until then, I guess I’ll just follow the tweets. on twitter. alone.

the kiss off, the king left @ pianos july 10

here’s what I said on july 10th:

“I can’t just keep going to famous bands I’ll lose my indie rock cred let’s go to pianos it’s a nice bar”

and so I did. trolling pianos’ website allowed me to learn of a few bands I hadn’t heard of, and it was either this or cake shop. the king left sounded great on the internet, so I went there. I showed up just as cinema cinema was ending. sorry sorry guys guys, I’ll get the next set, I promise promise.

so, I sat at the main bar and played a game with the bartender. the game is called “no really I’m fine I don’t want to drink.” this game is played by looking intently at the bartender until he looks back at you. then, you raise your wallet (you have to be holding your wallet or purse for this to work) and nod at the bartender. the bartender will acknowledge your glance, stall a moment, then turn back to his glass polishing or talk to other customers. occasionally, he will take other orders that have walked up to the bar far away from where he’s standing. after ten-fifteen minutes of gametime, he’ll reluctantly ask you if you want anything, whereupon you should give him a sugary smile and say “no really I’m fine I don’t want to drink at all.” he’ll nod and walk away.

oh wait don’t do that at all. also, if your bartender is a long-haired semi-muscular guy with condescending eyebrows, tell him that he’s a fucking asshole. or wait, nevermind, you won’t get that far. he’s too busy with HIS HEAD up HIS OWN ASS.

the guy in pianos’ show room, however, is way more amiable. he serves you drinks promptly and smiles.

I got to the show too late to see cinema cinema (sorry dudes), only just arriving as the kiss off graced the stage. they had a very approachable, marketable sound. if whole foods made tv commercials that were generally upbeat and featured 20-30somethings making food, maybe feeding their kids. in short, nothing like a kiss off whatsoever.

they sounded clear, vocally-driven, and beat heavy, if not light. it did the trick, if not generically. the only component that seemed out of place, sonically and physically, was the guitarist. it seemed as if guitars were added as an afterthought, adding little squiggles in and random notes, which I suppose was placed in to make the music feel less sleek. plus, the guy was dressed in all back, with a golden cross and geddy lee of rush’s hair. everybody else was just dressed like some dudes you would see at a bar. he was… creepy.

the king left, who I told the cheery ticket-taker I was here to see, came next. they liked radiohead. a lot. the singer had a tiny tattoo of the people shaking hands from the cover of ok computer, they list it as an influence, and they sounded exactly like radiohead if they decided to have a distinctively positive sound. maybe like pablo honey, but with depressing lyrics. I don’t know really what’s more to say. they were good, they just didn’t impress me.

it’s an interesting thing I’m learning about local new yawk bands–they’re by and large impressive, talented people, but with so many impressive, talented people, the music just sort of melts into a sonic soup. a delicious sonic soup, but one that has so similar ingredients that each bite just tastes the same. what I’m come to realize is that if you’re going to go to a rock and roll show in this town, you’re probably going to have a good time. you’re going to drink a few overpriced liquors, contemplate purchasing band materials, and never feel bad about leaving a little bit early. it’s just something to kill some time–not an event.

which is what I did during motel motel (what’s with the repeating band name thing? man man, the ting tings, the aforementioned cinema cinema?). I watched a few songs, took some pictures, noted that they were technically proficient but not entirely accomplished songwriters, and left. I bought some falafel, and caught the F train as soon as I entered the station, but it felt bittersweet getting on. Even with all this good music, catching the train home without having to wait half an hour was the highlight of the evening. 

f yeah fest @ club exit july 13

I take it back, I found an event

the highly anticipated f yeah fest finished their tour right in sleepy greenpoint, brooklyn, at a club that usually doesn’t have a lot of shows. club exit: a dance club with no ground floor, a swirling, psychedelic popsicle of a club, multi-tiered with a beautiful frosted-glass bar. who would have thought that it would house the most raucous, ham-fisted, drooling-lunatic punk rock show of the summer?

I arrived late, but whatevs, clubs always start late. japanther took an extra half hour to set up, focusing less on their instruments and more on their large banner that kept falling down. sadly, it’s what happens when you try to hang a giant cloth with scotch tape. I watched and had a beck’s. I forgot that beck’s was so good–I’ve been used to drinking amstel light, which is apparently the grown-up hipster beer, after they’ve stopped desiring chug-a-lug nights fueled by pbr.

these thoughts danced in my head until I finally realized that I forgot my camera at home. “shit,” I thought. “shit shit shit. the one show that I wanted to take pictures of.” I tried to justify that, if I bought a funsaver from the corner deli, that the pictures would be lo-fi, and thus ironic or something, and thus fit the ramshackle nature of the f yeah tour. having reviewed the pictures, I was wrong, and I wasted my nine dollars, but I’m still contemplating putting them on flickr.

also, those visiting from flickr: hello!

so I got back just as japanther was starting. I’ll be the first to say it I JUST KNOW IT but I thought the drummer’s stage banter was fucking terrible. he just kept telling us where the band was from, changing it sporadically, and telling us that their music was “just rock and roll.” yeah, dude, I got it. you’re just rock and roll. it’s apparent through your fucking music. just shut up and please continue rocking me.

and rock me they did. they play a fists-up, adolescent screaming match, singing songs about girls, about eating hot dogs on a beach and then swimming, about nighttime, and it sounds very much like a confused teenager not knowing how to vent his thoughts, and it sounds very awesome. the music, as barked at the audience several times during his banter, is incredibly no-frills: it is guitar; it is drums. it’s the sonics with less members on 2x speed; it’s white blood cells-era white stripes with no pretense. it is loud, and fast, and the perfect band to start off the last location of the f yeah tour.

next up, team robespierre, strewn about on the floor like dan deacon. I remember thinking that they weren’t that great when I heard them on myspace, but god damn if they didn’t make the party go live. during japanther, most of the kids just banged their head, but team r had everyone pushing and shoving in the second most gleeful happinesspit of the night.

let me explain: a happinesspit is something that occurs when everybody is having a genuinely great time, and instead of running into each other, the crowd just surges back and forth, smiling and laughing. if you get hit in the face, so what? they didn’t mean it! it’s just a good time for everybody! this phenomenon is usually aided by the use of a keyboard.

how to describe what team r does? the vocals range from white boy rapping to blood brothers (rip) style yelps to sultry soul singing. the keys squiggle and dance, but they also lead the rest of the music. the drums and guitars struggle to dictate the pace. the lead singer/rapper/guy is so charismatic, as well–he walks through the crowd, hugging kids, inviting them to sing with him, jumping up and down. it’s a colorful explosion, a burst of energy, perfect for 100 second party starters, with the perfect running time of 30-35 minutes.

also on the floor were monotonix, who are fucking terrible. but that doesn’t stop them from having a good time! butt rock metal mixed with an insane gg allin growler had the kids shaking it, but I couldn’t get with it. it was definitely funny to watch them cavort around, climb on stuff. the highlight of the set came when a bass drum was lifted in the air, the drummer climbed on top of his bass drum, sat down, and played the snare and crash drums, which were also held up by the crowd. almost all of the players and their pieces were aloft at one point or another, until monotonix was all but an unpleasant, awkward memory, washed away by the sea of humanity at club exit.

up next, paint in black. punk rock. unimpressive.

after them, the highlight of my night, brooklyn’s own matt & kim. there can’t be much said about the duo that hasn’t been said better elsewhere: they’re married, they made a band on a whim, kim is an enthusiastic drummer, matt talks a lot and is super damn excited, and they are cute, super cute, but without being nauseating like mates of state. they slam their head, talk about friends and happy stuff, and generally have a good time.

almost too good of a time. the happinesspit for matt & kim was out of control, the whole club seemingly crammed in and surging in the delight of matt & kim. I was thankful to be in the thick of it, even if this meant getting a big puffy spot below my eye and breaking my glasses. I was having a great time, trying my damndest with the funsaver to take brilliant pictures, and not caring about my failure. it was bliss–the most punk rock, throwdown bliss ever.

when the closer of their set came in, with “silver tiles,” matt didn’t even have to tell us that the song was about brooklyn–we all knew. when he refered to “all our hopes and all our friends,” he wasn’t just singing about the people they know personally, he was s speaking about everyone in the room, and everyone that we knew. it was touching, endearing, and totally fuck-yeah fun.

but after that I couldn’t see anything because my glasses were fucked so I went home. sorry dillinger 4 and circle jerks. I’ll catch you next time: same f yeah tour, same f yeah venue. 

why devo might be the best argument for a band that gets old to continue to play songs together

Posted in music with tags , , , , on June 29, 2008 by MonsoonSeason

devo, tom tom club, dan deacon @ mccarren pool june 26

thursday proved to be more interesting than thursdays usual tend to be with performances by devo, tom tom club, and dan deacon.  well, maybe not tom tom club.

after paying a whopping $58 (!) dollars at the door, I arrived at a nearly empty mccarren pool.  it is a mammoth area, larger than most community pools I’ve experienced, and of course dilapidated, as most abandoned structures are.  paint peeled from the bottom of the pool (which never dipped below six feet deep), graffiti warmed the oddly-placed cylindrical structures jutting out from the sides.  in essence, your typical LiveNation venue.

dan deacon was just starting off his incredibly short set with “the crystal cat.”  the crowd surrounding dan’s table was an odd mix:  devo dads who seemed disinterested; hipsters trying their damnest to have a good time; photojournalists; toddlers.  dan didn’t seem to notice the mixed audience–he was too busy fucking killing it, despite the raw deal he was getting from the sound guys (half his sound was from his front speakers, half from the stage–gave the sound a weird echo).

the highlight of the set for me came about halfway through with “snake mistakes.”  dan cleared everybody back into a large circle and pulled out one hipster who was dancing incredibly hard and had this exchange.

dan: how’s it going?
hipster:  great, man.
dan:  okay, here’s what’s happening:  we’re all dying from a terrible poison–
hipster:  okay.
dan:  we don’t have long to live.  and you, you have come running back with the sole antidote.
hipster:  cool.
dan:  so you need to reach out your hand and high-five everyone here–everyone, stick out your arms–in order to give them the antidote.  but you need help handing it out, so you need to grab one person and have them run with you.  and then they’ll grab someone, and they’ll grab someone, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, until we’re all running.

so we all went for a brisk run.  personally, I got a bit overzealous and snatched up five or six people, but it was the same effect.  some dickhead kept holding out his hand and raising it before someone could grab it, so somebody grabbed him by the waist and pulled him along.  I have never seen a person so legitimately shocked to be touched by another human.

dan deacon’s appeal is not his music, but in the interaction of people enjoying the sounds that he’s making.  the music is secondary (although still fabulous) to the experience of listening to music with other people and expressing it through various outlets.  in this case, it was going for a group run, or building a human tunnel throughout mccarren pool.  it was not just a concert, but an experience; not just a performance, but a mood enhancer.

tom tom club was boring and a huge let down and that’s all I’ll say about tom tom club.

devo started their show with a gigantic video display showing the history of devo.  they graced the stage wearing their yellow jumpsuits and red power ziggurats with grand aplomb, strapping on their instruments and instantly launching into music.  it was a big mess (I mean a really big mess); hit laid way to b-side, b-side belied hit.  “whip it” was the third song, “freedom of choice” and “gut feeling,” the closers.  it was a mix of expected and surprising, angsty and joyous.

the shocking part of the entire performance was that they sounded exactly as they did in the 80s–vibrant, youthful, coy, raw.  although “satisfaction” was just a hair slower than it was on the SNL video way back in the long, long ago, devo still played it was flawless voice and timing.  they moved in unison, with mark jutting around from guitar to keys to pom poms to boojie boy costume to back again.  even though these guys are like, what, fifty?  they’re still outclassing and of higher stamina than most of the bands they’ve influence–so much for de-evolution.

also interesting was the crowd’s intense mixture:  dads, moms, grandmothers, son, hipsters, preps, punks, cowboy hat guys (maybe just hipsters-double-irony?), nerds, muscleshirt clad frat guys–they all came to give the past a slip.  kids were jumping up and down with their parents.  it speaks of the universal qualities of devo’s music.  the themes of disillusion with the present and the uncertainty one might feel about the future speak intergenerationally and thus each generation discovers devo with different yet similar ears and experiences.  and this is all possible because devo refuses to be placed on the shelf that popular music has always tried to place it on–the kitschy and the unnecessary.

but in doing so, the idea of de-evolution has failed–music has evolved and can’t move backwards.