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Thursday, 21 July
Might As Well Jump

I apologize to my tens of readers for the long delay in posts, but you see, last night the wife returned home from her Connecticut safari, and really, thank God, because I was just about out of clean whiskey glasses. (Okay, you got me, I was way out of clean glasses. Having run through all of our bowls as well, by Monday evening, I was drinking Bushmill's out of an old tire. Which, I am happy to report, has been thoroughly cleaned now. By the wife. Her hands look like cooked shrimp now, but at least I'm not finding slivers of steel belting in my gums any more.)

It was fairly horrible while she was away, and not just because of the substandard whiskey receptacles: I possess, after all, a theater major, and so naturally spent a few years drinking moonshine directly from the rancid toilet bowls of hillbillies--we've all been there. (Any of you guys been to Hector's, down in the holla? You know the place--he's the guy who decorates his gin toilet with Chiquita banana stickers, and sometimes pisses on the back of your head when you're leaning down for a slurp. That guy!)

But I'm glad to say that it wasn't all horrible. This last Monday I took the old hacksaw to the prison-imposed ankle device that I assure you I wear only as a fashion statement, and went out for a rocking and rollery concert! A delightful band was playing nearby called the Go! Team, whom I do adore for their odd car-crash dancy songs that feature elements of practically everything--I wouldn't have been surprised had someone started playing a lawnmower onstage.

But first, of course, we had to endure the opening bands. Why? Why do we put up with these oafs? Nobody knows.

We got a weird rap band of sorts first up, which prompted this comment from me: "This is what Smash Mouth would be if they were a hip-hop group." For some reason, the DJ members of these bands always depress me. They're stuck there behind those damn turntables, unable to move or do anything interesting except exude utter coolness, and I always get this fantasy about going down and smashing all their records while they wail like Burgess Meredith when he busts his glasses at the end of the world, and he can't read any books after all.

I sure am a swell guy. Anyway, that went on for entirely too long. Then the next band that nobody in the whole building except for those skeevy blondes who inevitably crowd any stage cares about came on, and they performed what sounded an awful lot like old ABC songs to me. A couple of my friends announced their intention to go across the street to a local dive. "The beer is cheaper there, and it's not 1987 either. We'll come back at 11:30." Sigh. The crowd was clappable and nice and all that, but Jesus. Opening bands.

And you also have to understand what a deeply weird town this is when it comes to music: we are famous for NOT DANCING. For anyone. I swear to you that Bootsy Collins could show up in your private basement party and rip off some unbelievably funky bass riff that practically sets your nuts on fire, and most Seattleites would simply nod their heads up and down, standing in place. We should all be forced to wear monocles and starched collars in public. This is how non-dancey and hopelessly too-cool we are. The grunge sensation--for who wanted to dance to grunge? And who was even physically capable of it?--has a lot to answer for. It basically exsanguinated the entire musical community. How the fuck do you dance to the Screaming Trees?

I watched the Go! Team do their thing as I did--yes--my own chin-nod horseshit along to the great songs from the balcony. I started to get really into it, and, bless my soul, found myself jigging around with my hips, and shuffling my feet. Others around me were doing the same, and the band members were trading off instruments like they were baseball cards, and everyone played everything, except for that one hot drummer girl--for are not female drummers hot?--and besides, they had two drummers anyway!

And at one point--being on the balcony--I looked out over the crowd. It was thrilling. Because they were moving. Up and down, they were going crazy! Lester Bangs described in a great article about the Clash how pogoing is a totally natural reaction when you're in a crowd where lateral movement is not an option, and while I wasn't seeing Clash-like vehemence, what I was seeing was a transformation of a dead-eyed, head-nodding bunch of goobs into a very improbable mass of people moving, moving. It made me grin. And it made me jump up and down.

We ask a lot of things from music. It's rare that we get any of it. But sometimes you get to--have to--jump up and down.

Note: Comments are closed on old entries.


Jump around.
Jump up, old bean, jump up and get down.

Comment number: 005913   Posted by: Auntie Maim on July 21, 2005 06:30 AM from IP:

Hector's was in a Holler. Trust me on this one.

It was Troy's "holla." Troy, with the recycled dandelion wine bottles.

Comment number: 005914   Posted by: KOTWF on July 21, 2005 03:43 PM from IP:

I haven't been to a rockin roller show in years because I'm, you know, old. But it seemed to me that Boston crowds needed to have the floors electrified in order for them to move. Dance, you f*ckers, while you still can! Soon you'll be too old to stay up late, never mind move your prothetic hips around.

Comment number: 005915   Posted by: Jef on July 22, 2005 12:44 PM from IP:

Not even sure how I got this website into my faves (I think I was stoned one night and nonsensically Googled the words "Izzle Pfaff"...dumb luck, that), but I LOVE it!! The writing is always solid and intriguing.

On to more pressing matters: Asslexia is an epidemic that seems to be affecting all parts of our once booty-shaking nation. Here in Lexington, Ky. (a healthy live music scene here), the symptoms defined in Seattle and Boston are nearly identical. People don't want to show emotion, lest they wind up on a terrorist watch list. People don't want to sweat, lest they besmirch whatever clothing they are wearing or, heaven forbid, stink. Just saw The Killers last week in what may be the most beautiful venue in the Midwest, the Palace Theater of Louisville. Although the show was sold out (approx. 4,000), looking over the heads of the crowd from the back I felt like I was at a Fidel Castro speech in Cuba. No movement whatsoever. It was very disheartening for me. They moved a bit on 'Somebody Told Me' and 'Mr. Brightside', but that just made me look at them like sheep. I am 36 and insist on dancing at shows that are dancy, in some hope that the next generation will see that it is fun and acceptable to do so.

Dance On, Funky People!!


Comment number: 005916   Posted by: DanO on July 25, 2005 03:11 PM from IP:

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