Here at Make Out Room for APAture Music Night.
7:45 - Lyman Yip, Board Member does KSW welcome. Usual stuff.
The place is almost empty. It may be too early for music. When I used to go see shows I never went to a show earlier than 9. So maybe other people are following their training. Lyman announces me and somebody comes up and hands me a zine. Just one 8 x 11 sheet folded in half. I'll check it out later.
First Band is Dirty Cupcakes.
"We're Dirty Cupcakes and we don't put out."
They look like they're all wearing Prince Valiant wigs. They can't all have the same haircut in different colors, can they? But I won't assume anything. The last time I told someone I liked her wig, it turned out to be her actual hair.
7:49 - First song over. This is their first show. Somebody's been listening to too much Ramones.
Pause to put toilet paper in my ears. God, I'm old, but I have no interest in tinnitus tonightus. What kind of music venue doesn't have earplugs behind the bar? We're at the Make Out Room, by the way. (I remember going to a show here in 1991 or therabouts. Do I remember correctly? Or was it another venue? That just looked like this one?)
Did I mention this is an all-girl band? All-woman band I mean, but I think it's okay to talk about women as girls (grrrls? Or does that hopelessly date me?) as long as they're in bands and you're talking about their bands.
PA system is horrible. I still hold out hope that someday I'll go to a club show and be able to hear the singer's actual voice, (I'm not naive enough to think that I'll understand the lyrics, ever. That's what recorded music is for.) Actually, I take that back: I CAN hear this singer's voice. There's an interesting duck-like flatness that comes out when she emphasizes something in a phrase. Not quite nasal. She should work that tone. It's interesting. Uh Oh, we just rhymed "money" with "honey." Hey! I understood a lyric!
I risked an ear for a while but no more clear lyrics were forthcoming. Toilet paper ahoy.
7:58 - Now Dirty Cupcakes is over. Four songs, I believe. Calls of "encore!" I don't think they have any more songs, though. I like them. If that's their first show, they're pretty damn promising. They've probably all been in bands before. The drummer's arms are covered in tats; the bassist has one arm tat showing, and the singer/guitarist none. That's the progression. Another progression: the drummer is dressed butchy in t-shirt and jeans, and the frontwomen are both wearing t-shirts under mini dresses. The bassist has Keds on, the singer/guitarist kitten heels (really? Now I see her wearing boots. Did I just make that up?) Yes, bands are 'bout the look, too. Deal with it.
8:06 - I've never figured out why there has to be SO MUCH putting your stuff together during a show. Why not set up all your stuff before the show and just remove stuff as you go along. The next band looks all-guy, but all-Asian-guy. Wow. Never seen these dudes before but that's not a huge surprise. Like I said, I never go to shows anymore.
By the way, I came here from Space 180, where Sabina Chen, APAture OG, is having her 40th Birthday Party, which she's using as a fundraiser for KSW. Sabina says she thinks she's the oldest OG, but I think there's one older. We're all right behind her, though. See what I mean about "the younger generation" having more than one generation in it? When Obama wins this election (PLEASE GOD) We will officially no longer be the younger generation anymore. We'll be the reigning generation, in the same way the Baby Boomers took complete charge when the Clintons went into office. Okay, I don't need to be thinking along these lines at a music show.
8:10 - Okay, I know it's a style, but I'm sick of the unremitting red at the Make Out Room. It would be nice if they could get some blue gels into those lights. Or just one spotlight. Just one.
Looks like there are more people here now, but it might just be because people are standing up. No, they're standing three-deep at the bar. There are definitely more people here. Dude, how many times do you need to tune your guitar? The band is putting their earplugs in. That's a bad sign. Toilet paper ahoy. These guys are boringly dressed in jeans and t-shirts. Another bad sign. Among white indy-rock bands there's often a competition to see who can be most boring and uncharismatic onstage, and I've noticed that Asian American bands seem to have their own master's competition, putting the white boys into the shade. I'll be grateful if at least one of these guys dances around a bit. I'm taking bets. Do we have a dancer here?
8:16 - Here comes Lyman again. Thanks Dirty Cupcakes. Shout out Locus and KSW are merging so they're celebrating a wedding. soemthing else I missed, and the APAture retrospective.
Next band is Bento. Began as a side project. Named that because a bento is a variety of bits and pieces coming together to form one. Influences = Smashing Pumpkins, Pixies, Beatles, and a couple of more derivative bands I immediately forgot.
Okay somebody can play guitar. Naturally, it's the guy with the khaki-looking safari button down and the longish Michael Chabon hair, that I pegged as the potential dancer. Nope, doesn't dance, but he does strike a guitarist pose with one leg out, tapping. The short-haired t-shirter in the middle (natch) playing rhythm guitar is the singer. Okay, I slandered the sound system. I can hear his voice too, and occasional lyrics like "on my knees." Come to think of it, I'm glad I don't hear more.
They're pretty tight. Singer is relaxy and, though he doesn't dance, loses the boring contest. Damn, three way harmonies on the chorus. Damn. Somebody's a little flat on the three-way. (Boy, I don't get to write that every day.)
8:29 - Okay so this is a side-project. Clearly these guys know what they are doing because they are in other bands, and this is--maybe?-- their Asian American project. The music is veering to the middle-of-the-road indy-ish rock. Not a lot of surprises here. I want this otherwise handy drummer--cool Flock of Seagulls haircut nowithstanding--to learn some jazz and Latin. And to touch his toms more than four times per song. God, I'm such a bitch.
The lead guitarist just said something really quickly that I didn't catch. He doesn't have the good mic.
Oh yes, work those toms! Oh.
8:34 - Why am I getting a desert rock hit off these guys? It must be the flowy, sidewindy, lead geetar. Lead geetarist says something else quickly and incomprehensibly. Lead singer says they're selling a CD.
Last song. This is more interesting. It started out like an indy-desert-rocky Squeeze song. Then it went all typical.
So this is how I work. I'm nice to beginners, but god forbid you should raise any expectations with me, 'cuz then I turn into a bitch. You've seen it happen here. Live.
OMG, they did a big rock finish on their last song. I'm really not down with that.
8:42 - Sadie and Han of Invisible Cities are standing by the stage, awaiting their turn. Yay! Invisible Cities is next! Of course, I have one simple question for Invisible Cities: WHERE'S MY NEW ALBUM, BITCH?
I've so overplayed their first album on my iPod it's not even funny. This is really versatile singer-songwriter pop-rock with a leeeeetle bit (not much) of nasty. They really bring it--melody, imagination, not to mention chops on every front. So I can't wait to see where they go with the next album (if anywhere. They better be going somewhere or the bitchiness will know no bounds. I love tough.)
8:50 - Oo! They brought a drummer. And a bassist! OMG is Sadie gonna play geetar? I've never seen her play. I think Ima go toilet paper free on this one. Not super packed in here, but a respectable crowd, I guess. Why? Why is there no packy-packy for this event?
8:53 - NO! Sadie brought a leetle keyboard. Too cute!
8:55 - Drummer wearing red Wilco t-shirt ("wilco" in chinky font) with tiger. What does it mean? Is that a good or bad sign?
8:58 - Sam Chanse comes by and says "Death to bloggers!" again. I guess she thinks it's funny.
8:59 - Still waitin'.
9:00 - Finally. Lyman comes up again. Lots of screaming and "love yous." Usual KSW and APAture pitch. Ten days of art and music. Check out rest of events blah blah blah. Upcoming events: merging with LocusArts wedding fundraiser Oct 1; upcoming workshop in classical Indian music. APAture retrospective. Pitch.
9:03 - Han Wang and Sadie Contini met on Craigslist and sent tapes back and forth. Play in different configurations. reshape songs for each performance. Listing of various musicians who play with them. Odd shaped and slightly ugly shiny things, noise noise, noise, song crafting, decent lyrics, pretty sounds.
Song about a bulldozer from Sadie. Sadie on leetle keyboard, with Han on guitar. Holy shit that's a kazoo she's playing. Bulldozer, your heart knows my crash course. Spill, Baby, spill. Girl, you move between your head and chest voice. Heh.
Song from last album. (I don't know any song titles. They didn't transfer to my iTunes.) Han keeps threatening to dance. Do it. DO IT!
9:10 - It's hard to dance with a laptop, but I'm doing my best.
9:12 - Sadie: thanks to APAture for bringing us and shout out to Dirty Cupcakes and Bento.
Sadie: "This is a song about a pigeon." Also a new song (to me). Yes, it is a song about a pigeon. Sounds a little muddy. Unarticulated rock. Toilet paper ahoy. I like the abrupt endings, but maybe too abrupt every time?
9:16 - Oo. This is one of my favorite songs. I think of it as the "Oh Yeah" song b/c I don't know the titles. Another new song now. Why are their new songs all so ... arranged? Oh, here's some quietloud. See? You have five or six whole drums to work with, haircut! That's how it's done: change it up.
9:22 - Chris Brown is takin' da pitchers. Where's Jay Jao?
"Shooting Star" song. Han's first singing deal tonight. Okay, maybe that isn't the bad mic. It's coming through. They sound good. What makes the difference here? More practice? More time spent on imaginative work? I wouldn't think to call them a tight band, especially since the members change so often. But they are tight. It's just not what you notice. Maybe they just pick better musicians.
9:25 - Sadie: Nick Mirov on bass. Dan Beber(?) on drums, both of Love is Chemicals. New song (to me) chorus is also a bit muddy. Is this deliberate? Or are all the songs a bit muddy in the loud parts and I just don't notice with the songs I know b/c I know what they sound like in clean recordings?
9:28 - Sadie: How are we for time? Two requests for tube song. A sad way to end. (What's the tube song?) I don't know this song. Sad, slow song.
9:33 - That was a VERY abrupt ending. And yes, that was a bummer song to end on, but pretty. Good set. Too short. But heeeey. They ended on time!
Aaaaand that's all folks! Cigarette time and then I'm back to Sabina's party. I'll post this there (there's no open wireless here.)