Wednesday, October 26, 2005

beta dirties three or four

Rock week didn't quite pan out, as I decline on shows by Take off My Pants and Morning Jacket and Devendra Beanfart, preferring to ensconce myself in baseball playoffs. Of course, I missed this on Monday night, as I ventured out to see the Dirty Three instead with some deliciously drunk Aussies, as well as one drunk Irish girl who is training for the New York Marathon. We arrive in time to see these four guys on stage, with one wooly guy looking like this NBA commentator (whose visage is emblazoned in my mind, if not his damned name), long hook nose, grizzly beard, balding long hair whipping wildly about as he furiously plucks a mandolin with his back to us. What the hell is this band?

Oh, so it is the Dirty Three or rather Four, as they have some tiny dude who may be playing an unplugged violin as far as my ears can tell. Warren Ellis decided that between crack and growing a beard, the latter was the best way to get a divorce. A few years back, after being unable to distinguish between any D3 songs, much less any albums, I had all but given them up. It took a good flask warmth on a night out under a new moon to fully appreciate what it is that the Dirty Three do so well: make music for crying jags. All heaving bosoms, teeth-gnashing, shuddering comedowns, such is the music of sawed fiddle, tears not in beers but in bourbon glasses. Mick Turner, all eight feet of him, blushes in the background, waiting for that moment in the eye of each song's sea storm where he can strum each string as slowly as possible without bringing it all to a stop; Jim White swinging his sticks so that they become as fans, catching and reflecting back the red light districts. The only way to move with them is as if drunk on a pirate ship, staggering, swaying, careening with a slight lack of control.

It's this sorta body movement that leads to me continually bump into this school marm lassy wearing lace gloves and a high-necked collar with granny glasses. Figure she must've just crawled out of the Jersey outback or an attic in the Hamptons, and I can't figure out if she's 22 or 52. Blame it on the red lights, but I realize much later that I have been jostling Neil N. Bobb herself. Time for some mouthwash.

Friday night, it's Oneida, who I have written about plenty o'times, as solid and repetitive as ever. Their first song is about as close to Terry Riley circa Persian Surgery Dervishes as I've ever heard a bar band be, and they take a deliciously long time to even get to the first words of "Each One, Teach One."

By the time DC and I get down to Tonic on Saturday night, we're soaked, socks all squishy from the outburst. If my toes are uncomfortable, how can I possibly stand for a band that to their credit, really does sound as annoying as a pterodactyl? But what am I expecting seeing squawky no-wave at Tonic anyhow? Downstairs, in the amontillado casks, I get enrapt in the film flickering against one wall. There's excellent softcore sex every two minutes or so, and it's really no surprise that it's an Emmanuelle movie, but with a long-haired black Emmanuelle as well as a short white-haired one that looks like Penelope Houston.

It sets the mind for the Magik Markers, whose wild mood swings from god awful to God in Awe Full are tough to take. Perpetually on tour, they veer all over the highway, though a year on, I notice they actually play more than just flail about. There's no head-butting guitars, or spazzing out. No blood drawn, very little hair-whipping. Pete plays trumpet into his skins, Leah every once in awhile tip-toes over to the piano and creates new chords with her nails, while Elisa stumps for God times, or at least better posture, making a holy chant about shoulders back, chin up, face light.


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