Long live rock, I need it every night

Friday, February 16, 2007

We're With You, Leather

Mooney Suzuki, 2/14/07

9:30 Club

Despite the ice and cold, all four members of Rock Club converged at the 9:30 for a Valentine’s Day rock show featuring the Mooney Suzuki. Dan rappelled into the venue from a hovering helicopter. Jason was carried into the club by a retinue of 28 Filipino cabana boys. Erin was launched onto the mighty Potomac on a jet ski from the back of the cruise ship Dandy, and jumped from sea onto land, obeying all traffic laws en route to 10th and V NW. I drove my Civic hatchback and was able to find a parking spot without incident.

Due to the weather, attendance was sparse. All the single women in DC were at home, eating, getting fatter, and watching a My So-Called Life marathon. All the single dudes in the area were reading Maxim and touching themselves. Most couples, both married and unmarried, were facing each other across tables in nice restaurants, wondering where the magic went. Everyone else was at the Mooney Suzuki show.

Was it worth it? Well, yeah, I suppose. The band put on a hard-rockin’ show, but the low attendance probably put a damper on their enthusiasm. I saw this band open for The Hives in New York in 2002 (or maybe 2001?) and they were manic, climbing on the amps, sprinting around the stage, jumping, screaming, etc. Lead singer Sammy James, Jr. kept up some sort of negro preacher patter in-between songs, all show long. He’s an Adam Goldberg look-alike, for the record.

We saw glimpses of this showmanship on the 14th, but it just wasn’t the same. Since their heady days of 2002 (or maybe 2001), the Mooney Suzuki have hit some rough times. The era of The Hives, The Strokes, and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs had raised hopes that some sort of scene was developing in New York, a sort of rock revivalist thing. And there was a scene, kind of, but it left the Mooney Suzuki behind, and they’ve since been dropped by their record label. The band seems to have accepted their new reality with good grace, but still. James, Jr. climbed on the bass drum a couple of times, and at one point climbed up on top of the amp stacks, but then climbed back down, as if the whole maneuver made his knee sore.

That said, the music is still pretty good. This is high-energy garage rock a la MC5 or Iggy and the Stooges, and that means there’s always gonna be some good rock, some loud noise, and some fuzzed-up guitar. And there was. Cuts from the new album were soft-as-shite—too many ballads—but the older stuff held up well.

All in all, the band did well, given the circumstances, which is why I’ll give them a 6.1. I’d definitely see them again, but they may want to think about switching to a smaller venue, because, ice storm or no ice storm, their moment has passed and there’s no way they can fill the 9:30.

On an unrelated note, I once again thought of a funny joke during the show, and was unable to share it with everyone because of the noise. I was thinking, if I were a cable access network producer, I would have a show featuring midgets and call it Small Talk. Just let the midgets talk, like the McLaughlin Group. They could discuss where they buy clothes, for example. I assume there’s midget clothing stores, just as there are big & tall boutiques. I suppose a midget can just buy kids’ sizes, but what self-respecting midget wants to walk around wearing Grrrranimals?

This also reminds me of a story my friend Ted told me. He said he had a friend who had a job selling windows, or siding, or somesuch, in Virginia, near Fredericksburg. This job involved going door-to-door, town-to-town. Anyway, long story short, this guy and his partner are driving and see a sign for this town, not marked on the map. They drive in, and being the good window/siding/whatever salesmen that they are, they notice that everything about this town looks off—the houses are smaller than average, the mailboxes are closer to the ground, the streetcurbs are inches high. Suddenly, a rock hits the windshield. They look around, and boom, more rocks—it’s like Fallujah. There’s a mob of midgets chucking rocks at them, yelling at them to get the fuck out.

It seems they had inadvertently stumbled onto a midget-only town, a sanctuary or refuge for the short where normal, adult-sized people weren’t allowed. As Israel is to the Jews, this town is to the midgets. And all the midgets want is to be left alone.

Fascinating, yes? This could also be discussed on Small Talk, but I’d wager that any midget who opened his mouth about this place wouldn’t last more than a minute on the street.


Jumbo Slice said...

I've heard that story about the midget town in Nova. I think it's an urban myth. Of course, if anyone does find proof of its existence, we must go there and pass out "The Best of the Thorkelsons 2006". The little people need to rock too.

Jimbromski said...

Stutts sent me this link:


First citation is a place near Vienna VA, so there's a kernel of truth. A small, midget-sized kernel.