woo! concert nirvana (stealing that phrase liberally from the nyc catherine), twice in one weekend. i'm a lucky girl.
friday night, at the black cat: the dismemberment plan. reunited! for two nights only! it was enough to make me wish they'd just do us all a favor and get back together and play my and travis' wedding reception, but then of course the shows wouldn't have that much crackling, passionate energy - from the band, obviously thrilled to be up on stage again to the fans buzzing to see them.
so, in short, it was absolutely effing amazing. they sounded pretty tight, for having been broken up for three or four years now, and the best part about a reunion show like this is that the band knows they can just play their best songs, which they did, heavy off emergency & i. i heard everything i wanted to hear. probably the highlights for me were "what do you want me to say," "the city" and "you are invited."
also a highlight: the porn cake. travis morrison went on about some fan having baked a porn cake for them (which was really just a big sheet cake with a burlesque-y looking girl in icing on it) and he brought it out and passed it around the crowd. and yup, i totally reached my hand in and scooped out a piece of cake that had been touched by dozens of people and i ate that up. cause it was tasty.
oh! and final highlight: i went up on stage for "ice of boston"! i never do stuff like that! i'm very much not a get-up-on-stage-and-dance sorta person. but tyler was able to convince me and amanda that we should do it (for the non dplan fans out there, every time they play that song, folks go up and pack the stage and dance) and i thought, when again am i going to get the chance to go up on stage and dance with the dismemberment plan? literally, never again.
peter's got more here, and drew's got some great photos (primarily of the "ice of boston" stage) here. i have officially decided it's the best show i've seen at the black cat. can anybody else name one? maybe i'm forgetting. the only show i'm remembering such a buzz off, in fact, in all my time in d.c., of was radiohead in '97 at the 9:30 club (cripes, 10 years ago, my first concert at the 9:30, in fact. so old!), but i'm blanking beyond that. ted leo? anyway.
so! then saturday night, the g. and i headed out to bumfuck georgetown campus to catch the wrens, who for some reason were playing a georgetown radio show (strange, i guess, considering they sell out the black cat regularly). anyway! first, we must start off with the terrifying portion of the evening. we got there a bit early and wanted to have a beer. but literally the only nearby bar is the dreaded tombs, very much a georgetown institutiony type of bar...which means boys in polo shirts, collars popped, girls in dresses and pearls, and all of them are shit-faced drunk and falling down at 8:30. no joke. the tombs is down some stairs in the basement of a building, and heading down those stairs was very much like entering our own very personal type of hell. we crammed into two seats at the bar and the following proceeded to happen:
we watched a group of 8-10 guys who were our age or older and who were literally already falling over from being so drunk (at 8:30!? who gets falldown drunk by 8:30?) engage in activities like screaming at the poor female bartender, falling into the brick walls, and throwing stacks of napkins at each other. they eventually got kicked out. hooray. congrats on being like 30 and getting kicked out of a college bar at 8:30 on a saturday night. you're officially huge douchebags.
i got hit on by a kid who was also falling down drunk and couldn't have been more than 19. that's very sweet. and repulsive.
we paid $12 for two tiny mugs of yuengling.
never go to the tombs.
however! the concert, i felt more than made up for it. it was held in a tiny black box theater that at its max probably couldn't hold more than 200 folks. and in fact, there were only about 80-100 people there to catch the show. i was a bit concerned that the wrens wouldn't bring it as they normally do for such a small show, but i shouldn't have worried, because the wrens, they always bring it. which is what i love so much about them. whether they're playing to 600 people or 60, they play with as much passion, enthusiasm and grit as every time i've seen them.
in fact, i thought the atmosphere of the show was pretty conducive to the whole experience. you've got a bunch of lovely, gorgeous indie college kids who are so joyfully absorbed by the band and the concert experience and not at all self-conscious and singing and dancing their hearts out. and anyone who wasn't a college kid who was there was a fairly hardcore fan, because nobody's going to trek out to georgetown to see a band they don't care loads about. (also, the smaller crowd meant that the concert was free from the chatter that plagued the first show of theirs i saw at the black cat.)
the wrens were sloppy, as they almost always are, but the good kind of sloppy, the kind of sloppy that involves sweat and instruments falling over and standing on speakers and flailing around and inviting the whole friggin audience up on stage to play percussion on "boys you won't" (video example of them doing that here).
the highlight of that show for me was an incredible slow-burn version of "happy." seriously. i almost fell over. (here's a kinda shoddy but better than nothing live mp3 of the song.) (actually the recorded version is better in this case, so go check it out.)
dude. the wrens have a video for "everyone choose sides" that takes place on a submarine. peter, that's for you. and here's a live video for "faster gun." the videos do little to convey it, but they play with such fantastic intensity and joy. i eat it up every time.
the thing about the dismemberment plan and the wrens that made friday and saturday nights so fantastic for me is that they're just so thrilled and happy to be up on stage, and they just consistently bring it. so few bands i see these days seem to be excited to be playing live shows; it's more of a duty than anything else. of course, the dismemberment plan has been on a three-year break, but even back when they were together, they were just ON, every time, and loving it, and so are the wrens. what inspires a band to play like that every time and continue to revel in it, even after years of touring? i'm not sure. but i wish more groups had that ability.
so, yeah. as a final bit to this post, i leave you with this bizarre gem of a youtube clip - a fan's homemade video to the plan's "gyroscope." and when i say gem, i mean, what the hell. this is the kind of stuff a band like the dismemberment plan inspires people to do. and i think it's a good thing. err. maybe.