Wow...well I really owe Becca big time. What a trooper. I'm not sure how I talked her into it...but I dragged Becca to a Ladytron concert last night. And man am I sorry.
She went primarily on the strength of a couple of Ladytron's big hits from the electroclash days a few years back. Namely "Seventeen" and "PlayGirl" both of which are excellent songs and don't care what anyone says...I wanted to see them in concert because I think of them as a lo-fi electro act with some catchy dance songs. Well looks like I haven't been surfing Pitchfork.com enough lately because it seems Ladytrons last album was a pretty much straight ahead indie-rock wall of guitar and synth-noise tribute to I guess Siouxie and the Banshees with a little Blondie and I hear a lot of Lush (although that is a point Becca will dispute...but I think that's just cause she's not as familiar with Lush's Lovelife album...an album from which any of Ladytrons new songs would have fit seemlessly in my opinion.)
Anyway...so we go thinking were in for a night of campy electro goodness...much as we would if we were gonna go see any other band who was in heavy rotation back in the Latex or Synthetic days.
Well this is where the hurtin starts. First off this show was in Pamona...which is basically a little podunk town out towards Riverside (for those of you not from LA think, Visalia, Wendover, or Paso Robles...whatever fits). It took us about an hour and a half...the first 30 minutes of which was spent crusing at a healthy 80MPH thinking we were gonna get there with plenty of time to spare (which we would...but I'll get to THAT later). The last hour was spent crawling along the last four miles of our journey in bumper to bumper gridloack....which soured the mood considerably before we even got out of the car.
So then we get to the turn we were supposed to take and it was all blocked off with construction...the first side street I turned down dead ended in the scariest set of abandoned train cars and rusted out pick ups I've ever seen. The second road I ducked down turned out much better. It was about a ten minute drive through Pamona abandoned/boarded up/punk squated-in/decaying down-town area and we were there. This should tell you about the calibur of our trip. The highlight of the night for me...was the parking. That's right. The parking. Parking in downtown pamona is ample and free. WE could have parked right in front of hte venue and got in line...had I known such a thing were possible. But being used to hollywood I assumed there would be a "no parking midnight to 6AM" sign posted so I parked a little down the street in a well lit public parking lot. So if you have to go to pamona, at least you'll have the parking ot look forward to.
We got there about 6:55PM. The doors were scheduled to open at 7...so good timing. There was a pretty substantial line sanking from the enterance and that is when the sinking in my stomach started. I'd have to put the mean age of most of the audience at around 17. And since I just turned 30...that gives me the creeps. I understand indie rock kids...I get it...but I just can't get on board with how they dress. I mean...they intentionally were a collage of eye-gougingly mismatched clothes that are supposed to be 80s inspired...and all of them have there FUCKING HAIR COMBED OVER!!! I mean it's like a crowd of fucking balding Kiwanis pancake servers with a shock of thick hair desperately comebed over their greasy foreheads...It just makes me uncomfortable to see people try so hard to look stupid.
Anyway so we get in line. Its freezing cold. And Becca has to pee. Ten minutes go by Becca gets antsy...twenty minutes go by Becca starts to get non-plused. Thirty minutes go by...becca gest openly hostile...and then some pudgy emo kid starts walking up and down the line telling us not to lean on the wall cause the resturant owners will get mad. "Here's an idea..how about don't keep us waiting 45 minutes past the time the doors are supposed to open jag off...then we wouldn't lean on anything." to which he responded "Sir, the doors will open soon. I'd appreciate it if you didn't lean on the wall". So by now Becca and I are walking with our knees locked in utter pee pain desperation. and it's another 15 minutes before the let us in the building. That's right...more than an hour after the posted time the doors were to open the line began moving. That is just not cool. Serves me right for getting there on time I guess...that' why the cool kids always skip the opening band. I just can't do it casue I get paranoid that something will happen and the headliner will go on early and I'll miss it. I'm Concert going OCD that way.
So the line moved suprisingly quickly and Becca and I were treated to what might have been an old super market or movie theater turned into a decent 800 person venue. I think the stage set up was good, but the bathrooms left ALOT to be desired. According to Becca the womens room didn't have stall doors or TOILET SEATS!!!! I mean I know that a lot of indie kids are lesbians...but man...what a golden shower peep show...that's just fucked.
The mens room wasn't much better. its a cramped afair...so I hope you like touching another man's shoulders while you pee...cuase you will.
The only thing that could have saved my ass from owing Becca a trip to the hip hop concert of her choice would have been a nicely stocked bar.
But guess what. All ages show. Over the "bar" was a sign that read "NO BOOZE". Well that's just great. Here I am dragging becca to this concert filled with KXLU rejects and she's gonna have to face this thing sober.
I call the area a bar...but it really resembled a snack bar at a high school basketball stadium...all cardboard signs and nachos. We got some nachos and some water (it was a better deal...the soda was 3 bucks for a 12oz glass...no thanks) and watched the first band.
The first band..."The Submarines" was really a couple of new age hippies singing jingle jangle "We didn't vote for Bush" songs. It was decent. They had a couple of portishead style songs towards the end that were good...but overall the chick singing would annoyingly talk and giggle through out the set and ruin any sense of atmosphere that the songs might have conveyed otherwise...they had a sort of "aw schucks, you guys really liked that song...really" thing going on and Becca and I were just like, "Thank you good night".
Oh I guess I should mention that Brenda and Mike showed up and were sitting next to us eating nachos by this time too. They were also contributing to the Perversion style people watching / shit talking that was going on. It was fun.
And then came Ladytron. Becca was pretty much ready to leave after the first thirty seconds. I was into it...but Becca made a good point. About halfway into it she was like, "what do you LIKE about these guys" and I said, "I like this sort of goth-rock sound...it's like joy division or Siouxie". and she said..."yeah, but that's not why you came to this show...you came cause of the electroclash songs you know. none of the songs sound anything like that stuff." And I thought about it and she was right. Even the songs I recognized sounded NOTHING like the album version...and for all the spruced up "rocking" that they did (basically they added a grinding grunge guitar and live drums to otherwise minimal synth songs) they were the most BORING group I've ever seen. And I've seen a lot of one man / one lap top electronic shows. The lead singers only movements was an occasional jerk of her shoulder in a sort of Goldfrapp/Kylie Minoguie on downers motion. And these songs are all upity dance songs...
It was truly awful. Becca and I waited to hear them butcher "Seventeen" and "Playgirl" with nasally distortion drowned excess and left during the crowd surge when they played their current radio single.
The drive home was uneventful...but I couldn't help thinking that I could have saved my money and watched the last two episodes of lost season two for FREE at my house and had a lot better time.
I guess a bands got to evolve you know. I mean Depeche Mode uses a lot of guitar now-a-days and I 'd have to say Violator is a better album than speak and spell...so it's not that I'm anti guitar...But sometimes a band risks alienating their original fans to keep up with the times...or explore new sonic identities.
I'd still buy Ladytrons next album...but I will never see them in concert again.
They sucked. Hard, easily the worst concert I've seen since Modest Mouse...oh...I'm really bagging on indie rock...Hey I say jets to brazil and they were great.