Girl Talk on CD? An awesome insta-party when I'm riding Cap Metro. Girl Talk on stage? Meh. Hearing exact remixes from Night Ripper and Feed the Animals in concert is kinda like hearing an exact joke from a stand-up comedian's CD--nowhere near the same impact, and the set certainly wasn't up to what I'd heard from the more creative Block Party '07 bootleg that has circulated on torrent sites. On the plus side, I started cracking up when I noticed that the mass of bodies on stage (really, the indie-rock equivalent of MTV's The Grind) became pooped nearly in unison. Perhaps Block Party security should've accepted bribes from eager on-the-ground fans for some much-needed substitutions at the post and point guard positions?
I bailed to Neumo's halfway through, just as I caught an awkward insertion of the Toadies' "Possum Kingdom" into some beat, and caught The Dodos' set. 'Sfine. Sounded like the same song over and over to me--a singer with too much reverb hitting only about five notes, strumming madly, with a drummer and xylophonist who knew little other than drum fills. The crowd absolutely loved it--the floor warped under my feet with thousands of foot stomps in unison--and even with the samey-same sound, I fell for the band's contagious enthusiasm. Apologies to the young woman in front of me, but I couldn't help but notice this text of hers: "The Dodos are on right now. I only think of you." Current love interest with whom she has fond Dodos memories? Or is she calling the dude a dodo as a slag? Not sure.
Ricky Claudon, Pleasureboaters
The place emptied before Jay Reatard took the stage--whaaaa? Maybe everyone feared getting punched in the mouth? Wimps. Still, thanks to the exodus, I could walk in and out without much trouble, so I caught a few songs by Pleasureboaters across the street. Thank effin' god I did! The entire crowd was in on the fun, bouncing off each others' bodies in erratic robo-dances while the on-stage trio married the late '70s sound of the No New York comp with an infusion of rumbling, southern-boogie bass--meaning the punk and hard-rock kids each had a reason to rush the stage with fists in the air. Best of all, singer Ricky Claudon broke a guitar string early in the set and didn't flinch. No requests for a new guitar. No stoppage to wind a new string in. The dude did over half of the set this way, and you couldn't hear the difference. That's how it should be done.
Back to the still-spacious Neumo's, possibly half full by set's start, and the crowd wasn't quite ready to embrace the shameless assault of Reatard, slowly warming to the guy's punk-metal blasts until a pit finally erupted mid-crowd. If James Dio heard Chicago's bizarre punk-metal trio the Coke Dares and decided to start anew, that might sound like the brilliance of last night. Every song sounded like an early '80s metal classic--hard, downtuned metal with perfectly placed shout-along chunks, a crush on snare assaults that recalled the earliest days of Megadeth, and a squirrelly guitar tone that sounded best suited for an '87 Camaro's cassette deck. I never had time to relish or enjoy the songs, though, as Jay and band elected to forgo tween-song breaks to instead shout the next song title and tear right in. Things just went so fast, and the sheer rush of their approach propelled me to mosh for the first time in years.
I've never heard people giggle in a mosh pit before. That guy from the Mika Miko set must've gone back to his mom's basement by then, because this was a mess of boys and girls too busy high-fiving, laughing, and yelling "FUCK YEAH" to get angry. Only fault of the show? It ended far too soon, barely 30 minutes. Then again, the brief set might've saved my dehydrated ass from a pit disaster, dunno. Either way, as I breathlessly made my way to the bus stop, I couldn't help but compare the day's last two sets to Girl Talk. I couldn't dance--let alone move--at that over-packed set, since I was either squished by the crowd or crushed by a posse of 18-year-olds behind me, eager to dry-hump anything that couldn't get out of its way. I went to Girl Talk with a mission to dance, but bouncing around in front of the loogie-hawkin' Jay Reatard, just after robo-rockin' with the assault of the Pleasureboaters, felt so much more right.