Photo by Sean MurphyTHURSDAY, JUNE 2
Once, I drank like a longshoreman; tonight, I drink WITH a longshoreman at the Blue Caf's ILWU union night! Rock from the docks with Big Harmonica Boband the Blues All Stars—One Big Party all night long!
ALSO: Summer-school Canjams from Soonat Alex's; Madman Moonmakes EllenGrileythink of the Ozark Mountain Daredevilsat Detroit.
FRIDAY, JUNE 3
It was almost the year 2000, and SamPhillipswas walking down a street in Manhattan—the 1999 ElvisComebackComebackSpecialwas wobbling toward collapse (only VH1 had agreed to air it), and he needed a backup plan. The Presley bank in his pocket was really just a wad of ones rubber-banded inside a pair of twenties, but so far, no one had tried to look very closely. "Dang," he said, paused on a gum stain polka dot at a corner. "If I could find me a guy that looked like a NewYorkartstudentbut sounded like a guy in Erasure, I'd make a million dollars!" Suddenly, two puppy-dog perky dudes fluttered from a streetlight to perch on his shoulders, where each whispered like a conscience into one of his ears: "Well, we sound more like Giorgio Moroder," said Casey Spooner. "But we REALLY look like art students," said WarrenFischer(they were always finishing each other's sentences). "AND," they said, "we can make people dance!" They whistled (and beat-boxed) a song called "Emerge," and before they got to the break, Sam had the Presley bank uncurling in the palm of his hand, hoping that Fischerspooner—which is what they were called—wouldn't look past the top two bills. "We'll call this music," he said grandly, "'ELECTRO!'" "Great!" said Casey. "And have you talked to the DFAguys yet?" said Warren. "Hey," said Sam, squeezing his fingers back over his money. "How much of a trend do you think I've got?" At HOB Anaheim.
ALSO: ProjectBlowedwas and is the hip-hop night of all nights; this 10-year anniversary tour crops the best alums from past and present and tries to get them all to show up at the same place at the same time. It's (lots of) LA independent hip-hop in one potent package, including Busdriverand a guy known variously as Ellay Khuleand Rifleman, who is like the Jekyll & Hydeversion of Quasimotoand Madlib. At Blue Caf.
SATURDAY, JUNE 4
There is something so hopeful and naive in the BoneThugs-n-Harmonytaking a bus all the way from their home in Cleveland to Compton just because EazyEsaid hey, maybe he could help them out a bit; you'd figure little hillbilly boys with sproingy guitars used to shyly show up at the Gracelandgates for the same reason. Anyway, Eazy signed them to RuthlessRecordsand soon after took a wink at RockHudsonand died of what he died of—radiation poisoning,if you didn't hear—and the Bone Thugs got their hit with his posthumous help when they harmonized in sorrow, a surreal doo-wop-hop goodbye that taught a million frat boys to pour out their 40s and say things like, 'Bro, I'll see you at the crossroads.' They even won a Grammy. Then they disappeared at the height of their fame like all good Cleveland bands, to sink themselves into posthumous respectability—the RocketFromtheTombsof Cleveland hip-hop, except almost certainly richer. But now they are back and Vicemagazine cares about them, and there are tears in heaven, if not lines outside the House of Blues.
ALSO: Club Crucialat the Prospector: the Black Arkto club Audio One's Studio One. If you don't get that, you need to go back to the store where you bought your BobMarleyblacklightposterand ask some hard questions.
SUNDAY, JUNE 5
Lemme explain why the GetUpKidsare still a band. Just as the baby boomers invented the concept of the teenager, so they killed the concept of the adult. Maybe it was all the if-it-feels-good-do-it-ism of the '60s, but Americans don't so much grow up as just grow, now, flopping around in cargoshortsand deformedsneakersas they prowl the mall for videogamesor action movies, the amped-up descendents of the baby toystheir own (Depression-surviving) parents (rightly) refused to buy them—but who's a mortgagebrokerwith his own bank account now, Mom? Naturally, the boomer children are even worse, raised by stalled post-adolescents to be stalled preadolescents, stunted cow-peoplechoking on a fog of ambient hormones and media chatter, isolated from anything of actual substance and barely aware of themselves as thinking individual beings. And so these post-boomer generations are not equipped to decode their own experiences. A culture of childlikeir-realityorganized to cater to their parents and themselves has deprived a generation of the ability to know and thus relate to itself—to understand what a girl might mean when she smiles, or a boy might mean when he nods, to parse even just the basic vocabulary of human communication. The complex is alien to a child; naturally, the child-like must then retreat to the simple. When they hear a band like the Get Up Kids, it is like a spoonful of medicine: easy pop chordslike they used to hear in their own fuzzy babyhood, obviousandunmistakableemotivecues(Now the singer is happy! Now the singer is sad!) and just enough appearanceofartistryto address that instilled-from-birth impulse that youasanindividualarespecialanduniqueand feel things no one else does. Too bad Weezerdid this first and lots better, but Weezer has been awful for almost ten years and a kid's gotta suck on something, so that's why the Get Up Kids are still a band. They meet a need. At the Glass House.
MONDAY, JUNE 6
Weeklypeople love the New Fidelity, who play guitars (like the Get Up Kids) and have a couple dudes from Cleveland (like the Bone Thugs). Plus they drink like longshoremen. Obviously the best of all possible worlds. Residency at Detroitstarts tonight. Plus DJ Rob.
TUESDAY, JUNE 7
LawandOrderSpecialG-Unitreports: As Sri Lankan rapper M.I.A.shuffles morosely through alternate acronyms (suggestions: M.I.A.P.M.D., M.I.A.R.S.-ONE, M.I.A.T.H.E.R.A.P.P.E.R.), we learn that Common, who is also a rapper, was also sued for his name, also by a band no one had ever heard of, but even more humiliating: it was a ska band, and hopefully the same loathsome ska band that went on to become the Bravery. Still, M.I.A. might do well to follow Common's post-lawsuit lead: guest with the Rootsand SadatXand Fela Kuti's kid, and release more respected and remembered albums than the people who sue you ever could or will. Living well is the best revenge; Common at the HOBtonight.
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ALSO: Sleater-Kinneyvisits from the astral plane at the Glass House. And the Secret Machines' new CD comes out today; it was a nice idea to budget-rock Pink Floydthe way the WhiteStripesbudget-rocked Led Zeppelin—to repackage the classics in an express-pack-to-go for today's busy non-listeneror iPod-accessory-purchaser. But then Secret Machines welshed the deal by making one great song and then just staring into a wall of light bulbs for the rest of their album; hopefully, there's been some therapeutic slapping since that last release, though.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 8
BadReligionbegins a five-day stint at the House of Blues. They will play one chord per day (duplicating tonight's chord as a finale on Monday, June 13, in a playful quotation of classical symmetry) while singer GregGraffinreads from both his own and MiloAukerman'sdoctoraldissertationsand guitarists GregHetsonand BrianBakerdiscreetly try to obscure their faces.
THURSDAY, JUNE 9
Wonderful world, beautiful people.