Saturday, March 19, 2005

New York Dolls

One Person's Trash...
Stubbs, Austin, TX

I'll get to a general write-up of South By Southwest in a couple of days, as reviewing the audiences for one million bands is, well, daunting. In the meantime, let's visit the first show at this festival worthy of its own review: the New York Dolls. Oh, and I'll introduce you to Chip.

This is the type of audience I love love love. Start with a big helping of old fart fans, since this is basically an old fart rocker show at a young fart festival. Add members of every SXSW punk and glam band worth their snot. Mix in groups of "I should know who these guys are" music students. Sprinkle all of that with local Austinites who gaze upon the punks in the crowd with a "what in THE HELL is that??" look on their faces, and you've got yourself a show.

There is rampant air drumming and air guitar which normally makes me cringe, but the air musicians are so earnest and their timing so impeccable that they are forgiven. One guy with a pink mohawk has like a bonus sideways mohawk coming out of the side of his head that at certain angles looks like a feather from those crazy squawking birds here. Another mohawk guy has his so perfectly trimmed and gelled that I very much want to set it on fire just to see what would happen.

The Fanalyst has an occasional sidekick named Chip, who heretofore has only received credit as "my friend." Some of his comments are apt and witty, so I am promoting him. And today I offer you the first of Chip's Rock 'n' Roll Tips: if you plan to be in a band for a long time, keep your hair short. That way you won't look like you age 25 years the moment you cut it all off. There. Now leave me alone, Chip.

A few people are stationed on the sides of the stage by luck, nepotism, or other. The best pair is a guy who looks like a fat, drunk Henry Rollins and his Kelly Osborne-esque pink-headed girlfriend. This guy is a Superfan, and beer keeps sloshing out of his Rolling Rock bottle as he gestures wildly toward the band. I am amazed that he stays put throughout the show and does not stumble out and grab David's microphone.

The band looks delighted to be back on stage performing again. I'm speaking in particular of the two surviving original members of the New York Dolls, since the new ones are rented and happy to be performing at all, let alone with rock legends. Chip thinks David is wearing a wig, and I wonder if Sylvian Sylvian has grandkids. This audience is so supportive, so attentive and encouraging that I imagine David and Sylvian feel they have NO CHOICE but to tour again to promote this new album. That's the impact, and the danger, of the audience love. People, use your power wisely.


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