Friday, March 15, 2002

Rock Shows of Note VII
I feel kinda weird reviewing one of the Anchormen's own shows, but last night at the Upstairs Lounge was so much fun! There was a Bruins game, so traffic, parking, and pedestrian activity was crazy, but once we were loaded in, everything was A-OK.

First up, Spoilsport, who I quite enjoyed when they played at the Hi-Fi in Jamaica Plain. Last night, they were even better. They're still a little rough around the edges -- they need to tighten up and develop some more stage presence before they make a really good live band -- but the mix of the stage, the increased volume, and the crowd full of friends did them well. They covered the Go-Go's "Head Over Heels" again, played "Boys on the Beach" or whatever it's called, and revisited several of the songs they played at the Hi-Fi -- including the country-tinged number about taking the train home to a loved one. They also debuted several new songs, always a good thing.

Next up, Hip Tanaka, who -- while they certainly didn't disappoint -- were a pale shadow of the band I saw play at the Abbey. I don't know if their set was lighter on the silliness, sloppiness, and spazziness that I had so enjoyed in their garage-tinged power pop previously, or if I was listening through rose-colored ear plugs because I was a little bit beery at the Abbey, but last night was a lackluster set of standard college rock with some psychedelic elements. But they did bring a bunch of friends, and they seemed to have fun. Still, I think I might need to give them another chance before I write them off.

Then, us. Obviously, I can't review the Anchormen objectively, but we rocked! It was so much fun. Tom didn't break a string. I didn't forget a substantial amount of words. And Chris was spot on with his banter and commentary as always. One friend overheard an audience member say, "I've never had so much fun!" (I kinda feel sorry for that one.) Another woman said, "You guys were hot!" And people -- including the folks who booked the show and were working sound -- let us play several more songs after the set ended because of the enthusiastic crowd response. I've got to get one of those athletic glasses holders so my specs stay on my head, though. They were flying all over the place!

As a footnote, I also met a woman named Alex, who's playing with the idea of "opening a cafe/ media-oriented haven in Union Square." That's in Somerville, son. She's also the new Boston coordinator for Media Bistro. That in itself might be enough to drag me back to one of those media mixers to meet and mingle with other area editors and writers. The ones I've gone to previously have been pretty lame. Fingers crossed that Alex does a bang-up job.

Oh, another side note. After the show, a woman came up to the stage and asked me, "Are you in the Tribe?" I had no idea what she was talking about. "Are you tribal?" Still, no idea. "Are you guys Jewish?" Huh? Oh! We have a song about Harry Houdini and his wife that includes the line, "You are a Catholic, and I am a Jew." That, coupled with a joke Chris made about me just having my bar mitzvah (after Jef said he thought my voice was getting lower) -- and something I said about trading my yarmulka for a green plastic St. Patrick's Day bowler -- led her and her friends to think we were Jewish. Maybe we can capitalize on that somehow. We've already considered doing an album of Christian punk-rock cover songs so we can get on Tooth & Nail. You know, they've got the distro nailed down, and evangelical Christian kids active in youth groups are just starving for good music they can listen to without being criticized and ostracized. I mean, come on, they've got, what, POD and Beanbag? Please.

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