Monthly Archives: February 2009

Tokyo Police Club, Born Ruffians, and Harlem Shakes at Webster Hall on 2/25

Filed under concerts, music is my boyfriend
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I went to see Tokyo Police Club at a sold out show at Webster Hall on Wednesday night. For the past year, this band has been my go-to when I want to listen to something fun and familiar. And you need a lot of fun and familiar in a mean city like New York, so I’ve listened to their album about 1500 times. I love the lyrics, I love the vocals, and I love how dorky their sound is. This post is entirely an excuse for me for share their music.

I love to be in the balcony of a ballroom when it’s one of those that wraps around both sides of the stage, because not only do you get to be right on top of the band, but you also get prime viewing of anything nasty that goes on below. Like Wednesday night, when a girl puked all over the hardwood floors. I noticed that a group of people below suddenly formed a big circle around a certain girl who was on her hands and knees and couldn’t figure out why no one was helping her up until one of the security guards shone a flashlight on her and her pool of vomit.

I tried to play it cool for a while, but I eventually turned to the guy beside me and said, “Don’t think me gross, but I have to take a picture of that.” He said, “I was thinking the same thing. It’s too good to ignore.” I said, “I especially can’t wait until someone thinks such an awesome spot just happens to be open and goes and stands right in it.” He said, “I’m going to interview the band right after the show, and that’s the first thing I’m going to talk to them about.” I said, “Rock journalist?! BFFs for life!”

The first band was Harlem Shakes, and I was excited about them for about three songs, because their singer sounds like he’s been sucking on helium. Once the novelty wore off, I mostly just watched their bassist, who was wearing white jeans, red socks, and no shoes.

The second band was Born Ruffians, who I had never listened to but was quite sure I would hate. I was under the impression that they were nu-punk in the tradition of AFI and Sum 41, and my suspicions were confirmed when their bassist walked out wearing a red and black plaid hoodie with the hood up over his long, stringy, curly hair. Sure, their singer was wearing a blazer over a sweater and had side-parted hair, but I would not be swayed.

But no!, they’re actually indie pop, and they’re actually great. Especially live. Their vocalist is AMAZING. Like, seriously, I haven’t been so stoked while hearing a band perform for the first time since I saw Crystal Stilts a year ago. I was getting chills and all sorts of shit. The studio recordings don’t even begin to capture what was going on, but you should still listen to

“Badonkadonkey” and
“Foxes Mate for Life” and

And look how cute!
Although the drummer last night was black. WTF?

Tokyo Police Club came out and started playing some song I didn’t know, and I was like, “Oh, crap, they have a new album that I don’t know about!” But no, it was one of their old songs. And their old songs are not good. I love their album Elephant Shell like nobody’s business, but it sounds like a totally different band playing on their EPs. You have been warned. My favourites are

“Listen to the Math” and
“In a Cave” and

TPC’s singer lifts one leg when he plays, and their keyboardist pretty much has epileptic fits every ten seconds, and their fans were so into the music it was crazy. Even the stodgy record label types across the balcony from me were drumming their fingers on the railing. Even the 16-year-olds in frilly cocktail dresses were pumping their fists. Ahhhhhhhhh, the uniting power of music.

Speaking of which, for the encore, TPC brought out Born Ruffians for a brand new song that they collaborated on, which sounded much better live than it does here, but still, I’m glad someone got a video of it:

And then all three bands came out for a little Clash (also not my video):

Good times.

Taylor Hanson’s New Band and My Confession That I Once Loved Him

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My friend Jack, godlovehim, only listens to classic rock. Take him to karaoke, and he’ll sing AC/DC, KISS, and–if you’re lucky–something as modern as Bon Jovi. So it was pretty funny to me when we went to see The Dark Knight in the theatre last year, we saw this preview,

and he was all up on Billy Corgan the following day, asking me what other songs I’d recommend and stuff. I don’t blame him–the song went so perfectly with the scenes and the editing of the trailer–but the fact that he’d never really listened to the Smashing Pumpkins kind of blew my mind.

Earlier this week, he asked me if I knew Franz Ferdinand. And then the Artic Monkeys. And then yesterday, Hot Hot Heat. Haha!

I had to show you this video because of the way Steve Bays’ hair
starts out all calm and slick in the beginning and then is all frizzy
and whacked out by the end. THIS IS LIFE WITH CURLY HAIR, PEOPLE,
and even beautiful rockstars suffer.

But the whole point of this post is that while I was busy Googling the Smashing Pumpkins just for kicks today, I found this Rolling Stone article about James Iha, former Pumpkins guitarist, and his new band, which includes TAYLOR HANSON of Hanson fame.

Because I know you want to hear their first single.

You can not underestimate the love I once had for Hanson. After seeing them perform “MMMBop” on an episode of “The Rosie O’Donnell Show”, I plastered everything I owned in Taylor’s pictures . . . and then went and bought their album much later. And this was 1997, friends; I was very much old enough to know better. I even went on to own their Christmas album, as horrifying a thing to admit as that is.

I’m convinced that it’s past transgressions such as these that make me hold on so tightly to my indie rock elitism today.

Recognizing Mortality Comes Easily in the Winter

Filed under no i really do love ohio
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I wrote my dad an e-mail yesterday that included this photo of him from my sister’s wedding:

I told him, “I think this is one of the best ever taken of you, thankyouverymuch. When you decide to join Facebook to find old classmates, you can use it as your profile picture.”

He wrote back, “I only have to look in the graveyard to find old classmates.”

Attack of the Gigantic Smiles

Filed under all of my friends are prettier than i am, fun times on the subway, par-tay
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On my way down to Christopher Street for dinner at Agave Saturday night for my friend Bridgette’s birthday celebration, I saw:

a) two things I wrote about in this post

b) An old man waiting for his wife and grown daughter outside of a store called The Pleasure Chest. He looked so awkward standing outside the door and so relieved when his family came through it with their purchases. Or at least I assume it was his wife and daughter. I guess it could’ve been his two prostitutes, picking up supplies for their evening at his behest.

Bridgette’s party was pretty amazing, because

a) it included my three favourite co-workers from my software company who no longer work there:

Bridgette, Beth, me, and LaChantee

b) there was a maple duck confit quesadilla with goat cheese and a fig spread on the menu that LaChantee and I wanted to split, but there was a $5 sharing fee that we were not about to pay, so we just didn’t tell our server about it and felt veeeeeeeeery subversive:

c) I took this picture of Chantee looking like she has a red tumor growing inside of her nose:

d) Bridgette’s friend Sarah and I totally became BFFs. And by that, I mean that I dropped a fork on the ground before she got there and actually told her before she used it to eat her dinner.

Clearly an incredible time was shared by all:

The Asshole at My Bus Stop is Helping Me Make Some Pocket Change

Filed under bigtime celebrity, funner times on the bus, jobby jobby job job, living in new york is neat, narcissism
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My best friend, Tracey, recommended a couple of weeks ago that I apply to write for as one of their restaurant reviewers. I was dismayed to find that they weren’t hiring any more food types, but they were looking for articles about public transportation, which I ride every day in the city where it’s most necessary.

I didn’t know if my stories about kneeing old men in the groin to make sure I get into a crowded train were what they were looking for, but I gave it a go, and they actually liked me. Here’s the article I posted today:

Every bus stop has its own special asshole, but I think mine should get a crown for his assholiness.

Whenever there’s someone running from the very end of the waiting line to be first at the bus’s door . . .
Whenever there’s someone racing to get a seat on the bench to ensure some old lady can’t . . .
Whenever there’s someone rushing from the bench to the edge of the sidewalk the second the bus comes into view . . .

It’s him.

I sort of feel sorry for him. He’s a nondescript man of a nondescript age in a city where being descript is the only way to not get lost in the throng. He cuts his hair not to be stylish but to be practical. He wears modern shoes but pairs them with pleated pants rolled up at the hem. He’s not thirty but not fifty, not attractive but not deformed.

It seems that his only goal in life is to get one of the single seats that lines the driver’s side of any bus. And it’s widely recognized that those single seats are where it’s at–you can let your love handles spill off the side without anyone complaining, and you don’t have to deal with anyone else’s love handles spilling all over you. I don’t hate him for liking that.

What I DO hate him for is being audible about his disgust for the rest of us during the ride. After living here for a few years, I’m used to crazy people talking to themselves about pills and Jesus and the white man keeping them down, but I’m not used to people groaning about

• how annoying being stopped at a red light is.
• how they wish the bus driver would hit pedestrians in the crosswalk.
• how disabled people shouldn’t be allowed on the bus because they take too long to board.

There’s more to life for me than sitting by myself, so being polite to those waiting for the bus with me is worth it even if it means missing out on a single seat. Sometimes my waiting gets rewarded, though, and I end up with a single seat, anyway. Like this morning, when I struggled on with a huge bag and was delighted to see that I could slide right into the second single seat back.

I didn’t notice, but the jerk behind me had his foot stuck way out into the aisle, so of course I accidentally stepped on it. I immediately turned around with a genuine, “I’m sorry!”, and who was it but The Guy. He said, “Oh, God,” in his most perturbed voice, so I said mockingly, “Oh, Jesus, sweet Lord, she stepped on my unfashionable shoes, and I simply don’t know how I’m going to make it through the day!”

I sort of expected him to pull my hair or flick my ear or something, but no such luck. He just sat quietly throughout the remainder of our time together and then checked out my rack when I got up at my stop.

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