In the Crowd: Wolfmother / The Divorce
Wolfmother and The Divorce
Friday, February 10th, 2006
Chop Suey, Seattle, Washington
Ohhhhhhhhh boy. This one had bad news written all over it right from the start. I'd been somewhat of a curmudgeon up until about three weeks before this show/experience took place-quick little life event happens and I turn to the bottle and become a leech on the thigh of the worthy Seattle night life that I'd been ducking in and out of for the past few years. At least four shows a week, twice as many bars, you name it, I was doing and drinking it. Why is this one so different from the others? What could be going on that makes this load of shit to do notable? Read on.
I'd caught wind of these new goings on about a week before the hallowed doors of Chop Suey were to open. Normally learning of a show isn't notable at all, but there's an order to how everything was brought to my attention and this order was to spill equal amounts of fun and doom on my already reckless reevaluation of nightlife. "Dude, you should totally come to this party at Chop Suey…" this was the first yellow light. A party at Chop Suey. Right away, countless thoughts and excuses not to go race through my head, thoughts such as, "Fuck this means a DJ that's going to play shitty shit that I don't want to hear," "Too many trendy scenesters," and excuses like, "I got shit goin' on," and "Oh man, I'll definitely give you a call". I gave one of the wise excuses in my burgeoning arsenal and went on my way.
Two days before this event (by that time I had completely forgotten my slightly condescending RSVP) I saw the flyer for it on a telephone pole on a street heavy with foot traffic. I stopped and looked it over, getting to the middle I unknowingly blurted out, "Fuuuuuuck meeeee…" About a half-dozen people turned to look at me after this outburst. Their problem. "Wolfmother, The Divorce, DJ Frankie Chan, and DJ Shortnin" Blah blah blah…then two whammies at once: "Cryin' Tiger Fashion Show!" "Photos by the Cobra Snake!" Fantastic.
Number One; Wolfmother. Hadn't heard them, but right away, another Wolf band.
Number Two: The Divorce. They're fine, don't have a problem with them, not to be a dick or anything, but the crowd they draw can get on my nerves. I think that crowd gets on its own nerves.
Number Three: Cryin' Tiger Fashion Show. There was also a screening for a hip-hop documentary happening. How much shit can you cram in one night?!
Number Four: Photos by the Cobra Snake. If you're not keen on this guy, he goes to parties and functions where there are pretty people and takes pictures of them and then posts them on his website. Good idea, sure he's a nice guy, but I'd rather not deal with people trying to look absurdly pretty, practicing poses, and constantly searching to see if he's around. The Cobra Snake has made a name of being somewhat of an ancillary party accessory. It's likely that you've seen his work, most of it contains a high selective flash around good-timin', party-going subjects while the background fades out to black around the edges of the cells. The thing with Cobra Snake's photography is that he makes it look like you should have been there, that was the party that you missed, you fuck-up. Everyone looks absurdly sexy and fashionable, even ugly people he shoots look like the type you'd want to dry hump against the dumpster out back. Even if you were at a party he shot, it looks sexier, dirtier, and more strung out than you remember. Through the eyes of the Cobra Snake, a party is much more than a simple grouping of merrymaking common folk tying one on, it's a blank canvas, a raw piece of stone, a bare page to bleed his vision on. Get him to jump on board and your nephew's bar mitzvah looks like the after parties for the Adult Film Awards and a Motley Crue concert got booked in the same banquet hall and they just said "what the hell, let's do it!" To say I was intrigued would be an understatement.
Surely, Friday, February 10 rolls around and with a twisted arm, I'm ready to go. Lucky for me I took the bus, because when we got there a small group of friends was leaving to get food. "Heyyyyy!!! There's free tequila in there!" No goddamned way. Free booze? Yes, please. Tequila? Bad news, but I'll deal with it. Walking in I learn that admission is free (positive strike number two) and that the line for free booze is very, very short. While in line, my partner for the night suggests that we get more than one drink each. I don't know how free alcohol etiquette works or if there even is any for that matter. Why the hell not? "Tequila Sunrise…and…a shot?" Wonderful. Being somewhat of a lush/minimalist, I just pour the bonus shot in the sunrise and call it good. While drinking the now-ignitable TS, I notice that the first DJ, Shortnin', is well into his set. This guy knew his shit, telling from his blending Randy Travis with Whodini and Run DMC basslines (this is an approximate recollection what with memories and free booze and all). Downer news, Cobra Snake is a no-show, but there's another dude doing pictures, so people didn't starve themselves all day and dress up for nothing.
They show the film, "URB's Next 100 Live", from what I could make of it, a documentary regarding upcoming indie hip-hop acts and their views on where the genre is going. I noticed Dead Prez, Mr. Lif, and Moby on screen. Shitty description, yes, but you can't blame me with all of the noise and drunkards all over the place blocking the screen. Next is The Divorce.
At first, The Divorce is loud, fairly energetic, and just entertaining enough to keep people outside of their fanbase around to watch instead of going into the backroom for more of the complimentary hooch. As time rolled on into their set they eventually had the entire place dancing about and singing along showing that the band knows how to keep a crowd going and interested and that alcohol makes people extremely happy. It is during this exhibition that I start noticing intermittent flashes all over the venue. There's the Cobra Snake-impostor making his way around snapping shots of half-unsuspecting music/booze lovers and scanning the crowd for more subjects.
In comes Wolfmother. By this time the free booze is just about gone, I move to PBR compliments of the company I came with. Once again, I'd never heard Wolfmother, and their name made me dislike them right away; dick, I know, but that's how I work. Three guys get up on stage, the one in the front, a tall, lanky bloke with a head full of picked-out curly hair. The other fellas get behind their instruments, bass player minding a synthesizer, while curly straps on an SG. My feelings of negativity and skepticism quickly changed after about thirty seconds into the set. "Thissss fahhckin' band ish fahhcking goddamn geeennuissh!!" I had to have said that at least a hundred times while the band was getting on with their display. More rock, more beer, more booze, more rock. This was actually getting good. While Wolfmother was hopping around on stage, every song of theirs was getting burnt into my brain, they're simple, filled with Sabbath and Zepplin likenesses, and dirty as hell. I was actually turning into a fan bouncing around and shouting nonsensical rock clichés and throwing up shreddy fingers during solos. I even managed to take a tumble off of a step due to a discarded beer bottle on the ground, where were you on that one, Cobra Snake?
With all of this madness going on, I was going to have to go further than the brief EP that they were selling in the back. Four songs and a few videos weren't going to tide me over after all of this shit, I needed more and unfortunately we in the states have to wait until our release of their full length later this spring, well, that is unless you want to shell out thirty bucks for the import: no thanks. The band closes things up, I and the rest of the fashionably enthused listeners scream and yell appreciative nonsense. Frankie Chan went up and spun records until the place was completely bled empty of all of its juiced up indie chic fashionistas and free booze seekers.
I woke up the next afternoon with my body trembling in response to the tequila's rampage through my insides. I considered a hair of the dog remedy, but instead allowed myself to be punished the reckless advantage-taking I had done. All in all, the night was a winner. Few beers, good sandwiches at the Honey Hole before I got there, friends, free booze, good music, more free booze, and perhaps more importantly, a bit of a lesson learned. It's alright to have reservations about getting into things you don't fully know, in this case: music. I've written off countless bands and opportunities to go to shows because of my premature opinions and first impressions of bands. Call me an asshole, but I've been right in 99% of those assumptions, this one was one of the few exceptions. When I first heard about this whole evening I didn't want to have any part of it. I just wanted to be an old man and stay in reorganizing my books and records. I'm glad I didn't. I guess maybe what you should take away from my telling you this long-winded recount of a night of rock & roll and drinking is that you should take a chance the next time that you get invited to something you think you're going to hate. You might get something worthwhile out of it.
- Phil Del Costello | 2006-03-23
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