LP: Wreckless Eric by Wreckless Eric
1978 Stiff Records SEEZ B6, 10″, Brown vinyl
Favorite Track: Reconnez Cherie
Last night a girl said I was cool. I am not. I’m just a geek. The compliment came about because the conversation had turned into a joke that I was bragging about my record collection. But it got me thinking about the amazing concerts I have attended in my life.
But this geek has managed to attend some incredible concerts in his life time. No, I wasn’t there for the first time Television played at CBGB’s, heck, I never even been in New York City. I didn’t see Neutral Milk Hotel before they were cool. I didn’t play the same open mic as Bob Dylan. But, for being born in 1983 and not into music until 1994 and not really going to concerts until 1998, I managed to see a lot of the bands that I listen to, almost all of whom peaked before my existence. Some people argue that seeing them is like seeing the shadow of the past–that going to the concert would diminish their appreciation of the music. Hogwash I say. Most of the bands I saw were still rocking. Here are some highlights:
Crash Test Dummies: First concert. Hated it. Squatted on the floor of Bogart’s with my hands over my ears. No joke.
The Living End/Ozomatli/The Offspring: Pittsburgh. Heard someone complain about them playing a song they never heard–the song being Self-Esteem. Girls wanted to make out with my friend and I right when my dad arrived to drive us to my aunt’s. Timing has always been a problem with me.
Too many ska-punk bands to count by Less Than Jake, Flogging Molly, Anti-Flag, and Suicide Machines are the first I think of: Yes, I went to ska shows. And I danced my legs off. I had the chance to have sex in the bathroom of Bogart’s and blew it because I didn’t understand when the girl said she wanted to change underwear she meant something else. I didn’t want to lose my glow-in-the-dark pirate boxers. The strange priorities of a 16 year old.
The Black Keys: circa 2001 or 2002. Had no idea who they were. Still never have listen to an entire album by them. Had a great time but find it odd that they are so popular now.
Holly Golightly: I had the audacity to try and flirt with her while sitting with the band before the show. I think she was amused at my stupidity.
Ko and the Knockouts: Defunct now, but Ko is a fantastic front woman.
Mirah: In my memory, this was a free concert at the coffeehouse in the old school center, but I could be wrong.
The Slits: Before Ari Up died. She spent a good portion of the show, too much in my humble opinion, saying that they were the first punk band to combine punk and reggae. I didn’t need to re-learn the history lesson, but they were fun and played well. However, I regret not saying hello when I arrived very early to the show and wished I could have said thanks to Ari.
Bob Dylan: circa 2007. Modern Times just came out and I was expecting to hear many tracks from that, which would have been fine because I like that album. I stood in the front partially because of some old hippies that really wanted my mom to see him. He was about 5 feet from me. It took me almost the whole song to recognize that it was Maggie’s Farm. His voice was gravel being scraped on gravel (though it improved by the 4th song). It took me most of The Times They Were A-Changin’ to realize: Holy shit he just played Maggie’s Farm. Then followed Lonesome Day Blues, Positively 4th Street, Stuck Inside Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again, ‘Til I Fell In Love With You, To Ramona, Cold Iron Bounds (the best song of the night actually, holy f—the bass), Girl From the North Country (one of my secret favorites!), Highway 61 Revisited, Sugar Baby, Summer Days, with an encore of Like a Rolling Stone and All Along the Watchtower. I still haven’t recovered from this concert. It also started the brief trend of me making mixed cds of setlists.
Wire: Friends and I headed up to Chicago to visit an old childhood friend and catch this amazing under-appreciated punk band. They mostly played from their new album at the time Red Barked Trees. They did play 106 Beats That, Pink Flag, Kidney Bingos, and Map Ref. 41 N 93 W, which makes owning that single more special. They didn’t jump around stage, however, they made me wish I could play a guitar.
Rocket From the Tombs: Apparently Cheetah Chrome quit this reunion right after this show as David Thomas was predictably an asshole. One flubbed note and Dave was making throat slitting motions at Cheetah. That being said they were good and of course ended with Final Solution and Sonic Reducer. I shook Cheetah’s hand and thanked him while ignoring Dave hocking merchandise.
Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine: Jello was Jello and my high school inner child about died in the small crowd that came on to the Madison Theatre on Veteran’s Day. We were by far the youngest people there. The band sounded just like any other Jello Biafra band that sounds like the Dead Kennedys but isn’t by name, but no complaints here. They covered Nazi Punks Fuck Off and California Uber Alles changing the lyrics into a song about Gov. Arnold. For an encore, they rocked Holiday in Cambodia. While I was closing my tab, I felt fully satisfied with the show. Then Jello got on stage again (he had put his shirt back on and hid his belly) and started talking about America’s secret national anthem. I ran back to the stage with the 5 or 6 remaining people. America’s secret national anthem was Kill the Poor. Oh did I mosh.
Black Pus/Lightning Bolt: Speaking of moshing…
Wolves of the Throne Room: I went to the show right after work so I had no time to change although I wouldn’t have anyways. I walked into the Mockbee’s in dress shoes, a tie, a collared shirt, and my fedora. Every one was wearing black and combat boots. One metal head said to the other: “See that guy in the tie? He must be a serial killer.” I out metaled the metal kids.
The Damned: Back to Chicago. They played the entirely of Damned Damned Damned and the Black Album. I almost lost my voice singing along. They blazed and it didn’t feel like 1977 but it felt like time did not matter. I want them to come back to America.
Joe Jack Talcum (of the Dead Milkmen): Man, he was short. It was great. I stood on a bar stool and could barely see him. Of course, the Whig was violating fire laws with how many people were stuffed in there. Played Bitchin’ Camero, Dean’s Dream and the Thing That Only Eats Hippies. Wheee!
Wreckless Eric and Amy Rigby: They have the sweetest love story. Amy Rigby used to cover The Whole Wide World in her set and Wreckless Eric heard her perform it. They fell in love and are now together and they even incorporated their story into their set. The show was in this art studio in Indianapolis and felt a little more like a performance art with all the chairs, but they rocked. And they were very sweet to me when I asked for their autographs.
Le Tigre (canceled) Lesbians on Ecstasy: It really sucks that Le Tigre canceled the show. From what my cool friend tells me it was when Kathleen had Lyme disease but it wasn’t diagnosed properly. My heart goes out to her. However, the Lesbians on Ecstasy deserve super credit for playing the show anyways and rocking real fucking hard. The lead singer was in all leather with a whip. This show is also memorable because my dad saw me dancing with all these girls and said I should go hit on them. I thought the band name said it all…
The Decemberists: I didn’t get to hear the Mariner’s Revenge Song, but I heard lots of their early awesome songs and then they played all of the Taint before it had been released.
The Fiery Furnaces: Better show then I would have thought. These last 3 were at the 40 Watt Club. I think my dad slept in the car for this one.
Television: Baclk to Chicago. I had just found an amazing bookstore. It was a nasty sweaty day in Chicago. I was alone in probably the largest crowd I have ever been in. No Richard Lloyd who was suppose to play in Cincy but got real sick. My heart goes out to him. Wow. These guys made guitars look like kid’s toys. They played every song from Marquee Moon (oh Marquee Moon-how the darkness doubles) and Little Johnny Jewel. I would have thrown up if I remembered how to breathe.
X/Blondie: the old person show. It started at 7:30 pm and was done by 10 at the latest. But a totally blast. X sounded old but good and Billy Zoom made Los Angeles and Soul Kitchen raw and powerful. No Nausea however. Blondie couldn’t hit the high notes but put on an excellent performance with her guitarist sometimes shredding like he was in a metal band. It weirdly fit.
Lydia Lunch: This show blew my mind. Her cover of Suicide’s Frankie’s Teardrops may be the greatest song I have ever heard live. She still has a ton of energy and her band mates were all over the place in the cramped stage at Mayday. Lydia is sexy as fuck. I said an awkward hello to her when I got dropped off. She came out of a door right when I stepped out of the car. Can I say again how sexy she is?
Chrome: Who is Chrome? You probably don’t know and that is not me trying to brag that I know some obscure band. Chrome should not be obscure. But from what I read, they never played a lot of live shows. So when it was two days before I was to leave for Prague and I found out they were playing a show in Prague, my mind was blown. I went. There were about 30 people in a smoke-filled seedy bar. Chrome was every bit weird, alien, and exciting as their records. To quote Bob Dylan: “It frightens me, the awful truth of how sweet life can be.”
Coming soon: Peter Hook and the Light performing some New Order songs and then both Joy Division albums!!! My favorite band that I never ever even had a chance as a womb baby to see! Oh my!