I understand the gimmicks, and I understand the jokes, but it just made me sad. Half-baked Plant thrusting accompanying half-assed Zeppelin covers, a girl singer so hesitant to move in her skin, and dressed so compellingly, so calculatingly the way a girl in the band should dress. Drunk girls singing and falling over, imagining a measure of inclusion. You feel so in the loop but you are the the problem. No, not women making music, or enjoying music- it is women passively subscribing to their accepted, apologetic positions in music making and consumption. Sitting pretty and playing keyboard. Trying to catch the eyes of some guy in the band. I want to hear you roar. But that's a rant for another day.
Back to the actual show. My personal favourite must have been "PhDs Ain't Shit"-sitting with grad student friends, listening to the totally unmotivated, uninformed, belligerence. Be punk or whatever it is you are trying to be if you actually have something to say. There's a garbage strike in Manchester- that sucks. You're on the dole-that sucks. (It is also not the time for the debating the possibility that punk itself has middle-class origins). But seeing a bunch of solid middle-class kids singing about immateriality of university education, the same education they hope will procure solid, middle-class jobs in the future, was truly hilarious, but not for the reasons these wannabes intended. Evidently most people were in attendance for the party promised after the gig, and they were happily just drunk enough to enjoy the music.
Blair Miskie and the Goods, however, performed a sleek, catchy set of all original tunes. From surf-inspired gems to funked-up crybaby Shaft-like jams, the boys impressed the drunken lot who crowded in to see the headliner. Front man Miskie fostered great rapport with the audience, pairing Buddy Holly's endearing awkwardness with mature rock sensibility. This guy really knows how to write a hook. And his lyrics! Murder, intoxication and psychoses-all wrapped up in glossy pop wrappers. Like cyanide in a bubble gum wrapper. The Goods delivered the goods, featuring technical but bluesy keys solos, Motown breakdowns and great chemistry overall. I'll be sure to pick up the band's new EP "Events Soon Forgotten."
Since I'm new to this oh so foreign world of blogging, and I was frightened to come through the looking glass, let's break the ice-tain for a moment. You coud call me an elitist, and you'd probably be right. But there's one thing I do know: to quote the inestimable Louis Armstrong, "There is two kinds of music, the good and the bad." And tonight, I witnessed both.