Saturday, January 29, 2005

Bright Eyes, CocoRosie, Tilly and the Wall / Academy of Music, Philadelphia, PA / Jan. 28, 2005

Before Bright Eyes even took the stage, a young girl sitting two rows back vomited all over the red velvet seats. I felt sad and embarrassed as her friends helped her out of the theater, and later when an usher came to clean it up. I know how it feels to be so nervous and excited about something (finally seeing your rock star crush in the flesh, maybe?) that you puke. The girl and her friends didn’t return, and neither did the five Abercrombie-and-lacrosse-team-sweatshirt-wearing guys sitting directly behind us, probably because their seats were soaking wet. I was looking forward to hearing the jocks’ commentary, to discovering exactly why they were at this concert. If Conor’s songs can get through to dudes who would have called me a scary lesbian witch in high school, then I have hope for this country. (Although we still have a lot of work to do: during CocoRosie’s set, Daphne overheard one of them saying, “Cool, that chick is making blowjob noises.”)

Tilly and the Wall—in case you don’t know—are five wholesome, adorable Omaha kids who play sunny indie pop, and their gimmick is that all the percussion is a girl tap dancing. I like it, but I’m a sucker. They were much tighter than when I saw them at the Mercury Lounge last summer, and, of course, the sound was much better. So the complete lack of low end wasn’t so apparent.

When I saw CocoRosie at South By Southwest last year, it was two white girls and a bunch of crazy instruments seemingly found in somebody’s attic. David Sitek from TV on the Radio beatboxed on one song. This time, CocoRosie was two white girls, a bunch of crazy instruments seemingly found in somebody’s attic and a large black man wearing a Native American headdress. He beatboxed on every song except the last one, during which he rapped in French and tap danced (accompanied by the Tilly tap dancer). I am not making this up.

How could Bright Eyes top that? They couldn’t. Or maybe I’m just jaded because this was my seventh time seeing Bright Eyes. (Is that weird?) Conor and his six-piece band played mostly stuff from I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning, along with “Bowl of Oranges,” “Method Acting” and holyfuckingshit “A Scale, A Mirror and Those Indifferent Clocks” (yes, I’m a Fevers and Mirrors freak). He did “Lua” and “When the President Talks to God” solo-acoustic stylee and got all “rowdy” on the show-closing “Road to Joy”. They played for about an hour, and I think they wanted to play more, but some beefy guy came on stage right at 11:00pm and whispered in Conor’s ear, after which Conor said “Due to reasons beyond our control, this is our last song. They have to set up for The Nutcracker.” The funny part is that the last time I set foot in the Academy of Music, it was probably to see that very ballet when I was eight years old.

Personally, I’m happy that Conor is getting all this attention. He deserves it. I hope he sells millions of records and never leaves Saddle Creek, sells millions of concert tickets and never plays a Clear Channel venue.

After the concert, Daphne and I headed over to Transit for the rock and roll dance party Making Time. Death From Above 1979 were supposed to play but had to cancel due to illness or something (coincidentally, they were also supposed to play with Man Man in NYC on Thursday!) But it didn’t matter. Who needs a Canadian noise-metal band when you’ve got drunk Nick Sylvester waving devil horn hand signs above his head, jumping up and down yelling “WHOOOOO!!!” like he’s at an AC/DC concert every time the DJ spins a song he likes?