so after surviving the vast live-show wasteland that is southern indiana we’ve happily scored 2 shows in as many days.
sunday night brought us pit er pat, beans, and tortoise. It ruled. dancing to an actual live band was nice. pete has an adequate review, and makes mention of seeing my advisor, professor, ACM chapter sponsor and her fiance there, which was very very cool.
last night we went to the bluebird, a very cool bar, to see antibalas. we saw them late last summer when pete opened up for them at ottobar and they played a killer show, so i was really excited to see them again.
iswhat?! from Cincinnati opened up. they’re a trio consisting of a saxophonist, a stand-up bass player and a very nice dude who mcs and beatboxes. they’re pretty incredible to watch, especially as the beatboxing gets really intense – the guy makes hand gestures as if he were playing the instruments that he’s imitating. they play a remarkably tight set and they have a kind of 60s beat generation quasi-performance-art-without-the-pretention feel to it. very nice. except for the crowd, which i felt was unappreciative and annoying for the most part. especially these 2 chicks sitting about 20 feet from the stage who kept talking/screaming so loudly that i could hear them over the band repeatedly during the course of their set. it’s one thing talk during a set, actually perfectly acceptable to do so at the back of the bar, but pretty disrespectful in my opinion right in front of the stage.
a lot of people showed up as the time came for antibalas to go on stage, which was cool. it’s always so funny to see them file onto stage because there’s just so damn many of them (last night 11), so the stage is just rammed with NYC hipsters, instruments, and various pieces of gear. mike nimzo apparently now plays sax for antibalas! there was a guy there who looked just like him – aviator sunglasses and all!!! and for the first 20 minutes of the set really freaked me out! (and make me miss the dude! ;_; come visit! ) poor pete was feeling a bit under the weather, but i was starting to enjoy myself. the set was tight as usual, fun and political. they brought with them a cute chick who ran around with get out the vote-esque stickers, and had literature on the breakdown of the national budget, and voter registration forms.
just before they started in on one of my favorite songs, i saw the the trumpet player, down in the crowd chatting with the annoying chick who was screaming while iswhat?! was playing. i thought it was odd, but kind of forgot about it as they got into the song. very soon thereafter i looked up on stage and saw annoying chick and 3 other attractive young women being led on stage by the trumpet player. this made me stop in my tracks. so was the band, 11 men, watching the women in the crowd to decide who they wanted to dance on stage? does the revolution require solid gold dancers? in the once banned-by-the-fcc words of sarah jones, “you want to subjugate your queen”? i couldn’t believe it.
shortly thereafter we left. i like antibalas’ music. there’s not enough afrobeat. however i think a band who advocates revolutionary thinking and progressive ideas, and has no women actually playing in the band, then selects women to invite on stage to dance, is an issue. it would be one thing to open the stage up for people in the crowd to come dance as they chose, but do you need to display your fans as what, potential prizes for progressive thought? what does that say about women’s place in said revolution? are we just backup? are we just supposed to be up there “supporting our men”?
on the upside, as a result of leaving the dance floor to have a chat and get a restorative beverage, we caught iswhat?! on their way out and managed to grab a cd. i don’t know how much it was supposed to cost but i handed him a $20 and he tried to give us another cd, because he didn’t have change. we had a funny exchange with him after that telling him not to worry about it – and did he mind if we just burned a copy of the cd for friends instead? he was like, but i can just give you another copy here and we were like – but you can sell that one to someone else! he was like oh yeah! and he laughed, his lady friend thanked us and they went on their way. then we had pizza at rockets, which i’m convinced has the best pie in town.
altogether a weird, but not overall bad experience. definately disappointing though.