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Tamara's Flooby Web Log

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Saturday Night Concert Fun

I'm so lame I'm just now getting around to blogging about our exciting Saturday evening. Better late than never I guess.

Saturday was a lazy day at the Hodge Lodge. We ran errands in the morning and after lunch Mike went off to the Unitarian Church to attend a meeting of the church school volunteers and the kids and I lazed around the house.

After dinner, Tracey came over to watch Cal so Duncan, Mike and I could go see Shonen Knife (and four other bands) at The Conservatory. The Conservatory is a small, smoky, all-ages venue where a lot of indy bands play. We were most interested in seeing Shonen Knife but were also pumped about seeing the other bands on the bill. Mike used his Limewire connection to download music from the other bands so we'd have some idea of what we'd be hearing.

The doors opened at 7 but the first band wasn't scheduled to go on until 8. We ended up getting there around 7:45 and the place wasn't crowded at all. The first band slated to play, Matson Jones, was setting up and luck was with us. Duncan and I snagged two chairs right next to the stage. Mike toddled off to get something to drink (soda pop, not beer) and we settled in to watch the first band.

Matson Jones consisted of two cellists, a stand up bass player and a drummer. As you might imagine, this gave their music a very interesting sound. The best way I can describe it is a frenzy of sawing rhythms. Yeah, hard to imagine, I know. I will say that they had the cutest drummer of the evening and the guy playing the stand up bass was blessed with forearms to die for. It was too bad there wasn't much of a crowd because Matson Jones was one of the better bands on the bill.

They ended up playing a twenty to thirty minute set then they got their equipment off the stage and the next band set up. I should mention that where we were sitting was the area set up for the bands to sell their merchandise. Duncan and I were well out of the way of the tables though so no one ever asked us to move. Keen.

Next up was Watchers. This was a more traditional rock band in that they had a guitarist, a bassist, a drummer and a dude who played the bongos and a few other percussion instruments. The lead singer was deliciously geeky looking and his rock star dancing was reminiscent of Mick Jagger with a little Barney Fife thrown in.

Watchers were okay. I didn't like the guitar parts of any of their songs. They came across as too monotonous and discordant. Of course, I was sitting right next to the guitar amp so it could have skewed my listening experience. They also played around a thirty minute set and hossed their equipment off the stage lickety split once their time was up.

The Rogers Sisters came on stage next. Their set up was quick since they only had a guitarist, a bassist and a drummer. The guitarist and bassist shared singing duties. I wasn't too impressed with the MP3s Mike downloaded of this band but hearing them live was much better. I ended up liking this band quite a lot.

Band 4, The Chinese Stars, was listed on the marquee along with Shonen Knife and after hearing them play I'm mystified as to why. Of the four bands on the bill with Shonen Knife, The Chinese Stars was the weakest. Once again, a more traditional set up with drummer, guitarist, bassist and lead singer. I never could understand anything the lead singer said. Mainly Duncan and I were fascinated by his quirky stage style. It consisted of him jerking around sort of in time to the music and rubbing his head while sticking his tongue out. Occasionally his tongue would go back in his mouth so he could "sing."

I will say The Chinese Stars looked the most like a traditional rock band. The guitarist and bassist sported lots of tattoos, the drummer was wearing sunglasses and a t-shirt emblazoned with "I'd rather be fucking." The lead singer was probably the least rock star like but even he could have passed with a few thousand hours of ab crunches.

As for their music...I found it boring. As I mentioned earlier, I never could make out any of their lyrics and musically they didn't blow me away. It's so sad that the biggest crowd for the smaller bands was here when they were playing. Matson Jones deserved this spot and perhaps would have sold all their CDs. The Chinese Stars sold out before they even started playing. Bleh.

Finally around 11:30 Shonen Knife came on stage. Three diminutive Japanese women and damn, but I wish their CDs could capture the way they play live. And the best thing? We didn't have to move. We had our killer next to the stage seats. I wish I'd taken my camera but I figured there would be no picture taking. I was wrong. I could have snapped a ton of shots. Next time I'll be prepared.

After Shonen Knife's set, they went over to the merchandise area and signed CDs and posters. Mike bought Duncan a Shonen Knife t-shirt and he picked up a CD we didn't have along with two posters. They signed the CD and the two posters. We also bought Matson Jones' CD and a t-shirt and two Watchers CDs.

We left The Conservatory around 1 am and relieved Tracey of her onerous duty of watching Cal. Although she lucked out because he fell asleep around 8:30. I think she got a lot of reading done.

If you're a fan of Shonen Knife and ever have the opportunity to see them live, go for it. You won't be disappointed.

posted by Tamara - 8:49 PM -- Link to this entry
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