Friday, May 13, 2005

Sleepytime Gorilla Museum

Zombie Nation
Chop Suey, Seattle, WA

Yes, I know all the cool kids are at the sold out LCD Soundsystem/M.I.A. show tonight (plus CHIP, who infuriatingly stumbled into tickets being sold on the street by hapless college students. More from Chip later.). I, however, am venturing into the world of incomprehensible music.

I do like Super Geek League, the first band. They wear costumes, start a pillow fight in the crowd, and bring up a mad scientist guy who sings this song about drinking, um, man juice. The crowd loves them, and I start noticing a bunch of audience members in costumes, some wearing camouflage makeup, and others in bowler hats and fedoras. I like it when people make an effort, regardless of the outcome.

Sleepytime Gorilla Museum at first sounded to me like Kraftwerk fronted by Rob Zombie, but on closer listens I realize that I just don't have the musical reference points to classify these guys at all. This crowd is attentive, predominantly male, heavily tattooed and pierced, sporting the requisite Fantômas and KMFDM t-shirts, and as GIDDY AS SCHOOL GIRLS about the prospect of seeing this band perform for the first time in, like, EVER. This is a different breed of Superfan - hyper-alert, intense, and knowledgeable to an almost weird degree.

A nice alterna-couple let me take their picture, beckon me over to make sure it turns out, and have me retake the picture where boyfriend licks girlfriend's face. That one doesn't turn out either, but I don't have the balls to ask them to move into the light. A couple of guys try to chat me up, as I am one of the only single women in the room. Sadly, they think that we can bond on the strength of our love for difficult music, but the conversation peters out when I profess an inclination for melody.

During the show I'm sending text messages to Chip to try and get details of the LCD Soundsystem show. He knows that he is responsible for contributing his part of the review. Sadly, his drunkenness on Absolut Raspberry and Sierra Mist (that's a DRINK? good lord) and T9 errors mar the effort. Later he'll tell me about the 80's guy with hair all pointed forward dancing like a maniac in late 70's short black workout shorts, the refreshingly crazed audience, and the show that "you would have looooooved." Rub it in, Chip.

I'm glad I saw Sleepytime. Their rhythm is complex, so when some brave people try to dance to it, they look like they are having convulsions (which makes me wonder if there are any studies about early-onset epilepsy in kids being misdiagnosed as devil posession. If you know, let me know.) It's a reminder that no matter how obscure, how complicated the time signature, how unclassifiable the band, there is a group of devoted fans out there just waiting for them to play again.


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