Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Terrible Black Ponys

I put on Pavement's Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain for the first time in who knows how long just now and I forgot how perfectly that album crystallizes the claustrophobic apathetic feeling that your reach will probably always exceed your grasp. To me it always sounds like idealism's quiet resignation to slow death at the hands of realism, while your escapist tendency rears its shaggy head with a "whatever" smirk plastered across its face and heavy lidded eyes.
I'm seriously not always in such an existential funk. For real. You should've seen me last Friday at the Magic Stick. I was having fun! I got there just in time to see local band The Terrible Twos take the stage. In the grand tradition of rock and roll misnomers, there were five members in the band. It would be easy to slap the "art punk" label on them since they're young, loud, and snotty but they have a keyboard player too. The truth of the matter is they just have a great, raw DIY aesthetic where musical prowess takes a backseat to the fire in your belly that you have to get out somehow. That sort of thing goes beyond any half-assed genre and sub-genre tags. Plus there were kids with honest-to-god mohawks there to see them. I'm not talking about some gentrified faux-hawk, these were big, spiky, fuck-off blue and green mohawks. They're like four leaf clovers, pretty rare to find one and it almost makes you want to go buy a lottery ticket when you see more than 3 in the same place. But the real reason I came to the show was playing next. This band makes Detroit crowds dance, and that's no small feat. Sleater-Kinney played a legendarily lackluster show in Detroit once, and had the balls to blame the crowd for "not giving them any energy". Well listen hun, I just worked 8 hours and paid too much for a shitty beer, so excuse me if I'm not doing cartwheels to your textbook indie rock. Maybe if you played something I can shake my ass too I would move more. Maybe if you were more like the Black Lips you wouldn't have a problem energizing a crowd. They were even a little more subdued this time, and still managed to have a room full of weird white kids spazzing out instead of standing with their arms crossed smoking cigarettes. And by subdued I mean I didn't see any nudity, random spontaneous hook-ups, broken bottles, or bloodied faces on the dance floor like the other times I've seen them. There was still plenty of scuzzy-fuzzy-primal-psychedelic-synapse-sizzling garage punk power to leave everyone sweaty. And unfortunately, unlike the Tijuana gig featured here, there wasn't any head butts or self-love performed by female audience members, but I wasn't really expecting all that. As fucked up as Detroit is, its nothing compared to Tijuana. Dirt cheap booze, unlimited access to pharmaceuticals, and ladies fucking donkeys make a town crazier than harsh winters and rampant unemployment. But, as an added bonus, one of the guitar players looks like a hobbit with a Paul Wall grill. You'll have to take my word for it because my camera was fucked up and I wasn't able to get any pics. The only complaint I can register is that they weren't the last band. On their previous Detroit stop they were in the opening slot as well, but The Dirtbombs played next, one of the few bands whose live show wouldn't disappoint after seeing the Black Lips. This night was a different story altogether as The Ponys were the headlining band. Don't get me wrong, I dig The Ponys. You can kinda tell that everyone in the band had an intense, all-consuming crush on bands like Ride and the Pale Saints at some point, and probably aren't strangers to an occasional bong hit or blotter tab. I love all that stuff too, but I wasn't in the mood for it after the previous set. I felt sort of like how your girlfriend must feel when you're fooling around and she comes before you do and then afterwards she's not that into it anymore. At that point she's thinking about shoes or something. So, sorry The Ponys, I still like you and all but the Black Lips made me feel like a lady and it weirded me out so I went home halfway through your set. We'll try again next time.
Anton Lachey