Sunday, July 31, 2005

beta be fucking in the streets

the dMkCt53 come out in their cleanest, brightest whites. how white? panther white. i'm not sure what's more bizarre: the fact that i have to see these three now clean-cut elders harken far back into their durty-ass hippie past to rekindle an embittered ember thirty years dormant and kick out the non-hit jams for us, or that there is the sound of phantom horns when the trumpet and sax aren't being played, or the fact that "shaking street" and "teenage lust" actually have a low-end to them. having spent a good many years gleaning their manifestos off the wax, to learn all the tremors and trebly jitters of Back in the USA, all high-end, no low, like some sorta decapitated head breezing freely through the melee of the times, blood sprayed in the summer of love, these songs are almost unrecognizable when Michael Davis starts to thump out the basslines. time is in flux though, which could explain the wear and tear of the times. Gilbey Clarke, who was originally in the GN'R 8 (or 14), announced mid-afternoon that "Tonight" goes back a long time. at least to last night. and the second karaoke-singer, Lisa Kekaula, clarifies further, making sure we're all "having a good time tonight, or this afternoon, whatever, as long as you're here to have a good time."
timing is a bit off, chaindrives slipping ever so slightly as the band exhumes these lost rhythms, be it tire burning slow-chug ("Motor City is Burning") or fuck-rock funeral dirge ("Sister Anne"). Jon Pareles of course sees the blues and soul roots of the band. downshifting from chaos back into chord changes, the band gets lost in the noise, their timing belts just a bit off.
so does lost time persist, much like the lost spirits present. yes, there is Sonny Blount, and Fred 'Sonic' Smith and Rob Tyner get invoked, as Kramer talks all Faulkner-esque about the past not even being passed, raging against the war machine thirty years ago, how it loops itself, gets misty-eyed in the deja vu, which is French for over and over. no wonder portions of the group drooped deeper into the dope portion of the white panther manifesto. who would pick waking nightmare over the dream nod?
whether or not they are on their third go-round of the reunion circuit, it's still surreal to have Handsome Dick Animal come out and relive his high school days with the band. or to relive my high school days reading about how important the MC5 were, or rather are. it seems like a dream to have the Arkestra come out to crank up the "Spaceship" with the dMkCt53. Handsome Dick's sparkly intergalactic blue blouse gets lost among the other costumes crowding the stage and the "Spaaaaaaaaaaaceship" that Mark Arm keeps mewling for has all sorts of foam and gap filler problems, but such disintegration soundtracks my exit. the rockets reducing as i make my way back to earth. the fiery horn cries, the feedback, all dissolves in the evening air as i walk past a hypnotic, trance-inducing drum circle twelve-strong outside, which in turn fades into a jazz trio politely playing at an intersection of the sidewalk, which is replaced on the other side of Central Park West by some hesitantly strummed folk ditties near Strawberry Fields. it sounds like some real mix culture.

beta invents the remix, engages in riddim warfare

i finally motivated myself to return to Central Park for the first time since i shivered under the slalom arches of the construction cone-colored Gates. the most money i ever paid for a concert was the Stooges, or as the Ticketmaster ticket read: "Iggy Pop at Tommy Hilfiger's" and so i figgered that i'd even things out by seeing the MC5/DKT3 summerstage show for free, my longing for Michigan's rock's sordid past, my moth-like desire to draw nearer the flame of such times, to see prunish legends time-machine me back, would be satiated. perhaps to partake in dope, guns, and fucking in the streets courtesy of the now-gray panthers. or, as time continues to devour itself in the 21st century, serpent tail inserted, past pushing into the present, much as the codices and ancient cultures predict, and blah blah blah to have such pungent nostalgia itself get remixed.
and who better to map out such a hapless conceit than dj spooky? although i'd like to blame my tardiness on saturday afternoon baseball and the shitty MTA service, a good deal of it my tail-dragging was in the hope that i could somehow avoid seeing that dude make a single utterance. it wasn't enough that i fell for the early reports of him being dubbed "the John Coltrane of Turntables" back in the mid-90s, spending too much money to own "Songs of a Dead Dreamer" on vinyl (full disclosure: i just re-listened to an old radio show i had on KSYM back in '96 where i mixed together Lee Ranaldo, Sun Ra, and dj spooky. that shit was ill-bent.). i also saw him twice on his heinous riddim warfare tour, where he not only kept flashing his copy of this and telling the audience every five minutes that they were all djs but he then proceeded to introduce all of his band as "djs": his drummer was "the drummer dj"; his guitarist was "the guitarist dj." that subliminal huckster then pretended that he could 1) play the electrik bass stik and 2) rap. and not only rap, but do it like Kool Keith did on his album. unforgiveable. especially since the second time around, he pulled the same schtick and said the same spiel, rote for rote.
sure enough, not even one minute after Marshall Allen and the Arkestra have left the stage in a line-dance, spooky is on the mic, telling me to look around at "the diversity and appreciate that. Put your hands out for that shit." spooky then implores the sound guy to turn up the turntables, his boosting hand apparently signalling for just high-end, as his ennervating backspins are now at an ear-puncturing level. "Kick out the Jams" goes into some skanking, a sped-up version of "In Da Club" that had Robert Davis Jr. spinning rapidly in his grave and a looong version of "Intergalactic." get it? okaaaay, it's all the same music to you, haplessly spun together to prove some point that it's all good or something. why is he unable to just 'kick out the jams'? and then wouldn't you know it, he starts djing Hendrix's "Star-Spangled Banner" just like the time Yancey saw him some five or more years ago! as i was not stoned, it really felt like it lasted thirty minutes.
i just kept praying that he wouldn't introduce Wayne Kramer as "the guitarist dj". wouldn't you know it though, just when i thought he would abdicate quietly, he told everyone that "it's all just a mixtape. it's about fucking remix culture." as if he fucking invented the mixtape. okay, okay, maybe he did invent remix culture.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

beta enjoys friday night lights

last night spurs me on. after wiling away the day, sitting in the park, hunched over a notebook in the late afternoon sun, so late in even getting 'started' and i'm recasting events from ten years ago, replaying a fake high school in my mind, my fake high school, my real one, populated by faces i knew once, and i'm just trying to scratch them out on the page, start sketching whatever i see through my blurry vision. it's such work to focus. i can see gym class, dressing out, old friends still young and thin in the limbs, not quite fleshed out. i remember the grooves you get in your exposed thighs as you sit on the bleachers, and that sensation of running your fingers over the new grooved skin. how easily you get impressed. and i only get a little bit down but it feels right. but now it's time to meet up with Yancey and venture to Pete's Candy Store.
it's writing up at Moistworks about intangibles like blood brothers, amorphous voices, and limp shrimp that gets me excited about trying a blog again. but it could also stem from Yancey's excitement about slugging percentages and non-twenty game conspiracy theories. "it's the most fun i've had writing in my life," he tells me. i talk about going to see the MC5/DKT3 show at summerstage with Sun Ra's Arkestra and the dreaded dj spooky. we talk about seeing dj spooky, and Yancey recalls him djing hendrix's "star spangled banner" that lasted like fifteen minutes. "Well, i was stoned," he says, so we re-think that timetable and figure he only dj'd it for three seconds in reality.
either way, we're at pete's to meet up with the other folks at moistworks, though the actual banner event of the night is some poetry reading by fellow moist worker Brian Howe. as we walk in and grab our Stellas, we try to parse the three people reading aloud inside. neither one of us is sure which one is Brian. Yancey puts his money on a guy in collared shirt and linen pants reading a poem about a bear parallel parking. i secretly pray that Brian is the guy pulling a Will Oldham: half unbuttoned, wide-eyed and bare-chested, bearded, barefoot and perched like a flamingo on top of his sandals. neither one of us can take the lines though, and we slink back out to make plans for books, basketball, and posts. i totally see a column by tim duncan called "groundhog's day" that'd be the most bland and polite postings ever. Yancey is obsessed with AC Green having an advice column.
finally we meet Alex and Joanna . Joanna yells at me for writing about Randy Newman, eats my chips. Alex has apparently cut all his hair off and has a really firm handshake. Uncle-esque, i'd reckon. once outside, Joanna brings over Brian Howe, and it turns out Yancey and i were both wrong. Brian is a well-groomed young man with a blonde moustache. he somehow thinks i'm Mike McGonigal which is flattering, though i hope to have my health stay lucky (get well soon, Mike).
before it can turn into a blog clusterfuck, i go into the city to catch Oneida, who i have written about more times than seen. along the way, i run into my old MN City Pages editor, Melissa outside the Magician. within minutes, i'm accompanying two more girls from Minnesota to see Oneida. one girl has a handshake as firm as Alex's, and i'm a bit disconcerted as to how i can remember two strong handshakes in the course of a night of foamy beer.
i completely miss Those Peabodys, who i fondly recall from my nights in Austin. i do wonder if they're still pissed about this though. i would be, as it was some poor writing on my part, which in some cosmic way emulates their own poor writing. either way, Oneida blister, but play for too short. they do take my favorite jam, "$50 Tea" and expand all the seams. even the pretty Wedding tracks sound fierce when blaring out of Hanoi Jane's furry amp, with Fat Bobby's sweet Acetone tone and Kid's subliminal huffing on the head mic acting as counter-rhythm to the interlocking spiral of their glorious, righteous factory clamor. returning to the Magician with a bit more fog.


so let's try this again...
i recall setting up this account right before my old computer decided to enter into its own sort of groundhog's day, looping in and out of itself, asking Yes/ No questions that begat Yes/ No questions, until the unanswered was itself the final one.
by the time i got another computer to do my bidding, i plumb forgot about doing this, consumed instead with a backlog of article writing work, not to mention mp3 posts at Stylus Magazine and Moistworks. it's not until the Voice started asking for blog writers that i realized the mistake in not tending to my own gardens. blogs begat blogs that are begetting a new bubble of enclosed reality. how in flux it perpetuates jobs, be it at MTV or the Voice. now they want to pay for this? people want to read this? this?