Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Return the gift; or, Blowing it.

I sent the following review out by email to friends in a post entitled "Not boring exactly …"
Here's a quick recap of the Dj show in Memphis. The official guy said no photos so I'm not gonna blog it, esp. after he sat there and did nothing while people shot digitally all around him. Major league MFer and the last time I ask. If they don't have it posted or on tix: "no photos", then screw 'em.

Both of the opening acts were pretty dreadful in their own unique way.

"Hey we're from Montreal," the 1970s long hair hippie says in broadish Ontarian vowels straight out of Etobicoke. Yeah right dude, can you say scene jumper. In fairness the set was like 5 songs and 30 minutes long so one shouldn't complain too much. But a 5-minute drum solo a la Buddy Rich in the middle of the penultimate song.

C'mon. The kids around me were all referencing how fun it is to see an 80s hair metal band totally missing the heavy Bad Co./Free Simon Kirke backbeats on one song and the straight up Sabbath steals on another. It's like the 70s don't exist anymore; that might not be the worst thing ever really.

Dead Meadow
Now indie stalwarts on matador and a Malkmus fave supposedly, Had some interesting sonic textures but the mike was basically off on the lead singer, so the set was utterly pointless in a way.

Dinosaur Jr.
J is basically either all grey or white. Murph and Lou played tightly, but with passion and abandon and J of course shredded everything in sight, but in a melodic kind of way. So why didn't I like the show more then?

One problem was sequencing. Given their back catalogue, there's tons of ways to go. Somehow the set and two encores J put together just didn't grab me and keep my interest. I wasn't able to quickly grab a setlist this am off the web, so you'll just have to trust me on that call.

It doesn't bother me that J had to change keys on certain songs to be able to sing them. But once or twice he didn't and the results were simply awwwfulllll, as Johnny Rotten would snarl. Somehow in "Little Fury Things", he missed a high note, slowed things down and dropped everything down a half step midsong, so it ended up like some minor chord death metal dirge not the gloriously punning Monty Python thing (little "fury" or is it "furry" and the rabbits, tell me about the rabbits george--quick we need the Holy Hand grenade etc.) it ought to be.

My favorite moment came in the close of the first encore, when he did "The Lung." After the first chorus and during the first extended guitar wigout, he slipped in the melody of "Just Like Heaven." I was like "cool he's letting people know that's all their gettin' tonight of his most novelty record hit". Then they were "convinced" to do a second brief encore. And they trundle out the Cure song destroying that perfect earlier moment. They closed with a wall of noise and Lou shouting, which I took to be "Don't" but I could be wrong.

The whole thing with breaks clocked in at maybe 90 minutes. If you're a fan of the first three records, you would have been pretty happy because that was where 95% of the material came from.

As an experiment in social observation it was an interesting show, but as a show qua show it was only so so.

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