As much fun as we had last week at the 18 or so shows we attended, we are very much looking forward to a day or two of rest, a day when drumsticks mean juicy turkey legs, not snare hitters, and the inflated objects we'll be watching won't be rock star egos but giant Pokemans and Harry Potters in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. That said, here's the rundown: The letter S sponsored Tuesday, with Sparklehorse and Solex each doing a fine job at their respective shows. Sparklehorse took their sweet time making it to the Showbox stage and didn't exactly kick the crowd in the pants but were lovely nonetheless, while Solex rocked the mike like only a Dutch girl can. Thursday was a study in extremes, from the amped-up emo-punk-pop of Weezer at the cavernous KeyArena to the quiet heartbreak of Trembling Blue Stars at the cozy Crocodile. Now, we're the first to proudly proclaim our Pinkerton love, and we still hum "The Sweater Song" on rainy days, but something about the Key show was goddamn depressing. Maybe it was the invasion of whippersnappers, running around in their Old Navy low-rise sparkle jeans and backward baseball caps like spastic rabbits, that made us feel old and decrepit, or maybe it's the fact that while Rivers Cuomo's knack for a power-chord melody remains intact, his lyrical ability of late recalls more junior-high doof than the Harvard alumnus he is. A chorus that rhymes "sun" and "fun"? Rivers, you're breaking our heart. . . . Friday, meanwhile, was Kinks tribute madness at the Croc, with all the usual suspects strutting their best Davies stuff, and the Graceland's cup ranneth over with drunk kids and hot talent—most especially that of Mars Volta, which the At the Drive In guys have now retired in favor of their second side project, De Facto. We'd be plenty satisfied with more of that swirly, infectious punk psychedelia (sounds dumb, but that's
what it was). . . . On to Saturday night, when if you weren't entertained, you just weren't trying. The first night of Les Savy Fav's two-day stint featured crazed frontman Tim Harrington and his band showing a Graceland crowd that performance isn't necessarily pretty and rock shows are best when they're aimed at raucous, inventive fun. (That point was driven—proverbially, wildly, and haphazardly—home during the band's Sunday all-ages set as Harrington spoofed Flashdance and participated in more rafter-hanging gymnastics. "Who Rocks the Party," indeed.) Meanwhile, at the Sunset Tavern, neo-new wavers the Epoxies also cut loose. Watching frontwoman Roxy Epoxy is like reconceptualizing Debbie Harry as Kathleen Hanna and then watching as the whole late '70s CBGB/New York City thing goes down all over again. . . . We would be remiss if we didn't include Andrew Bonazelli's third-person account of his own New End Music adventures: "Andrew's weekend with n-school radio rock heavyweights kicked off with 107.7's free Incubus encore at I-Spy on Friday. The young crowd was buzzing from a notably nonalcoholic six-pack: front hunk Brandon Boyd's. He disrobed only after supersingle 'Drive,' nine songs into the set, then tastefully fulfilled the national post-Sept. 11 blonde joke void (Q: What do you do if a blonde throws a pin at you? A: Run; she's got a grenade in her mouth.) On Saturday, the Tacoma Dome housed a far more roughshod, mosh-happy Family Values Tour. STP's Scott Weiland, more serpentine and Bowie-esque by the day—in black bustier and panties, which he removed before wrapping himself in an American flag, ࠬa 'Jeremy'—led the grunge veterans through a hit-heavy headlining set but failed to match the pageantry of Staind's pothead icon Aaron Lewis guest-grunting through Linkin Park's glorious mook anthem 'One Step Closer.'" Ah, to be
young, rich, and poorly spelled. . . . We weren't so busy with the rock that we couldn't find time for some juicy bits, among them: Who says the politicians don't work for us? The California Senate is currently working up a bill that will prevent poor, abused artistes like Don Henley, the Dixie Chicks, and, yes, Courtney Love from staying tied to long-term contracts that squeeze the very will to live right out of them. The proposal will allow such artists to make like free agents, as no-longer-poor-and-beleaguered major league athletes currently do. No word yet on what these kind of interlabel machinations will cost the record-buying public (remember them?). . . . We forgot to mention this a few weeks ago, though we can't imagine how. Has anyone else seen the commercial for Bj�/B>'s Vespartine? You sure as heck won't catch it on Must See TV. For us, it preceded some artsy showing or other at the Egyptian, but honestly, all memories of whatever movie it was flew straight out of our heads when we saw our favorite Sugarcube all windswept and dancing herky-jerkily in white gauze and pearls—which did not even come close to covering her naked boobies!!!! Interspersed with some craziness of weaving a corset into the back piercings of a woman who may or may not have been Bj�herself, the singer cooed and shrieked through her single "Pagan Poetry," while we sat there mesmerized by her pixie nipples. Further words evade us, but see for yourself at www.bjork.com. . . . Oh, Billy: Corgan's at it again. Not content to rest on his best-of SP laurels (coming this Christmas, as previously reported), the great Pumpkinhead has started another one of those newfangled supergroups that seem to be all the rage now. Zwan, as the project is perplexingly called, will include ex-Smashing drummer Jimmy Chamberlain, guitarist Matt Sweeney (formerly of Chavez) and some guy
named Skullfisher. If you can't stand the wait, fly down to L.A. and catch one of their dates this month, but we'll save you some time by letting you know that everyone says they sound pretty much like the Pumpkins. . . . Lastly, our condolences to the family and friends of Can guitarist and violinist Michael Karoli, largely considered responsible for sending the infamous art band on their rock journey, who died suddenly Saturday morning of unspecified causes. He was 53.
Contributors this week: Andrew Bonazelli and Laura Learmonth
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