Situation Normal. Atmosphere Breathable. Brainstem Injected. Dialogue Engaged.
Monday, May 09, 2005

Sunday Night At The Metro

Last night I went to the Cabaret Metro to see one of my favorite bands perform: Built To Spill. The last time I graced that hallowed hall was in September 2001, when I caught Joe Strummer on his last jaunt.

The sign above the Metro. Sleater Kinney is another band I want to see. Considering them, Built To Spill, and Modest Mouse, it's clear to me the Pacific Northwest is my musical mecca.

I parked all the way down on Belmont. This put about a mile between myself and the venue. The night was beautiful. It was eighty but breezy, and Wrigleyville was serene and quiet. As my roommate and I traversed the mile, I began to sweat out the toxic vodka poisons from Saturday night. By the time I was inside my guts had begun rumbling. I pretended the gastric rumble would go away while I caught the tail end of the first opening band's set. I couldn't cool off and kept sweating.

Surveying the room yielded lots of corduroy, spaghetti straps, sideburns, and pigtails. The few roving waitresses wove past the hipsters and zeroed in upon the drunken yuppies instead. People who could afford to drink in Wrigleyville from the beginning of the Cubs game at 1pm to now at 9pm made for especially easy tip money.

After enduring ten minutes of complaint from my quivering, straining intestines, I made the decision to find the can. I went to the bathroom and found the only stall. The seat was shockingly clean, but I wiped it down anyways. My sweaty ass suctioned right onto it, creating a perfect seal. There's no experience that compares to dropping number two in a muggy basement bathroom at a rock concert. I shit so fast and hard it curled on the way out. Don't ask, sometimes you just know. The toilet paper was a weak thin wispy single-ply excuse for a decent asswipe, the kind that likes to stay with you. Once I finally managed to get clean, I returned upstairs lighter and much refreshed.

After missing the majority of Bearhawk, the first opener, on came Mike Johnson and The Evil-Doers. Johnson was formerly the bassist in Dinosaur Jr. His voice sounds a lot like his former bandmate J. Mascis', except without any personality. As he moaned and droned I waited desperately for an upswing in energy. I never got it.

I think their first song was about being on heroin. The second was about scoring heroin, the third was about taking a nap, the fourth was about not being able to score any heroin, the fifth was about doing heroin at your parents' house, the sixth was about rusty needles, the seventh was about playing guitar on heroin, and the last was about waking up with poopy pants. They really beat a dead horse. My roommate wished he had a BB gun so he could pop Mike and see if that might jolt him awake. I was not so extreme. I just wanted to offer Mr. Johnson a cup of coffee, a bag of Skittles, and a hug. He needs counselling, not an audience. I hope his band got back to their spaceship in time for departure.

Finally, Built to Spill! I'd never seen them before, although I've been a big fan ever since I bought Keep It Like A Secret when it came out, six years ago. Back then I bought lots of new releases at random and I discovered tons of wonderful music that way. (I don't find things, I discover them, it's a personal credo.)

Doug Martsch: The writer, singer, and lead guitarist of Built To Spill

The bandleader moseyed on stage. Those unfamiliar with the band thought somebody had gotten lost trying to get back to Amish Pennsylvania, had wandered lost and broke into Chicago, lost his mind, and finally ambled on stage in a confused stupor. Nope, that's Doug Martsch. Hearing that voice come out of that person is strange. Some compare his voice to Neil Young. The band did indeed cover "Cortez The Killer" on their live album a few years ago.

Everything they played, everything they sang, every nuance that hooked and jangled and looped made me happy. They could do no wrong. Describing music I hate is fun, but describing music I love just leaves me grasping, frustrated and helpless. So I won't. Suffice to say I loved their performance. Three guitars playing together can make for some amazing melodies, folks.

When they came out for the encore, I shouted "Velvet Waltz!" They played the fucker for ten minutes. My heroes.
11:40 AM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm


May 09, 2005 12:32 PM, Blogger EcamirG said...

beat a dead horse. heroin.


May 09, 2005 1:21 PM, Blogger Anonysis said...

I kind of envy you. I missed NIN this weekend. Forgot. Then read great reviews. Its hard to know when to miss and when to keep it goin. Should have kept it goin this time.

May 09, 2005 1:28 PM, Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

Man, you got a lot of influence. TEN MINUTES!!

May 09, 2005 3:20 PM, Blogger Isabella said...

yeah, when i saw the Mouse in the Spring of '04 they asked what they should play for an encore andi shouted "trailer trash", the song that started the whole love affair for me -- it was Munich, 1998 . . but anyway, Isaac Brock said,"Trailer Trash? A Modest Mouse standard. ok." and they played it. and it was good. and i felt we'd had a conversation.

i am also happy to hear of your successful poop.

May 09, 2005 3:57 PM, Blogger Chris said...

Congratulations on your dump.

I've never seen Built To Spill, and I'm afraid my chances are all dried up now. I do feel fortunate that Modest Mouse has graced my small town on three seperate occasions. The first show alone made me a devoted fan forever.

I like the way you described the differences in writing about music you love and music you hate. I've noticed when I make an attempt at "reviewing" a show I hated, it always turns out to be three pages of brilliance. When I write about a show I absolutely loved, i mostly just say things like "It was awesome. You should have been there, fuckers."

May 09, 2005 5:00 PM, Blogger Wino McHackenpuke said...

I saw the Black Keys last summer in Tennessee!

(Sorry, but this is the only way I can relate to this post. Yet another reason to have pictures!)

You compare this fellow to Neil Young. That must mean he's at least somewhat decent.

I told Ed that because I saw Neil live (who rocks), that I rock too. Ed said that was a lie, but I think he's just jealous. He knows I rock.

May 09, 2005 5:58 PM, Blogger if_i_had_a_hammer said...

i got to see built to spill a little while back when they passed through town here. mike johnson opened then too. i thought he was pretty good, but yeah, boring as fuck. he just sat on stage and mumbled through a few songs.

built to spill fucking rocked though. i'd never heard a lot of their stuff before, but it made me want to run out and buy the albums, which any good live show should do.

the new sleater-kinney comes out may 24th, and it's pretty damn good.

May 09, 2005 7:32 PM, Blogger salis said...

i'm going to see the black keys soon.

nice work. i love venue stories.

May 10, 2005 12:30 AM, Blogger Lostinspace said...

glad to hear you had a nice time. i love watching bands perform live. even when you talk about bathroom stories, you manage to do it eloquently.

May 10, 2005 3:52 AM, Blogger daniel said...

[quote]I shit so fast and hard it curled on the way out.[/quote]

I just cried with laughter. Haven't laughed like that in ages.

May 10, 2005 1:41 PM, Blogger Dave Morris said...

With your colorful metaphor, you've managed to conjure up one of my favorite phrases - "launched a coiled perfume snake."

My absolute favorite synonymatic phrase for shitting.

Or "taking the Browns to the Super Bowl." Maybe it's a tie.

May 10, 2005 2:08 PM, Blogger Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm said...

My favorite is "time to coil a rope."


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