Wednesday - 15/10/03 - (One Way Out - Gyroscope - Less Than Jake)
On Wednesday I saw Less Than Jake supported by Gyroscope and One Way Out.
One Way Out were a generic new school punk band that sounded like a billion and one other generic new school punk bands. Please, please, write another song about a girl or unrequited love because it's become readily apparent that the rich tapestry of music that you are contributing to has yet to tear under the weight of your seemingly endless bloated cliches. And we can't have that, can we?
Then there was Gyroscope. Gyroscope suck.
It's a sad state of affairs when the best thing about your band is the cool afro that the guitarist is wearing, and it was that afro which gave an indication of what type of music Gyroscope make. He looked like he could have easily belonged in At The Drive-In or, now, The Mars Volta; so, essentially, Gyroscope is an Emo band.
However, unlike the abstruse seemingly incoherent lyrics of At The Drive In or the highly conceptualised songs-are-a-metaphor-for-your-friend-who-is-in-a-coma-or-something-equally-esoteric lyrics of The Mars Volta Gyroscope tackle the rare and not oft explored issues of "girls" and "unrequited love". Breathtaking really.
To be fair, this is only based on one song whose chorus was "Girl, I did it for you" or something like that, so... anyhoo, cases of mistaken identity aside, they sucked.
Less Than Jake suck too - new school punk with horns, so, for an idea of their sound, just re-read the One Way Out bit, substitute the band names and make sure you read it thinking "brass section, brass section, brass section." Thinking always brass.
I went home about halfway through their set. Yeah, this concert wasn't that entertaining but I didn't really feel ripped off cause I paid for the tickets with 30 bucks that I happened to find on the ground on the way to work.
Friday - 17/10/03 - (Nick Toth - Katalyst - The Roots - Jurassic 5)
Let's get the first bit out of the way first.
Nick Toth and Katalyst supported the Roots and Jurassic 5. Both are fine DJs but not enough for me to buy one of their CDs.
Having said that, I once held a Katalyst CD in a record store for a few minutes contemplating it.
First, The Roots - then, Jurassic 5.
We sat down for The Roots, which kinda sucked because the distance sometimes gave me the impression that I was watching a DVD or something like that. I really should have been near the front, blowing out my eardrums, being jostled by the crowd and dancing like a fucking jerk, just like Absurdity intended. No matter.
The Roots graced us with an extravaganza; each musician was given the spotlight to do their own thing, bass noodling, organ soloing, some amazing drumming by Questlove and the percussionist, etc.
There was soul, funk, hip hop, rock and a mishmash of styles that transcended the stuff that can be found on their CDs.
It's really all a little indescribable, and, yet, there were still people throwing beer bottles after having witnessed it. I'm not too sure that the people understood the dynamics of what was going on. I mean, they certainly appreciated them as evidenced by that one guy who danced like a jerk and who was kind enough to inform us that The Roots "rocked!" But what does that mean? What does not understanding the dynamics mean?
Shit, I don't understand them either. I don't know why what The Roots did was so amazing, it just was.
I'm gonna leave it there because it would be like describing one of Rodin's bronze casts to someone without the aid of pictures.
Now, we were convinced that Jurassic 5 would be backstage shitting their pants, too scared to follow such an amazing performance, but, to their credit, they not only did very well for themselves they held the crowd in the palm of their hands.
I was wrong to assume that The Roots had blown them off the stage.
See; we're talking about two different schools of thought, one progressive, and the other conservative. The conservative is always going to be the crowd pleaser; it's the easiest to comprehend and the easiest to enjoy. Jurassic 5 are the best at doing what they do - you'll not find a crew that can flip rhymes over old-school beats better than them. Unfortunately, that's all they do.
It would have been better had what The Roots done scared them a little, and, in the process, lit a fire under their asses to help them make the music that they are clearly capable of making.
As it was, such is the technical talent of Jurassic that I could have been at home listening to their CDs and it would have sounded exactly the same.
The decision to leave before Jurassic 5 was done wasn't taken lightly.
I would have stayed but several things worked against me. First, my ride was tired and wanted to leave; second, I decided that I wasn't going to leave until I heard What's Golden, which is what they played as I got to the door.
I kind of regret leaving because it seems that I missed a freestyle session at the end of the night, one that Black Thought re-appeared for. Man, I woulda liked to have seen that, I've heard stories of Thought absolutely disfiguring the microphone.
But leave I did, and I defend my actions thus - (not because I feel the need to, of course, but because I know that I'm gonna have to offer an explanation to several different people, and, also, I feel like a person who has recently renounced God and is constantly muttering "God is dead" not so much to inform others but to reassure himself that he's made the right decision) - : it's like spotting 30 bucks on the ground and not picking it up because, well, you just don't need it, and... fuck! I should have stayed.
Thursday - 16/10/03 - (The Self-Righteous Brothers - Gazonga Attack - Me First and the Gimme Gimmes)
Of all the concerts that I saw that week, however, the one that I enjoyed most was Me First and the Gimme Gimmes.
Both Jurassic 5 and The Roots - as amazing as they both were (well, potentially, in the case of J5) - were sterile in a sense. The Roots because of the distance to the stage and Jurassic because after having heard one song it was as if you'd heard them all.
Me First were just a fun band. The over-emphasised rock n' roll stylings of Spike, the witty banter, the over-indulgence in their own importance, and the energy, I loved the energy.
I mean, I was awed by The Roots, and, musically, what Me First does pales in comparison to what The Roots do. But, if I could just force an analogy: if The Roots are Rodin, then Me First are like a freehand drawing of a duck wearing a hat, not as technically sophisticated but certainly as beautiful.
Did that make any sense?
Saturday - 18/10/03 - (The Camels - Soap Star Joe - Peabody)
Peabody played today at Vic on the Park. I didn't go to this because I went to visit Benitsa Mussolini, just recently returned from Europe. She was kind enough to bring me a copy of Allen Ginsberg's Howl and other poems. Thank you very much love and much respect.
I'm sure Peabody rocked out.
And yet I've got the ugly feeling that all that I heard, all that I received and even all that I walked out on was in vain because tomorrow, at 7:00 in the morning, I have to get up and go to work.
anarchy and freedom is what I want
Reviewed on Sunday, 19 October 2003