Friday, July 29, 2005

Antony and the Johnsons/ Town Hall/July 28, 2005

caryn: Why, Amy Phillips, are people questioning the fate of this spazzy site? Tell the people.
amy: because us girls have gone and got ourselves jobby-jobs
caryn: True that. Amy, you are moving on Monday to Chicago to become the news editor at Pitchfork. Is that accurate?
amy: indeed it is. and you can fact-check that!
amy: and caryn, you are staying right here in nyc, and you have already become arts and entertainment editor at the associated motherfuckin press???
caryn: Yes, it also proven that I have been hired by that venerable newsgathering organization to be the arts and entertainment editor of a new line of content aimed at the kids.
amy: damn
amy: we run this writing game!
caryn: I am now The Man and you are now Da Boy.
amy: but we are both competing for the kiddies' attention
caryn: I wanted to auction off MITM to the lad or lassie who wrote us the best letter convincing us that they would care for our baby. I wanted to go out with a bang. But you boged. Why?
amy: because i'm not sure i want to sell this baby to the black market just yet.
amy: i might want to keep it alive, if only via a feeding tube and IV
caryn: Do you really think that you'll post from Chicago?
amy: yes, i really do think
amy: we can both see the same band play and then compare notes on their shows in the different cities!
caryn: It's possible that we could change the format of the blog and make it just our musical ramblings rather than show reviews. But then it will be like so many other blogs. Perhaps we could make it about the various songs we sing to ourselves in the shower.
amy: pearl jam's "alive" all the way, baby
amy: but i still love writing about live music
amy: and i probably won't get much of a chance to do that as news bitch
caryn: Ok, so MITM is *not* dead. Just in a coma for a while. So people shouldn't delink us?
amy: most definitely not!
amy: they should also check the pitchfork news section every day. and, uh, their local paper?
caryn: Actually, the AP project will also consist of a hosted web site, so I will link to it when it goes live. Wow, I feel like it's 1999 when I write "go live."
amy: of course, it will never be as "live" as more in the monitor
caryn: But, it's safe to say that people will not get a C+A IM live review such as the one that we're about to offer for a long, long, loooong time. Correct?
amy: correct-- unless we end up at the same CMJ shows, which could happen
caryn: And isn't it appropriate that this review is of a show filled with the wan longing of a schoolboy who forgot his lunchpail, yes?
amy: indeed it is
amy: i'd say the wan longing was a bit more intense than that though
amy: more like that of a desert missing the rain
caryn: hahahahahah.
caryn: We're speaking, of course, of Antony and the Johnsons LIVE at town hall last night.
amy: i personally was shocked, shocked! at how FUNNY antony was. were you?
caryn: No. Tragedy + comedy = DRAMA.
amy: yea, verily. last night was all about drama
amy: girls dressing up as boys, boys dressing up as girls
caryn: What kind of schmata was he wearing? Huh? It was like something on special at Lane Bryant (not that there's anything wrong with that...)
amy: maybe it was a lane bryant special in a former life, but it had been thoroughly mutilated.
caryn: The underneath stuff was Lane Bryant, the over wrap was David Bowie.
amy: i dunno, i was feeling more of a stevie nicks vibe from it
amy: (for those playing along at home, it was a gauzy, ripped-up black shawl)
caryn: Yeah, that too.
caryn: Is that his real hair or a wig?
amy: i was going to ask you that!
amy: it looked like a wig
caryn: From our vantage point behind his head, it was clear that a random chunk was just missing from the back. I think it was a wig.
amy: he looks a lot like robert smith
caryn: Same shoulders!
amy: his movements at the piano reminded me a lot of stevie wonder
amy: stevie wonder meets a seal wiggling across an iceberg
caryn: Someone at work asked if he speaks in falsetto (or, to mine a Pavement song: What about the voice of Antony? How did it get so high? I wonder if he speaks like an ordinary guy?)
amy: he does speak like an ordinary guy
caryn: I would say he speaks like an ordinary guy...sort of.
amy: that was kind of disconcerting, actually
amy: i was expecting his speaking voice to be more... flowery
caryn: Is it even possible to describe his singing voice? When you find the right words, perhaps then you must die from the effort. Let's describe his voice using only food as descriptors.
caryn: Butterscotch.
amy: black forest cake
caryn: anise.
amy: what's that?
caryn: a licorice-like spice.
amy: i learned something new today
caryn: truffle oil.
caryn: And truffles.
amy: you know what? his body language is kind of like a pig nudging its snout through the forest looking for truffles
caryn: ganache
amy: what's ganache? pardon my food ignorance
caryn: a rich mixture of chocolate and cream often used on cakes. Now that we both have jobs, we should go out to eat more and I can school you. Oh yeah, you're moving AWAY on monday.
amy: yeah, i'm going to have to find someone new to be my restaurant top!
caryn: Charoset.
amy: hahaha
amy: good one
amy: so i guess we could conclude that antony's voice is rich, decadent, expensive, slightly sickening?
caryn: yeah, that about does it. Seemed like the place was sold out. Or at least very full.
amy: yeah, i was surprised. i didn't know antony had that many fans
caryn: What did you think of the whistle routine?
amy: i loved it. but i think there was some recorded whistling being piped in.
caryn: I think the whistling was piped in, too.
amy: same with the humming
caryn: yeah.
amy: i was also surprised that there weren't any special guests!
caryn: I think Lou Reed was in the house although I didn't see him; when A played that Lou Reed song he made a dedication that seemed to be to be him.
caryn: What was your favorite song?
amy: for today i am a boy
amy: that's my favorite song on the record, too
amy: you?
caryn: I liked when he sang about being a cavewoman. he really looks like a cavewoman.
amy: oh yeah, he definitely does. and the bassist looks like a caveman.
caryn: What song would you most want Antony to cover?
caryn: I am voting for Girlfriend in a Coma.
amy: hmm. something by pj harvey
amy: i want him to do "oh my lover"
amy: gf in a coma would be cool too
caryn: Hmmm, both intriguing choices.
caryn: Anything else you'd like to say about the show before we sign off?
amy: those cocorosie girls are hot stuff
caryn: As I stated whilst watching them, if they were my age, when we were their age, they totally would have been Deadheads. I am so pleased to see how the culture has moved forward.
amy: and i said, i think they ARE deadheads. the one girl had a big silver pot leaf necklace!
caryn: But she was wearing a Tupac t-shirt.
amy: what, deadheads can't like tupac?
amy: you should see the outfits they're wearing in the album art
amy: tie-dye fantasia
caryn: the deadheads of my era literally only listened to the dead. and maybe Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. It was pathetic.
amy: well i guess culture has moved forward then
caryn: Amy, as I prepare to sign off, let me say this so that it may be put into public record: you are the sister that I've never had and your brain pleases me to no end. I will miss you.
amy: aww shucks caryn. i will miss you too, and you are also the sister i never had.
amy: but i have the feeling that our paths will cross again.
caryn: Cue Green Day's "Time of Your Life." Fade out.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Lady Sovereign / Knitting Factory / July 14, 2005

Before she went all family-friendly (bootleg porno aside), Eve used to call herself a “pitbull in a skirt.” Lady Sovereign don’t wear no fookin skirts (or at least I can’t picture her in one), but my god, is she ever a pitbull. She’s tiny, cute and FIERCE. This girl could kick my ass in her sleep. Then I’d thank her and ask for another beatdown, because that is how much I am in love with her right now.

This was basically the M.I.A. Knit show all over again (massive blogga/writa posse, endless Catchdubs DJ set while we got all sweaty waiting, technical difficulties, truncated set), except Louise has more stage presence in her eyebrows than Maya has in her whole body. As Jessica wrote, in a much more brilliant take on her Chicago show than I could ever write about this one, here is a girl who’s spent her whole life as one of the guys, so she knows how to be ON even when she isn’t feeling it (lord knows I can relate). And boy was she not feeling it tonight. Jazzbo says that she was so sick/hungover this afternoon that she totally fucked up an MTV interview. On stage, she held her stomach, blamed McDonald’s, and kept threatening to vomit on the first row, in between apologies for “not jumping around and stuff.”

I’m sure conventional wisdom will say that this show was terrible because she was sick and her CD player kept skipping and she kept apologizing. I loved every second of it.

She wore a Sex Pistols t-shirt and pants so baggy they were literally falling off her ass, so she spent a good amount of her set with one hand grabbing the crotch. She had her hair in that trademark side ponytail which I hope starts a trend, because I would really like to start rocking that look and not get laughed at. She also had her keys on a chain around her neck. That is hardcore. By the way, photos like this are quite deceiving. Lady Sov is not glamorous or passive. She has crooked teeth and furry eyebrows and freckles and she will fuck you up, especially if you are Jentina or her friend who gave her a fat lip.

Her face is rubbery and naturally comedic like Jim Carrey’s. She could just roll her eyes or purse her lips and I would start laughing. Her voice is also rubbery and comedic—when she starts talking to herself I, like, die. She did a song that was a total Oi! Punk rager. She did “Random” and “Ch-Ching.” She freestyled over “Hollaback Girl.” It was awesome.

If you haven’t heard her new single “9 to 5”, go download it at Lemon-Red RIGHT FUCKING NOW. I hate to say this but it might just be better than the Dolly Parton song. Which is really saying something.

FYI: I’m headed to my soon-to-be home for my soon-to-be employer’s fantabulous rock-a-thon this weekend. Expect mad gossip, like what Colin Meloy smells like, when I get back.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Harry and the Potters / Donnell Center, New York Public Library / July 7, 2005

Sometimes I believe in God. Like when God says, “You know what Amy really needs in her life right now? A concert by a Harry Potter tribute band that takes place in the basement auditorium of the New York Public Library on 53rd street.” Wow, God. You were so right. I did need that.

Harry and the Potters are two brothers from Boston who look/dress/act like what would happen if Harry accepted Calvin Johnson as his Lord and Savior. Their music is K Records love punk circa 1993: sloppy Farfisa; drum machine; garage fuzz guitar; simple, straightforward, silly lyrics. Sample songs: “Voldemort Can’t Stop the Rock” (“this song is about standing up to The Man!”), “Wizard Chess,” “Save Ginny Weasley.”

The place was packed. The audience was half parents with young children and half teenage/twentysomething indie kids (mostly female). Many girls sported homemade HP t-shirts. Punk fucking rock. Everyone was giddy. I haven’t heard that much squealing since R. Kelly walked onstage at the Best of Both Worlds tour.

The Harrys were total pros. They lead sing-alongs. They climbed through the audience on the backs of chairs. They told perfectly timed jokes. (“This is a song about how I’m angry because I’m a teenager, and teenagers are always angry, and stuff keeps happening like my dead parents show up as ghosts in a cemetery in Bulgaria.”) They executed precisely synchronized windmills. They knew exactly when to collapse on the floor in mock passion/terror/overwhelming rockingness.

I have a massive friend-crush on these boys. I want to ride in their tour van (broom?) and discuss the intricacies of teen male psychology as it relates to Harry’s relationship with Cho Chang. I want them to read The Half-Blood Prince out loud to me next weekend. I want to geek out on Springsteen with Harry Year 7. I want to watch them rock libraries all over the world.