I fucking love punk rock. Some of my earliest memories involve listening to the Ramones in the kitchen of my childhood home with my father. He would explain the importance of punk music to me and I would listen in wonder as he detailed what bands like the Ramones meant when they first hit the music scene way back when. Now it’s 2013, and I’m a 19-year-old kid trying to figure out what exactly “punk” means this day and age.
I went and saw the band Crystal Castles play at the House of Blues in New Orleans (which is a pretty all right venue when it’s not occupied by douchers who think ironic mustaches are cool) last Friday. These guys have gotten pretty big since their debut came out in 2008, and deservedly so. They way they combine rave and noise music with a punk aesthetic has been pretty influential on electronic music already, and while I wasn’t that big of a fan of their latest record, their first two are thrashtastic masterpieces.
My friends and I showed up to the queue outside about an hour and a half before the doors open only to find one other group of peeps waiting in front of us. Most of the attendees of this show made me realize how un-punk I am in my appearance and that I have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to my tattoos/facial piercings (just kidding, I’m too much of a baby to get any part of my body pierced). I should also mention here that the majority of concertgoers that night were extremely young, but I’m all right with that. Old people suck, which brings me to the opening band, Doldrums- a group your parents totally wouldn’t get.
I realize that Doldrums isn’t technically a “band”, as opposed to a “project”, but going to see a “project” perform live sounds fucking lame. So the Doldrums dude hired his two strung-out buddies to wear freaky make-up and bash on garbage cans and cracked cymbals to press forward the assertion that something besides sample-triggering and vocal manipulation was being performed live in the moment. It’s obvious that the music of Doldrums is highly influenced by Animal Collective, but that doesn’t make it any less infectious. My only complaints are that it wasn’t loud enough and they didn’t play “Jump Up”.
I ended up meeting Airick Woodhead (Doldrums) after the show. He seemed really spaced out and I couldn’t figure out if his aloofness was genuine or some insincere image he was trying to assert. Either way, he signed my record. So that’s pretty cool I guess.
When I was 11 years old, I transferred to a school different than the one I had attended since kindergarten. It was the fifth grade and puberty was beginning to sink its unrelenting claws into my peach fuzzed arms. I was a minority at this new school, and there weren’t many kids interested in being my friend. I was fucked with a lot, which sucked.
One day when I was riding my back home after class (I only lived maybe five blocks away), one of my classmates ran out from behind a bush and shoved me off my speeding bike. I fell into the pavement skull-first and watched him run for my trusty steed and start to pick it up and ride it. Oh hell no. That shiny green bicycle was my birthday present from last year, and there was no way I was letting it go that easily.
I jumped up and ran after the kid. He only got a few pedals in before I leaped on top of him and forced us to tumble into the grass. We wrestled and kicked each other for about seven seconds before an old lady walking what must have been her granddaughter home yelled at us to stop fighting. He got up and ran off. Victory. I still had my bike. The next day in class, we pretended like nothing ever happened.
The dimming of the concert hall lights quickly turn conversations involving the exchanging of Tumblr URL’s into a deafening roar of hoots and hollers. Alice Glass and Ethan Kath take the stage along with their touring drummer as they launch into “Plague”. The incessantly flashing strobes and lasers make me feel like I’m in a Gaspar Noé movie. The band continues to play pretty much every song you’d hope them to (except for “Empathy”, what the fucking fuck). “Doe Deer”, “Baptism”, and “Not In Love” were personal highlights for me. Throughout the show I got to support Alice’s weight with my scrawny arms multiple times as she shoved her crotch in my face and spit Jack Daniels at me. Yes, it was fantastic.
The crowd interaction was great and everyone seemed pretty keen on moshing throughout the entire show. Overall, it was an exceptionally fun experience and by the end of the night I had collected enough of other people’s sweat on my body to fill about 3 mason jars. If this doesn’t sound appealing to you, I probably wouldn’t suggest going to a Crystal Castles concert. If it does, Godspeed.
A Stoner Experiences Cosmic Slop:
There’s so much space in all those P-Funk records, like a room you can just walk into and stay awhile, and the music is happening all around you like a party with guests constantly arriving and ducking out for cigarettes & coming back again, singing along with the radio or ordering pizza or playing cards or fucking behind the couch. The best way to listen to any Funkadelic record is just experience it—and don’t ask what it all means, for chrissakes. You just don’t interrupt a party to ask people what they’re so goddamn happy about.
Take this song: “Cosmic Slop.” If you pick apart at the lyrics, it’s about a poor boy whose mother turns tricks to keep the family fed. But that’s just the words talking. The music is saying a whole lot more. This song is about the Fall of Man, the Apple, the post-lapsarian descent of the human fucking condition, and Everything That Came After—including you and me meeting at this party.
I’m unable to celebrate Record Store Day today since I have to work, so I decided to pay Domino Records in Uptown NOLA a visit yesterday evening. I got:
- Can- Ege Bamyasi
- Stevie Wonder- Innervisions
- Plant Music- Music To Keep Your Plants Healthy and Happy
I also bought Doldrums’ “She Is The Wave” 7” at the show last night. Even got Airick to sign it for me.
Gonna try to write more about that show last night when I have some free time.