Ponytail (with Imperial China)
April 23, 2009
I'd heard a lot of bad things about Ponytail, but one thing I hadn't heard was Ponytail themselves until we caught them at DC9 last week. They win the gong for Longest and Most Irritating Soundcheck, for sure. Their lead singer looks like Juliette Lewis from The Other Sister. Her singing is a mix of yelps and whoops with nary a good ole' English word to be found. We have all the components of a terrible show swirling about, a gathering storm of crap, yes?
No, not really. Surprisingly enough, they were pretty good. High energy the entire set, singing about God fucking knows, in some sort of Ewok language, jumping around, and loud. Really, what's not to like here? There are some bands that are so just off-the-wall odd, that you find yourself just enjoying the spectacle, if not the music itself. I couldn't hum a single Ponytail song to you, but people were going nutty. The floor was shaking and there was some crowd-surfing in effect. It was a good time. Much like that time when I appeared in Nursing Home Gangbang IV: Urine-Soaked Grannies, I'm not sure I'd do it again but it was an interesting experience at the time and I'm a better man for having gone through it. In conclusion, I recommend seeing Ponytail if you haven't already seen them. Also, rent a copy of Nursing Home Gangbang IV, it's pretty good and has a surprise M. Night Shamalama-style ending. If you're a completist, you might as well get volumes I -- XXXIII. It's your call, man.
DC's own Imperial China opened up and it looks like they're about ready to bust out of this DC scene of ours. DC9's pretty small so saying "the place was packed" isn't saying much at all, but nevertheless, it was an impressive turnout for an opening band on a Thursday night, which we all know is Must See TV night, when America's Stars Come Out To Shine. Additionally, the crowd booed the sound guy when he refused to let IC play another song. Not too shabby. In my opinion, Imperial China are a good band, but goddammit, they still keep doing those Primus/Tool tempo changes and slap-bass shit, and that just rubs me the wrong way. I do not want to sail the sea of cheese. I do not care if Jerry is a race car driver. Jerry can suck one. It's frustrating because they'll hit a nice groove, almost something druggy and danceable, and I'll be enjoying it, and then BAM, they switch directions. Maybe they need to drop acid before they play and soften up a bit. My main beef with this style of music is that it seems overly masculine and appeals to a certain type of dude--I'm not thinking Limp Bizkit or anything lame like that, moreso the sort of Dischord/straight edge scene that was basically a 98% sausage fest. On the plus side, to me it sounds like they hit those nice Kinski/Chemical Brother-type grooves more often these days, and they sound pretty tight. I'm also liking the increased role of Brian Porter's vocals as well. I will say that they had one song where they hit it just right, called "Go Where Airplanes Go," which according to the band isn't out yet but will be on their upcoming album (to be released late summer/early fall). Of all the local bands we've seen, this is probably the only song I've heard where I was thinking to myself, man, what is this? I must have it. It's basically a very stripped down track, with Porter singing through the first half while playing the keyboard, then some spare percussion coming in on the second half. Top shelf stuff. So unfortunately I have no audio to post, but it did remind me of one of my favorite tracks from the Playing With Fire album by Spacemen 3--"Any Way That You Want Me (demo)", and I can and will post that instead. Enjoy the goodness:
"Any Way That You Want Me (demo)"
Playing With Fire
So basically, what I want to say to Imperial China, is stop sounding like Dischord, which I never really liked anyway (heresy!), and start imitating good bands like Spacemen 3 more often, like you did with "Go Where Airplanes Go." Also note that I am available to assume a Col. Tom Parker-type role as your manager and svengali, should you desire.
PS--Some notes/trivia about "Any Way That You Want Me." First of all, I didn't know it's a cover. It is. The track was originally released by the Troggs in 1966. And apparently Jason Pierce's desire to record the song was the straw that broke Spacemen 3's back (or shot them out of the airlock and asphyxiated them, to use a better space travel-related metaphor), according to Wikipedia--"The final conflict that contributed to the split [of Spacemen 3] was Pierce’s decision to release a cover of the Troggs’ “Any Way That You Want Me” as the first Spiritualized single, which Kember had been wanting to cover for years." I found the Spiritualized version of the song and I don't like it as much as the demo done earlier by Spacemen 3. You be the judge--here's the video from Spiritualized, and also the Troggs version thrown in, for good measure.
"Any Way That You Want Me," Spiritualized
"Any Way That You Want Me," The Troggs (warning--fan-created video)
Friday, May 01, 2009
Ponytail (with Imperial China)