Tuesday, December 07, 2004

The night they drove old dixie down.

Monday, December 6
Magnetic Fields
Variety Playhouse, L5Ps, Atlanta

Rolled up around 6:30 for doors 7 show 8. Wandered up Euclid to Caluctta where I had vegetable samosa as a starter then garlic nan, musalla kulcha, rice and a mixed curry concoction plus Lassi.

The opening act was an Aussie guitar singer songwriter type who bantered with the crowd and had a funny song about Squash (the game not the dreadful orange drink). He also claims he and John Woo are forming a one-off cover band Banjohvi, which will perform at their joint appearances in Texas. Look for it.

The Variety Playhouse reminded me of my high school gym cum theater cum assembly hall, except of course ours didn't have bars on both levels. The show was an all-seater. They filled in the standing room orchestra area with plastic blue lawn chairs. The quietest audience I've been around in a while, more like going to Avery Fisher hall for a chamber recital than a "rock" show.

The Magnetic Fields were in a word majestic. About 90 minutes of total mastery of material and instruments, marred occasionally by the abrasive personality of Stephen Merritt, who really is a little (and I mean little) shit. Bitching about people not sitting still [in awe of his magnificence] during songs, supposed feedback problems with monitors, not taking requests. Although having just seen Wire on the box 1979 (the famous German Rockpalast show), I guess there's something to be said for bands who have clear notions of setlists and what they're gonna play. But to blanketly state that any band that plays requests sucks shows the kind of provincial downtown 'tude many of use hate about Manhattan.

Highlights included a fine rendition of "All the Umbrellas in London" and "Smoke and Mirrors" from Get Lost, "It's Only Time," a surprising amount of material from Holiday, and from 69 Love Songs "Come Back from San Francisco," "Chicken with It's Head Cut Off," and a full on rap-like mic attack on "Yeah! Oh Yeah!" with both Merritt and Gonson strutting around the stage for the one time all night. Woo and Davol are total instrumental bad asses and were nice enough to salute the crowd at show's end; they also came back to schlep their own equipment away.

The one disappointment was a bland "I Thought You Were My Boyfriend." Really wanted to see them max out the equalization on the Cello to get the New Orderesque synthlike effects.

Had an awesome breakfast at The Flying Biscuit Cafe in Candler Park this morning. Nice semi-sweet organic chicken sausage and cheese grits that were like air--best I've ever had. And believe me, nothing can be worse than bad grits, like slow drying quick mix concrete in your innards. I'm at an Internet cafe on Ponce De Leon about to head Mississiippi ways. But I'll stop in Birmingham for a quick bite and to catch Sideways. When you live in a small town, you grab your pleasures when and where you can.

1 comment:

G. E. Light said...

Got to east side of Bham (459/280) 11:15 and didn't want to wait until 1 pm for Closer or 1:15 pm for Sideways. So I drove on and took a latish lunch break 12:35 (Iforget why it took me over an hour?) or so in Northport at the Globe. Had their special salad (assorted greeen lettuces, white cheddar cheese crumbled, wilted char, caramelized sweet onions, applewood bacon and toasted pumpkind seed with a chipotle ranch dressing) followed on by a nice Rodney Strong 2003 Sauvignon Blanc (just a glass).

Tonight din din with the author crowd at Roxie's after someone gets their head shot!