September 30, 2003
Let's See About This Ham

The Interpol show last night was...interesting.

The first band was called Ratatat (formerly Cherry). The only way I could figure out how to describe them was by referencing other bands: Ratatat is like a mixture of Boards of Canada, Mogwai, and Def Leppard. Two guys with guitars stand on stage while a drum machine / sampler lulls the audience with something straight out of Twoism. Suddenly you notice that one of the guitarists is playing some sort of melody. As it gets louder, it unmistakenly becomes an 80s power-riff. But it keeps getting louder until it resembles the now-stereotypical post-rock apocalyptic crescendo. And then it fades back into BoC. Did I mention the slow-motion distorted 80s nature documentary footage playing in the background? Because if that's not BoC, I don't know what is...

The second band was terrible. I never did hear their name, and I'm glad I didn't. During the show they mentioned being banned from all other clubs in San Francisco. Possibly it's because they sucked so bad.
The first thing to note was their volume. As in, they took up a lot of space.
One heckler in the audience screamed "Two drummers!!!!!" during the silence between two songs, helpfully informing the band that they had accidentally put two drummers on stage and had forgotten to instruct them to play different things. But the band probably just didn't want to look silly by having a redundant drummer leave during the show, and so the synchronized rock-beat-robo-drummers played on. The woman-playing-keyboards-who-starts-the-song-with-tambourine really blew me away. Thank god every single musical space was filled, even if it was with something as insipid as a mindless tambourine jangle. I really hate juxtaposed silence in my music. The inclusion of four guitarists really cinched the whole deal. If there had only been three guitars, I think the sound would have been a little anemic. But the last guitar playing the same thing as the other three kept the sound nice and tight. On a more serious note, I'm guessing that the genesis of the band was as follows: one guy figures out some way to turn a band into a tax refuge. "Man, I've got to tell all of my friends about this! They'll want in on some of this money-making action!" And thus, a gigantic Band Machine was born.
The music itself was so absolutely terrible that words fail me. It wasn't just bad....I could have lived with bad. But it was boring. Hideously, terribly, mind-numbingly boring. Perhaps Jason can come up with a better description, but that's all I've got for you.

And now I'm so worn out from haranguing the terrible band that I don't have the energy to talk about Interpol.

update: The 2nd opening band was called The Warlocks. And, oddly enough, people seem to like them. In fact, one reviewer said they were "channeling a fever-soaked Velvet Underground". That actually sounds awfully cool, but it's certainly not an accurate description of the train wreck I witnessed.

Posted on September 30, 2003 10:44 AM

Personally, I didn't think they were anything like Velvet Underground, fever-soaked or otherwise. But I did think the two drummers was maybe the coolest thing I'd ever seen. I wasn't really paying attention to the music most of the time (and I could still tell they didn't sound like VU) because I was too involved in making sure they were really doing the same thing at every possible moment. I was really rooting for them, and I think they pulled it off. I don't understand why Jacob isn't willing to give them the credit they deserve. He's right about the tambourine, though. Maybe if she had a tandem partner it would have been neat.

Posted by: jason on October 3, 2003 04:26 PM