Thursday, November 11, 2004

Bleed The Geek

For better or worse, this blog is mostly Music Geek Land. P'raps in the future there will be more non-music content.. but til then this space will be more interested in 7" colored vinyl than possible election fraud on the Florida Panhandle. I leave political blogging to The Kidz.. Because I believe that children are our future.. Teach them well and let them lead the way.


The Brian Jonestown Massacre
Bottom of the Hill, S.F.
November 10, 2004

This was the type of gig experience that reminded me of being a young music geek. Carpe Diem Lock 'N Loll.. The show started at 9:30pm, but after watching 'Lost' I was on the verge of staying home. However, I did the 'ol Devil and Angel on opposing shoulders inner monologue and left the house at 10:44pm.

Back in 1992 a girl I sorta, kinda dated told me about a band called The Brian Jonestown Massacre who lived near her in The Haight. She was a photographer of genuine talent and showed me pics she'd taken of them. Fast forward 12 years and I have no idea what happened to that girl... but here I was leaving the warmth and safety of my home in the middle of the night to go see that same band.

As fate would have it, I finally saw the documentary Dig! the night before this gig. In my opinion, it's everything that Some Kind Of Monster wasn't.. Yeah, it depicts drug addict, unstable musicians. Yeah, it depicts egotistical, dysfunctional musicians. Yeah, but it also depicts two bands whose music I really dig (pun intended)... But ultimately the film is about "the music" and the eternal battle of Creativity vs. The Biz.. AND there are no millionaire Rock Stars whining about their lot in life while selling their Basquiat collections at Christie's.

The last time I saw BJM was 6 months ago and it was a MESS. Anton was out of it, the band was out of it, and they barely made it through songs. After 40 minutes I was already on my way back home after Anton jumped off the stage to fight a guy in the crowd.

Since that night, Dig! was released and it's received alot of attention. I'm sure folks are checking out BJM simply to see if Anton will lose it onstage like he does in the film. I'm sure folks are checking out BJM to badger Anton so he will lose it onstage like he does in the film. Sad that those expectations aren't based on the band's music, because I think Anton's songwriting and talent are fuckin' brilliant.

True to this line of thought, the Bottom of the Hill was packed. The show 6 months ago was rather empty. Waiting for BJM to get onstage I hoped they would come out and just kick ass.. I sensed that quite a few audience members had seen the documentary and were mainly there to see "that insane guy" Anton. I wanted Anton and BJM to let the music do the talking.

'Round 11:30pm BJM were onstage and blasted through 3 or 4 songs without Anton saying one word to the crowd. My brain was spinning. By 1:20am I was back out on the rainy streets of S.F. sort of dazed and reunited with the Jetta. On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called me a fag. BJM had played one of the best sets I'd seen all year.

They were all business for at least the first hour, then the alcohol started kicking in... but Anton and the band didn't fall apart like they might have in the past. Yeah, there were a couple of moments where you felt the crowd tense as Anton ranted about something or at someone... but he and the band held it together. After a tense (but ultimately funny) encounter with a heckler, Anton stepped to the mic and the band slammed into a roaring version of 'Going To Hell'. All I could say to myself was "Goddam, I'm glad I left the house tonight..."

"You live in a dream, and it's not going well.. Superman cannot save you 'cause you're going to Hell."

Hmmm... As I was typing this I had Hüsker Dü's 'Candy Apple Grey' album playing (on vinyl!)... I haven't listened to it in a LONG time. It still holds up.

Here's something for The Kidz: The other day on NPR, Terry Gross mentioned that U.S. Military Intelligence plays Metallica, Sesame Street, and Barney music to Iraqi prisoners to soften them up for interrogation.

Geek out.