Monthly Archives: May 2008

One For the Head

Last Friday, I left school with my two (out of three) best friends in the world.

Kelsey, who I’ve known since I was a kid and is the Yin to my Yang.

Bryan, who I’ve loved unconditionally since I met him last school year. He’s who I’d want to be if I was tall, handsome and a man.

Kelsey Bryan

We drove to Portland, a place I’d never been to without rotting away in suburbia. The drive was beautiful and I took poorly-artistic photos out the window. We listened and danced to a lot of Crystal Castles, and then ran into a bird. Bryan almost insisted that we turn back and make sure it was okay. Though, to his credit, his coffee was only half-finished at the time.

We arrived, painstakingly chose our Seattle by Yakima cool kid outfits, waited in line for an hour, bought incredible t-shirts, and then waited in front of a stage for three hours.

I don’t know if there’s something in the water in Portland, but the kids there were 50% sexier, hipper, and drunker than Seattle kids. I’m trying to make up my mind as to whether that’s a good or bad thing.

Somewhere in that time, after the set of friggin’ fantastic mash-ups by a nameless DJ and before a godawful techno band with a (badly) dancing yowling singer in stretch pants, I also got incredibly sick. So sick I left my standing place in FRONT (touching it front) of the stage and ran clumsily to the ladies’ room. If I wasn’t already prepared to reacquaint myself with food court Thai food, I certainly was after seeing the state of the floor in that bathroom. I don’t think I’ve ever been painted into a more disgusting picture. There’s still some off color spots on my converse, a week later. I have no idea how to get them off.

But I digress.

I did manage to pull myself out of that rotten bathroom and walk back out onto the floor.

And then. We saw. M.I.A.

She was incredible. Incredible incredible incredible. She is beautiful and awesome and most likely the coolest person on the face of the earth. I danced various appendages clean off of my body. I danced, and I sweat onto the people around me and they sweat right back. I danced and sang “20 Dollar” at the top of my lungs, and only one rodent-like hipster in front turned around to glare at me with one of those looks on his face.

Videos of third-world dancers played behind her, in her sparkly jacket and rhinestone-studded eyes. Flash animation of her flying through a cartoon landscape played too. The kids around me wanted to sing and make out and dance and dismantle our majority establishment and then dance into wee hours of the morning, or until their leg and hip muscles just gave out. I think we would have (it went on well until 1.)

Bryan was pulled up during “Boyz” ( How many no money boyz are crazy/How many boyz are raw?/How many no money boyz are rowdy/How many start a war?) onto the stage with a number of his masculine-looking counterparts (some in drag, some not) and they shook their skinny boy hips and looked like the would cry with joy. Later in the car, the phrase “she touched my shirt, she touched my shirt” was repeated like a mantra.

M.I.A. closed with “Paper Planes”. We screamed the words into the ceiling above us and shot our imaginary guns. I’d be lying if I said they didn’t feel real.

Then she left. Bryan staring wide-eyed for friends who he assumed didn’t see him in the crowning moment of his eighteen years. Kels and I wiping sweat slick hair back from our faces and grinning like idiots.

Then, we met Beth Ditto, the singer of the neo-soul-punk band Gossip. I still haven’t quite found the words to articulate myself. She was amazing. And super nice. And surprisingly, not annoyed by sweaty, stinky, (puke-covered), teenagers who gush in loud voices due to their post-show deafness.

I’m still recovering (and learning how to hear again.)

So. Therefore.

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The Best Friday Night Ever.

Boyz-M.I.A.

Standing in the Way of Control-Gossip

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Heavy Hands

A couple of weeks ago I spent a solid chunk of my afternoon listening to the same five songs over and over, the result of a mid-spring break-up and me finding a new Darci Cash album over the internet.
Darci Cash is a cute, folksy little group that plays sweet songs to sing along to and I hold them 70% accountable for why I liked the last person that I dated as much as I did.
Their songs were ever-present on mixed CDs, car radios, up-stairs stereos, all those places that count when you’re seventeen and holding someone’s hand.
It just figures that I always choose the good songs to wrap myself up in whenever I’ve dated someone not barely worth half of the time.
Every break-up brings up that playlist of songs that I never listen to again (for the most part.)
And in my high school career I’ve wrangled up my own hefty share:

In Circles-Sunny Day Real Estate
Sleepwalking-The Raveonettes
Wish You Were Here-Ryan Adams
Faded From the Winter- Iron and Wine
Tiny Vessels-Death Cab For Cutie
That Teenage Feeling-Neko Case
Neighborhood # 1 (Tunnels)-The Arcade Fire
I Found A Reason-Cat Power
Fake Plastic Trees-Radiohead
Nude-Radiohead

Tragic, right?
Those are albums given away, hidden behind bad soundtracks, piled upon one another on computer Waste Bins.
And then, months later revisited in one long, sob-filled evening.

But I found the loop-hole that Darci Cash afternoon. New albums. They released a new EP and the songs were recognizable, shadows of the song that I wrapped inextricably from the name of that last boy. But they weren’t those songs.
So, I listened to them that afternoon for hours and didn’t cry at all. Just smiled over the fact that I could actually reclaim sounds that I love as mine. A big, fat “Take that.”

Furry Monster

Aborted list of Sasquatch picks, belated by one whole solid week.

(Not going was worth it, as much as I’ll lament it.)

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Beirut

I’m very optimistic. Beirut sounds like a European landscape of countrysides and small cottages. They sound like sunshine over shoulders and rain on the tips of noses. It’s a sound that comes naturally and translates beautifully even to the casual listener. And I can only imagine how beautiful their horn-filled folk and Zach Condon’s soaring voice will sound set against the back drop of a mid-day Gorge during the summer.

M.I.A

Too easy. M.I.A.’s music is already ready-made for the politically-aware backroom dancers who will compromise a huge chunk of the crowd of on Saturday. Plus, her particular brand of alternative hip-hop (infectious, smart, so incredible danceable, just about impossible to put into a box) is just the kind of alternative hip-hop that will weave its way into the hips and minds of any festival-goer who doesn’t already dance to Kala in the comfort of their own bathrooms and bedrooms.

Blue Scholars

Haven’t heard enough of this duo’s well-seasoned hip-hop to make more than an educated guess, but hey, it’s educated. MC Geologic and DJ Sabzi combine socially-conscious and Seattle-friendly lyrics with basic, just right beats and end up being pretty compelling for a mid-afternoon show. And, really, it’s Northwest hip-hop that actually manages to sound pretty freaking good. How could anyone resist?

Tegan and Sara

On the heels of their absolutely fantastic The Con, this sister duo will probably be more than prepared for the Sasquatch crowd. Every one of their albums contains a series of perfect pop-rock songs and every single live video I’ve seen is endearing and engaging. They are the best contemporary break-up band I know and their growing, loving fan base seems to reflect that, well, a lot of people have had bad break ups. Tegan and Sara are interesting, different and so closely bound to the people that listen to them. They are also adorable.

The Hives

Fast-paced in sound and movement, it’s been widely heralded that they’re one of the best live acts on the market. Each one of their albums translates almost exactly into a breathless act that will keep people laughing, dancing, kicking, punching. One can’t ask for much better of a crowd-rouser than the inimitable Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist. With a name like that, he’s destined to show-stopping stardom.

The Flaming Lips

Their live show is legendary. That’s really all I think anyone would need to know.