As I turn another year older, it seems appropriate to reflect on where I am in life, and how it feels to be hovering between past and future selves. Am I standing? Am I sitting? Can I slow down? I don’t want to spill my drink.
A few weeks ago we went to see SALES during their return trip to California. This time the venue was Rickshaw Stop, and this time the show was all-ages. I didn’t realize it beforehand, but as we were lining up to have our IDs checked, I saw the black Sharpie x’ing out the backs of one pair of hands after another. It had probably been a good ten years since I’d seen those tell-tale no-drinks-allowed markers.
By now you’ve read as much as you’d probably care to know about last weekend’s Outside Lands festival. Either you were there yourself and needed to get filled in on whichever acts you missed; you weren’t there but experienced it vicariously through tweets, blogs, and livestreams; or didn’t care in the first place (in which case it seems doubtful that you’d be reading this now, so maybe that third option doesn’t apply).
You’ve heard that Hot Chip closed out their set with a Springsteen-into-LCD cover. Tame Impala was transcendent. Wilco subjected the audience – once again – to the entirety of their new Star Wars LP before obligingly playing some hits. Kendrick Lamar was king; Fantastic Negrito was rolled up. The Barbary Tent was too far away; but the mini golf addition to Winelands was a neat idea. The weather was awesome.
But this isn’t a music blog. It’s my blog. Yes, it masquerades as a music blog, but that’s all part of an elaborate long con to occupy a corner of the Internet with personal memoirs puzzled together via handstamps, ticket stubs, and record sleeves. Shows are signposts, really. Reminders to write. About… whatever.
And today’s whatever is all the other stuff that resonated with me during my Outside Lands weekend. Objectivity and setlists can be found elsewhere. In fact, MH is working on a more thorough Oral History of Outside Lands 2015 for the parent blog. Maybe some of my more review-y comments will show up there.
Destination Dobb’s Ferry for beers, burgers, and four innings of the Giants game prior to a show at The Rickshaw Stop. I was just finishing up explaining to MMJ that I had been remiss, this year, in taking advantage of our local music venues. Rickshaw does such a good job scheduling exciting new talent; their website is detailed and informative; most of their shows are under fifteen bucks. Why don’t I do this more often? In the days before technology made it easy to forget phone numbers, birthdays, and director credits, isn’t this how we all used to discover new bands? Isn’t this more fun than scanning music blogs for free downloads or listening to a tinny podcast through one earbud at our desks?
In 2005, I showed up at MI’s Yuba City house in a dress. It was Halloween. His ex was playing Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s debut album in the living room stereo, and she made him admit – to my face – that he did, indeed, like the album. Not love it, maybe, and he certainly didn’t think it deserved all of the made-up accolades I was trying to bestow upon it. But he liked it. In spite of himself.
MH and I had been debating Sweden vs. Australia again. I continued my decade-long devotion to that magical Nordic cradle of pop perfection, and MH produced one piece of Aussie evidence after another. It’s a pointless argument. Our musical landscape is constantly enriched by both regions.
But it became even more interesting when we continued the discussion at Rickshaw Stop a few Fridays ago when Swedish-Australian disco duo Say Lou Lou were headlining the Popscene event. An argument ender? No. Just a beginning.
MH is a passionate college basketball fan (being the one among us to have attended a school with a decent program), so the idea of co-opting the NCAA tournament format as a successor to the Rock ‘n Roll Roulette ranking process was immediately appealing. The Idle Time Tune Tournament was born.
Then we argued about which Say Lou Lou song should make the cut…
I’ve never thought dancing in my plush theater recliner during a movie was appropriate. But I’ve also rarely been to a screening where the live musical accompaniment was worth bobbing my head to. Leg shuffling, even less so.
So when I won tickets to see Cibo Matto perform “New Scene” as part of San Francisco Film Festival’s Live and Onstage series, I was pretty excited. I had no idea what to expect beyond the program description: “new musical soundtracks to a number of wild and abstract short movies to be played in this one-time-only performance.”
The wild and abstract almost won out, as I spent more time than expected staring in sheer bewilderment at the screen. Enough with the fly on the naked woman, Yoko Ono. I get it. Or, more precisely, I maybe don’t get it, but I’ve had enough.
My favorite foray into peculiar cinema was the thirty minute version of Oskar Schlemmer’s Triadic Ballet produced by Bavaria Atelier GmbH in 1970. It was like a Jim Woodring comic making love to a De Chirico painting in a candy shop.
It’s been a good, better, best kind of week. And it only took through Tuesday.
By the time we were standing downstage right (LDG: “Right? Where are you? That’s left!”) for Sylvan Esso’s return trip to The Fillmore, I had already reevaluated my stance on a previously despised commerce-driven holiday; rekindled a list-driven exploration of Nordic pop; and rediscovered a central coast hideaway, heretofore nothing more than a power plant curiosity, that is home to both a bevy of sea otters and a treasure trove of Shakespeare aficionados.