Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hipster Tuesday

The Kills / The Horrors / Magic Wands
The Fillmore, San Francisco
May 19, 2009

The first time I visited The Fillmore was in 1987 to see The Jesus & Mary Chain (Darklands Tour) supported by Opal (Does anyone even remember Opal!?).. Fast forward to the 21st Century and it was funny how much the ghost of that Jesus & Mary Chain show haunted this evening in my head.

Magic Wands (another 1 girl / 1 boy band lineup) was onstage as we entered the sold out Fillmore; their use of drum tracks instead of a human drummer gave me a sense of deja vu back to that '87 Jesus & Mary Chain show and its lack of a human drummer. However, I couldn't really get past the silly stuffed tiger heads the band had onstage. Sorry, guys.. but that's where my head was (or wasn't) at..

The Horrors' debut album grabbed me by the neck with its Goth / Garage Rock Fuzz vibe.. and I had been waiting 2 years to see them since I missed their S.F. debut in 2007 at 330 Rich. However, recent developments with the band made me regret missing that show even more. Much to my horror (pun intended), The Horrors changed their image and sound since their debut; I was bummed out by advance reviews of their new album announcing the band's new direction to a more 80's Electronic thing. As a result, I decided not to listen to any of their new songs prior to the show; I wanted my first live experience to be untainted by further negative preconceptions about the band.

Well, my strategy did not work... The Horrors are like an 80's cover band.. They mimic that era's sound.. They play *the right* vintage guitars and have *the right* look, but they don't have THE SONGS to honor their retro image. This was magnified 1,000x by the fact the band ignored their debut album and only played tracks from the new album... and the new songs are a misguided departure from the sound that made me a fan 2 years ago; the Goth / Garage Rock Fuzz has been replaced by a half ass impersonation of Alternative / Shoegaze /120 Minutes. Long rant short: The Horrors went from THIS to THIS. Sorry.. that was me yawning. Donde esta Dave Kendall?

I've been following The Kills since their 2003 debut, but have gone in and out of being into them over those years. I genuinely like the band; their use of drum tracks instead of a human drummer gave me a sense of deja vu back to that '87 Jesus & Mary Chain show and its lack of a human drummer. They play *the right* vintage guitars and have *the right* look but, unlike The Horrors, they have some good songs. Still, I like The Kills because of Alison's voice and charisma, which manages to transcend any shortcomings in the songwriting department... Needless to say, I'm waiting to see what she pulls off fronting a full band in The Dead Weather thing with the guy from that other 1 girl / 1 boy band.

Alison and Jamie covered 'Crazy', which was ironic since I saw Willie at The Fillmore earlier this year... and for their encore they brought out The Horrors to perform a decidedly lackluster version of 'Baby Please Don't Go' that ultimately went nowhere musically... but I got the point.

The Drunk Hipster of the Night Award goes to the Hipster Girl who, despite having a good 4-5 feet of open space, still managed to careen off course to drunkenly bump into someone. Ironically, the Umlaut Nation was nicely represented at the show.. so a shout out to Timo, Teri, Ray, Miatomic, Dema, Todd, Alan, Photo Ray, and Hard Rock Chick.

Self-Aware Hipster "ironically" wearing an Iron Maiden shirt who would get his ass kicked at a Maiden show = 1. If you bought one of every Kills merch item you would have paid around $120. On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called us fags. A week ago to the day, I had a much better, and bloodier, Tuesday night; you can take Umlaut out of THE METAL, but you can't take THE METAL out of Umlaut. Click HERE to see some nice photos from that night with the lovely Swedes.