Friday, August 8, 2008

The Logistics of Dancing

Typically when I go to shows, I don't do much moving; I'm more the type of person who just stands there like this, crosses his arms, stares you down, and drinks and moans and disses. In fact, I can only recall one instance in which I danced because I felt like it, and not because I was at a high-school prom and felt obligated to give it a try. I didn't really expect to change any of that when I went to see the dance-rock-oriented quadruple bill at the Trocadero on Thursday night. My plan was to get there in time to see Matt & Kim and (especially) the Go! Team, hang out near the back of the crowd where I wouldn't be sucked into any sort of writhing mass of hipster bodies, and possibly sneak out partway through CSS's set.

Things did not quite work out that way.

I arrived at the Troc as opener Natalie Portman's Shaved Head were playing, whose name I'm sure seemed clever back in March of 2006. Aside from that, they sang songs about beards and ponytails, making me wonder exactly what was up with their hair fixation. There was a lot of shout-singing, synths, and flourescent outfits, and only one song ("Me Plus Yr Daughter") really made much of an impression on me. Overall, they seemed to be one of those irksome "Look how weird we are!" bands.

Now Matt & Kim, I like. If you're not familiar with them, they're basically a punkier version of Mates of State, an utterly adorable couple who play drums and keyboards. They came on stage playing "The Final Countdown," and went on to perform a high-energy set punctuated with cute, rambling stories about equipment troubles, getting beaten to the show by a guy on a scooter, and how Matt looks like Where's Waldo when he's wearing a striped shirt. Also, the way Kim plays, you'd think that a drum set had once killed her family and she's devoted her life to making it suffer.

The Go! Team is who I really came to see, though; I loved their first album, and like the couple of songs I've heard off of Proof of Youth. So when the band kicked off their set with some unfamiliar cuts from the latter album, I was thinking, "Yeah, this is pretty good." Then they segued into "The Power is On," and I'm not entirely sure what happened to me. All I know is that for the next -- forty-five minutes? hour? I have no idea how long they played -- I was waving my arms, shaking my hips, moving from side to side, honest-to-blog dancing. And I only stopped during "Everyone's a V.I.P. to Someone," because that song's pretty un-danceable until the end.

As for CSS's set, here's the stuff I'd typically be blogging about:
  • Lead singer Lovefoxxx took the stage wearing a feathery outfit that made her look like Bjork's kid sister.
  • I can only identify 3 CSS songs.
  • I could hardly understand a word they were singing.
But that's about all I could tell you since I spent the remainder of the show continuing to make a fool of myself.

I know that a really great concert can easily lead to hyperbole (and this show definitely ranks in my personal all-time top 5), but I really felt like this was a transformative night for me. All my life, I thought I just hated dancing, and that I was the sort of person who just sort of hangs around at shows thinking of clever bon-mots to use in his obligatory blog review the next day. It turns out, though, that with a few drinks, music that I really love, and a crowd of like-minded people who are equally unworried about looking silly, I can become a different person. Suddenly, the world seemed full of possibilities. Performers like Daft Punk, Girl Talk, and LCD Soundsystem that I was afraid to see live because I feared I wouldn't fit in with the crowd are, just like that, no longer off-limits. I felt like 26 wasn't that old after all, and hipsters aren't so scary when you see them up-close. I felt like I had been reborn.

So, yeah: really good show. You should check 'em out sometime.

Anything Else You Want to Say?

  • You know what's always cool? When someone from the opening band is manning the merch table after the show. Especially if that person is Kim from Matt & Kim, since you already feel like you're on a first-name basis. Rather than being like, "I would like to purchase a T-shirt, ma'am" you can be like, "Hi, Kim! Great show! Can I buy a T-shirt?" Plus, all of this psuedo-familiarity allowed me to courteously point out that Kim had given me the wrong change for my shirt (fool me once, shame on you...).
  • OK, one more cool thing about Kim: before CSS's set, I overheard her recommending to a skeptical concertgoer a certain kind of earplugs that she had stored in a little case dangling from her belt loop: the very same earplugs that I had in a little case dangling from my belt loop! Take that, everyone who ever laughed at me when I put in my earplugs that make it look like I have little antennae! (I've never actually heard these people laughing, but I'm certain that they exist)
  • After seeing the Go! Team, I'm thinking that two-drummer bands are starting to become the norm rather than the exception.
  • So, dancing? Kinda fun! I can see why people have been doing it for a few thousand years.

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