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Monday, May 26, 2008

Day 2: the Cops, Malkmus, & the Cure

posted by on May 26 at 12:57 PM

thecops1.jpgThe Cops photo by Christopher Nelson

Like Truckasauras before them, the Cops were some funny, quite probably drunk motherfuckers. A high point of their banter: singer Mickael Jaworski’s rant about how, “There’s something called the cost of living,” and how “all the corporations of America [should] keep up.” He changed his mind a second later, saying, “Fuck the corporations. Everyone should grow their hair out long, smoke a lot of pot, and join a rock’n’roll band.”

thecops2.jpgThe Cops photo by Christopher Nelson

I don’t think I’ve seen the Cops since they added a fifth member, but it seems to be working out pretty well for them, the extra guitar making their simple, straight-ahead garage rock sound pretty damn big, Hives-like almost. The added guitar also allowed Jaworski to ditch his for a few songs and hop into the crowd to instigate some pogo-ing. Also like the Truck, they seemed to prove themselves pretty well to the afternoon crowd at the little Yeti stage.

malkmus1.jpgPhoto by Sean Pecknold

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, predictably, also had some pretty snappy quips, which included talking shit on the Kooks for taking too long (“Us, as tidy Americans took 15 minutes.”), shouting out Kennewick and its famous Man, and then talking about how this was the nicest weather he’d ever seen at Sasquatch, although, he said, “I wasn’t here yesterday, though. I heard that yesterday it was raining sideways…crooked rain.” Groan.

As a big, late-to-the-wake Pavement fan, the Jicks are kind of a mixed bag for me. Malkmus and his band are clearly way into the classic rock thing, unabashedly so, jamming out and noodling and busting out big stadium riffs and all that shit. They do it well, of course, and, especially at a big outdoor festival, it makes sense. But what kills me is that, it’s like there’s little two-minute Pavement songs hidden inside their big, fried eight-minute guitar jams, and when Malkmus drops some odd couplet in a softer moment, it really does make me a little longing.

cure1.jpgPhoto by Christopher Nelson

The Cure. Wow. Where to begin? The guitar player’s utilikilt? His spiked leather boots? His weird, white bald head making him look like one of those dudes from Dark City? I know as soon as I start making fun of how goths dress, I’m basically a jock, but man, it is an aesthetic that doesn’t age quite as well as others. Let’s just say that.*

cureskirt.jpgPhoto by Sean Pecknold

Watching the Cure, in comparison to REM the night before, really made me realize how differently the two bands have aged. REM, couple of sleepy albums aside, has successfully kept on growing and creating as a band in a way that the Cure just hasn’t. REM in 2008, as they say, “has legs.” The Cure, on the other hand, seem like the best they could do would be to perfectly replicate the Cure circa mid ’80s, and it seems like that’s what would probably make most of their fans the happiest, too. I wonder if a lot of that has to do with their essential attitudes, REM being a little more sly and post-modern and a little less sincerely (new) romantic. I also wondered if Smith’s melancholy songs of loss and longing make more sense now that dude’s old, if the parts that always seemed melodramatic might be any less so now; I think they’re still plenty melodramatic.

All of which is secondary to the fact that the Cure’s great, old hits are fucking amazing. “Pictures of You” was just impossible dreamy, lights sparkling like raining glitter behind the band, purple and pink lights flooding the amphitheater. And every other song, I realized that, even as something of a “Greatest Hits” Cure fan, I recognize a hell of a lot of Cure songs. Turns out they’ve been playing ambiently throughout my whole life. Everything sounded perfect, even if there wasn’t as much action—on stage or on the video screens, which were all soft-focus (with no close ups of Smith) and slow, overlapping fades. After the first hour or so, the cold and the hydration were catching up with me, and I had to give up my sweet seat, but the Cure kept on playing for about another 8 hours. Seriously. They just played forever. It was exhausting.

smithclose.jpgPhoto by Christopher Nelson

*Actually, let’s not just say that. Let’s also say the Robert Smith has also not aged so well. One friend and I argued about whether he looked more like Dina Martina or Jackie Hell, agreeing that he definitely looked like “some old drag queen.” Another friend thought he looked a little waterlogged. I wanted to ask, “Hey, Robert Smith, why the long, bloated face?” Sorry. I feel terrible.

RSS icon Comments

1

So to summarize: the current incarnations of Malkmus, Smith and their bands de jour suck. Yeah, I can get behind that.

Posted by rk | May 26, 2008 2:20 PM
2

"sincerely (new) romantic"

what does this mean. stipe is hella sincerely romantic

Posted by ndrwmtsn | May 27, 2008 5:42 PM
3

Oh, blogging. Sure, R.E.M. has plenty of sincere and deeply romantic songs, but on the whole they have a kind of cleverness and ambiguity that the Cure just lacks. Their most heartfelt moments still manage to avoid the Cure's kind of perpetual teenager melodramatics. At least, that's what I was going for. Shoot me full of holes.

Posted by Eric Grandy | May 27, 2008 9:07 PM

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