Usually around Halloween, I start a top 10 list in my head of the best musical moments of the past year, both live and recorded. Maybe it’s my fucked-up state of late I’m not feeling too thrilled about anything but the idea of making such a list didn’t cross my mind until a week ago. I had no obsessions, no CD that wouldn’t leave the deck. But I could remember a few dismal concertgoing experiences:
Jan. 26: The Heartless Bastards play 12 Galaxies on a Friday at the end of a crappy workweek, wherein I was nearly moved to violence against one of my coworkers. Not proud of it, but woot! there it is. You can only push the Dunc so far before his Cro-Mag DNA reveals itself. So this show, which I had been looking forward to for so long, may simply have been an example of "kicking the dog," or what psychologists get overpaid to call "transference." In the middle of the show some yahoo got within inches of my date’s face, talkin’ about "Hey, what’s up?" She turned to me in horror, I told him to go away, he pleaded his case with his hands waving too close to my face, and the next thing you know he’s on his knees and I’m pounding him on top of the head, which hurts the hand more than the head. It’s still the Age of Quarrel.
Sept. 24: I finally get to see the almighty Bad Brains live, only to have my nose broken in the pit by the back of some Fred Durst wannabe’s exceptionally hard dome as he does the "nookie" dance. Punk rock may not be dead, but it’s sure been infiltrated.
Oct. 8: Turbonegro play Slim’s, and I use my plus one on a sweet but very stoned German girl I don’t know at all. Everything is going swimmingly until the barricade, which appears to be made from San Francisco Police Department fencing and kegs, starts collapsing around security and the band leaves the stage.
In the ensuing soccer chants of "Oh-oh-oh-oh, I got erection!" some tool with an erection starts chatting up my Teutonic friend. That’s all well and good she wasn’t my girlfriend and we weren’t even dating, but nonetheless, she came to the show with me and I’m standing right next to her. When I tell him to go away, he goes through a beer-soaked nightclub version of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s five stages of grief. (1) He denies that there is any issue. (2) He gets angry and gets in my face, saying he isn’t "scared of an old man." (But if I crack you in the face, it’s going to hurt, unless you’ve got the adrenaline from being afraid, so fear might be beneficial.) (3) He bargains with me, trying to bro-down with some rock-lock handshake. (4) He gets depressed when I refuse to be his rock ‘n’ roll, Turbo sailor buddy and keeps yapping in amazement how he can’t understand why I won’t talk it out with him. (5) In a reversion to the anger stage, he gives me his best hockey shoulder check as he walks by, at which point I am compelled to jack his arm behind his back and pray to whatever god or gods might be listening to restrain me from bringing my knee to his face. I do this praying by shouting, "Someone get this motherfucker out of my face!" Security takes him out the back door. I’m sure the cold night air ushered in feelings of acceptance.
Of the three times I’ve seen Turbonegro, the first was flaccid and boring, the second was incredible, and the third was, well, this.
My New Year’s resolution is going to be to meditate more regularly so I’m not driven to aggravation and violence at shows. Or perhaps I’ll just see bands more sparingly. With a little heavy mental excavation, I’ve come up with some good to great musical moments in 2007, which I have saved for my top 10 list.
1. Grinderman at the Great American Music Hall, July 26, and Slim’s, July 27
2. The Stooges at the Warfield, April 19
3. Qui, Lozen, and Triclops! at Cafe du Nord, Sept. 12. Qui’s Love’s Miracle (Ipecac) is most certainly top 10 material as well.
4. Love Me Nots at the Elbo Room, Aug. 31
5. The Shout Out Louds, "Blue Headlights," Our Ill Wills (Merge)
6. King Khan and BBQ Show at 12 Galaxies, Nov. 16
7.Rykarda Parasol and the Tower Ravens at Cafe du Nord, Jan. 5
8. The White Barons, Up All Night with the White Barons (Gearhead)
9. Neil Young, Chrome Dreams II (Reprise)
10. Les Savy Fav, Let’s Stay Friends (French Kiss)