Live Review

My friend who took his shirt off. Photo by Blake Sinclair

"Paris Hilton couldn't make it, sorry," says the bartender—not the heiress, but Paris Hilton the band. Or Paris Hilton, Motherfuckers!, to be exact, one in a group of at least four bands (at last count) with similarly ridiculous names who all sound almost exactly the same. That's Nintendo music, only sped up, and sometimes with disco handclaps—made by people who were probably infants when the original NES hit the shelves. Annoying? Absolutely: just check for proof. And yet there's something in the over-the-top-ness of a song like PHMF's space rap "OC Rox" ("North Orange County/We got a lot of money/We got two big houses and five big cars/Hummers in our hummers and hand jobs in our hot tubs") that begs to be witnessed live, if only to catch a glimpse of the kids who are actually totally into it. Too bad the band didn't show. So it's the Shark That Ate My Friend that I'm curious about. They walk in with a $700 keyboard and a pair of parents behind them. The parents sip white wine before their set, appearing a good bit buzzed by the time the Shark go on. Then the dad yells at his wife to track down some merch: "I paid for 'em! Go get me a button! Shit! I haven't even seen the buttons!" Are these bands all young rich kids—too young for bars but too old for Chain Reaction? Because the music is . . . not great but, oh, the spectacle of being young and rich and idle—a crowd full of shirtless young men spazzing out with their hands in the air, throwing a shoe onstage and standing on tables, and also a few girls, giggling, by their sides. "What's going on?" yells Dad. "Is this the Shark That Ate My Friend Who Took His Shirt Off?" Somehow, the drummer breaks a cymbal. "Looks like I'm gonna have to buy a cymbal tomorrow!" shouts Dad. But then: "Oh well, they're having fun." Of course, Dad. Of course.

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