Sunday, October 9, 2011

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks

Last night I went to a concert in Indianapolis.  If you don't know Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, you should.  They're one of those bands I feel are hard to really dislike.  Maybe they aren't everyone's favorite, but what's to dislike? Here's a sweet little song.  And Malkmus is definitely a good guitarist.  Maybe not a Clapton or Prince, but he's no slouch.
Anyway, I don't want to spend too much time drooling over Mr. Malkmus and his band. What I'm really trying to talk about here is being at the concert.

The concert was at the Earth House in Indianapolis.  It's a cool little place downtown in an old church.  There are a couple doors on the outside that seem like they could be entrance doors, but are not.  Luckily, when I arrived, the group of hipsters standing around outside served as a great marker for the proper entrance door.  I don't know why I have this dislike of hipsters, but I do.  Maybe it's because I'm from Columbus and I've never really lived anywhere where hipsters are common.  Maybe I'm just an asshole.  Maybe I'm jealous because they're more committed to the hipster style than I am, and even when you're almost 30, being able to fit in is kind of nice.  And I have to be honest, I might as well be a hipster.  I mean, I listen to indie music that hardly anyone else likes and I resist even indie/hipster bands that I think are too popular.  Wilco?  Never even listened to them.  But, I also don't spend all my time digging up the most obscure, weird bands I can.  People who do that are dicks. People who do that were probably present at this concert.  Of course, a hipster can be spotted his/her clothes as well, and even there I'm not totally innocent.  I certainly don't think I look like a hipster most of the time, but let's have some more confession time.  I went to the concert right after work.  I could have just worn my work clothes, perhaps dressed down a little so I wouldn't be in slacks and a dress shirt, but other than that no real planning is needed.  And yet, I picked my t-shirt specifically in hopes that it would be noticed.  And, though it has nothing to do with any bands, it's still probably the most indie, hipster t-shirt I own.  I was just waiting for someone to say, "hey, cool shirt" and then I could be like, "oh thanks, it was actually designed and screen printed by hand by a guy who does this really cool webcomic."  Seriously I had the conversation in my head several times through the night.

By the way, Here is that comic.  He's got some guest comics going right now, so you'll have to go back a couple posts to see his real work.  And, here is he great shirt.

So, it seems that really I am a hipster and a self-absorbed asshat to boot.  Yet, despite this knowledge, I still get uncomfortable in the presence of hipsters and I dislike them.  Perhaps because I also know I'm just a poser and they're the real deal.

That means I just took several days between that last sentence and this one.  So, when I said the concert was yesterday, that was the truth when I started writing this entry on Thursday.  Now, it's Sunday and hopefully I'll get this done.

So, as I was saying.  I'm a hipster poser.  On with the concert.  After I got (mostly) over my shock at walking into ground zero for Indiana hipsterdom, the concert soon started.  the opening band was Holy Sons.  From the little sample there at the show, I think they're worthy of being checked out.  Which you can do right here.  They're definitely one of the best opening bands I've seen.  The only exceptions being when I first saw Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks open for Radiohead, and when Sonic Youth played before Pavement last year.  They may not have really been the opening act, but more co-headliners.    The real opening band at the concert was No Age, who just don't really do it for me. 

After Holy Sons there was of course some filler music playing.  This music, played before the show and between sets is my segue into a 3 different topics.  First, how much dancing is proper at this time?  Before the show started there were some really good songs on that I liked and I was kind of getting into the groove.  But, I wasn't sure if I should be enjoying the recorded music so much when I was at a live show.  I mean, I can listen to my iPod anywhere.
Second: Who picks this music?  Most of it was good, as I said, but between sets Depeche Mode came on.  I guess I shouldn't have qualified that last sentence with "Most of it was good," because that makes it sound like Depeche Mode is not good.  I kind of like Depeche Mode and it took me back to my freshman year of college when my roommate was a big Depeche Mode fan.  The problem is, Depeche Mode just make very different music from Stephen Malkmus.  It definitely stuck out.  And then I really had to wonder: "how much am I allowed to get into this right now?"
Finally, it was during this between set music that I saw this girl.  She was wearing a yellow top and these black pleated shorts with pockets and she had on a little backpack and some kind of flat soled black shoes.  And I forget about her hair, but I remember her lips.  Her top lip arched up really high.  I don't know if I can explain it well.  The middle part of her lip, that little curve under the nose, seemed higher than normal, with the sides falling more sharply to the corners of her mouth.  It gave her this really tender kind of look, sort of fragile or something.  She was cute.  I kept looking back at her and sort of hoped to get her attention.  I'm not sure if I ever really did.  I mean, I think she kind of saw me looking her direction once or twice, but we never really had eye contact.  Here's a good time to mention that there was no alcohol at the venue.  And, in the words of Kimya Dawson, of Moldy Peaches fame, "without 40 ounces of social skills I'm just an ass on the crack of humanity."  So, even later, when the girl moved from her spot near the middle of the crowd to a spot very near me closer to the front, I could never quite get up the courage to say anything.  Not even, "How do you like the show?" Or, "have you ever seen them before?" Which would have opened the door for me to be super impressive and say, "Me?  Yeah, actually I saw these guys open for Radiohead back in 2003, and I saw Pavement during their reunion tour last year at the Hollywood Bowl."  Instead, I just looked at her a couple times, but averted my eyes every time I thought she might notice my looks and just hoped she'd notice my cool shirt and say something to me.  It did not happen. 

In fact, the only person I talked with at all was some drunk lady who asked me to dance.  I said no a few times, but she insisted and really, I love dancing.  Sometimes "no" does mean, "yes."

As far as Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, they were pretty good. I think I could have used a beer to dull some of my self-consciousness, but otherwise a fun time was had by me.

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