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Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Tale of Two Concerts 

Okay, so this week I had the good fortune to attend rare back-to-back concerts on my unorthodox Speical K weekend.

The first was the ultra teeny-bopper band All American Rejects with my KD cohort, Yoko. Of course I didn't realize they were tweener idols until we got there and stood amongst the masses of idol youths. I did the math and realized I could be any one of the band member's Mom. Sadly, not their slutty teenaged Mom either.


We were definitely in the Mom-waiting-in-the-wings-for-her-adolescent-while-complaining-about-the-noise section. So we hiked up our Mom jeans and bellied up to the bar for some liquid strength.

And by "we" I mean me.

They're not a bad group, really, just not for me. They started with the only song I recognized, Dirty Little Secret, and continued on in high-energy fashion, thrashing about on stage, climbing atop the monitors eliciting a cacophony of squeals from the adolescent girls with every wink and point in their direction. After about three songs, it all just sounded the same to these seasoned ears. The entire concert seemed so staged, like it was the same performance of the same setlist with the same stories told each and every night. Definitely not worth the hearing loss.

I'm spoiled by the Old 97's who's extensive catalog spans numerous genres. They never play the same show twice. And they never disappoint. Not that I'm biased or anything. By comparison, I found myself looking at my watch in hopes this evening was coming to a close. Whereas I NEVER look at my watch at a 97's show. Just sayin'.
The big, pricey backdrop, the extensive stage crew, the buses... someone's paying big bucks for this feh tour. I don't get it. I don't get how they pick the Chosen Ones to throw money at hand over fist. But then again, it ain't for us fucking "Moms".

Now go eat a hoagie, you skinny bastards.

(Truth be told, the band mates were sweethearts when meeting fans after the show, but seriously, they need to bulk up.)

In deep contrast to the play date the night before, I knew from the onset the English Beat/Squeeze concert would be a toddler-free zone. As out of place as I felt Wednesday night, Thursday night's vibe was all Snuggie comfy-cozy with my middle-aged peeps.

Dave Wakeling still kicking the jams
I have to admit, I bought tickets to this gig solely because The English Beat were the openers. I liked Squeeze in the 80s, but am ambivalent about them now. They're one of those bands whose music I skip when it comes up in shuffle on my iPod. Not to be douchey, but they're a bit too far in my past. Does that make sense?

in case you didn't know who they are
big signage for failing eyesight
they know their market
The Beat, however, are way up on my favorites list. Dave Wakeling is the sole survivor of the original cast of characters, but boy he puts together a fun group. Being a seated venue filled with stilted white people, everyone sat politely for the first song. Song number two... Sheila and I along with a smattering of others, busted up the Puritanical proclivity by standing and dancing in our limited space. By song four, everyone of us uptight whities were on our feet, singing and unabashedly dancing to our own inner rhythm.

They are such a good time, I defy anyone to sit still during their Ska-talicious beat. Their shortened set included lots of hits, I Confess, Save it For Later and ending with Mirror in the Bathroom, all extended versions.

I Confess is for Geo. It's his favorite. You should hear him sing it in the car. He's great. It's cut short because I could bare to stay motionless and quiet no longer. And no one needs to hear my caterwaul preserved on tape. EVER.

So in the middle of Save it for Later, this happened...

The bass player lifted this lad from the audience on to the stage. That little kid could not have been any happier! He pogoed and bopped at full tilt for the rest of the song. He made my bladder leak just watching him.


Too much information? Grow up, Pussies. That's for realz.

Ohmigod! Too much fun! For once, I wasn't praying for the warm-up to spontaneously combust. It was the first time I have ever seen an opening act get a whooping Standing O. An hour was definitely not enough.

As a matter of full disclosure, I had kinda planned an early escape several songs into Squeeze's show, but when Glen Tilbrook walked out he looked so much like my college crush, Hank that it was oddly familiar and comforting. (Hank at 50, not 20 y'all, because that would be all kinds of weird if I had a crush at 20 on a guy who looked like his future middle-aged self) He had the same face shape, same irresistible big blue orbs, same mannerisms. I liked him immediately.

Irrational, yes, but there you have it. Whatever. I'm a chick. Don't question.
Difford and Tilbrook
notice the fab purple satin suit
only an Brit can get away with that one
or maybe Prince
I'm so glad we stayed until the encore break. The show was way more enjoyable than expected. Tilbrook's voice is still clear and strong, hitting all the high notes without a crack. And man, can he play guitar!! I had no idea he was the shredder of the band. They played pretty much everything I could long to hear, Muscles From a Shell, Tempted, Another Nail in My Heart, Annie Get Your Gun, Cool for Cats, Up the Junction...

Behold the beauty of the purple satin suit!

Besides the animation projected on the screen behind them in the above video, there were other amusing loops like a girl dressed in a 60s micro mini dancing awkwardly and a x-rayed figure swimming, smoking, fornicating. Okay, probably not that last one.
And Holy Crap! Weirdos, you are the best thing about life, ever.

Seriously, half of the fun of this particular evening was watching the crazies in the audience. God bless your collective pointy little heads.

Between the l'il balding dude literally darting up and down the aisle to video tape songs and Narcissistic Barbie and Ken attempting their self portrait a ridiculous number of times during the show with their antiquated 90s phone equipped with a blinding light as bright as a thousand suns, we were crying. So were the couple behind them, because their retinas were singed. At first it was uber annoying, but as it went endlessly on and on and on, it became downright hysterical. Best part is, they never did get a decent photo. Ha! Tools.

So, to recap:

Night out AS the oldster sucks. Night out WITH the oldsters rules.