Monday, May 28, 2007

Wanting to throw Tantrums All Weekend


tantrums
Originally uploaded by V'ron.
As I said, I decided to drop in on a band I knew nothing about, and the Tantrums turned out to be the kind of band that was perfect to begin a weekend with. Three guys, probably my age (or not substantialy younger), if I were going to judge by the selection of songs on the set list. They weren't quite novelty or even bubblegum, but they did fun 60s era covers, like "Come On Down To My Boat, Baby" and "Hanky Panky." These Fox Valley guys understood that it takes just as much sweat and garage angst to cover Boyce and Hart as it does Glimmer Twins. Bassist Tim Buechler looks like what Brian Wilson might have looked like had Murry Wilson and Mike Love not beat the sparkle out of him by the time he was 30. As such, he looked very much at home, underneath the Circle A's watchful Ramones poster, cranking out "Let's Talk About Girls" in a way that both Joey and Brian would have approved of. Drummer Ronny Johnny Kipsert looks annoying familiar, but since they are from the Fox Valley, I know its impossible that he's this guy they just hired for the help desk at work. I was sitting right behind guitarist Jamie Shimon all night, so i didn't get a good look at anything but his shoes and if you haven't yet gotten a feel for how enjoyably garagey, fun, and with a little touch of the raw punk that goes with garage they were, the brand name on Buechler's ampshould tie it all together. They've been together for some 10 years now, so I suspect theyr'e in it for the love and for the long haul. Then Lemonie Fresh arrives, with plenty of 60s vinyl to finish off the night. Andy Pagel dropped in on his way to Marlavous's Karaoke at the Bavarian Inn, and I exchanged pleasantries with Brian "MOMBOB" Wurch before following him. Pagel got to hear a Marlevous rendition of Bjork's "It's Oh So Quiet" before leaving, and missing me channel Cher once again on "Bang Bang." (Although admittedly, I did a little of Nancy Sinatra's Kill Bill worthy phrasing as well.

Saturday night Brian and I picked up the sitter, and decided to head out to catch a real down home dinner before seeing some bands. I had to keep myself from throwing my next tantrum: we chose the Palimino for dinner, and remembering only after sitting down (and even the menu apologises for this) that they're not the fastest food in the world. Worth the wait, though: if you want unpretentious food and you're not counting Weight Watchers points, the Palomino is the place to be. My chicken fried steak was indeed fried in hot enough oil to retain a crispy, flavorful cornmeal crust that held up even underneath a dollup of chicken white gravy. Yum. Brian's bacon cheeseburger was perfect, and huge. We waddeld out, and across the street to Club Garibaldi to see what mightyness we'd encounter before heading to Shank. Not to worry about the food taking forever, the band was running late too.

Will Not Play Freebird For Cash
Originally uploaded by V'ron.
We got the Lumberhorn. But here comes my next tantrum. You ever go see a band you really like, and you know the soundman isn't interested in the one aspect of the band you really really like? (This happens to Brian all the time. Brian's in F/i, which has all sorts of neat-o sci-fi synthesisers, so sound guys end up thinking they're a synth pop band. Only people who get what F/i is all about get that what makes them DIFFERENT from synth bands is that they have a live drummer, guitarist, and bassist, all of who kick butt and all of whom should be heard. But noooooooo. Sound guys assume you came to hear synth, and nothing but synth. OK, I digress.) The thing about The Mighty Lumberhorn that makes them stand out is that they are verbally clever. That means pot up the vocals, Mr. Sound Man. Please. They asked for more vocals in the monitors, I hollered for more in the house. Don't know if the Lumberhorners got their monitor wish, but I didn't get mine. Yeah, they can play, and yeah, they're visually good, but this was a freebie, a party for a guy I've talked to all of twice in my life (we have many mutual friends), and we were cutting out early to catch the next act on our docket, so I wasn't going to throw a tantrum, but still. OK, they have the bass drum made out of somebody's old American Tourister luggage. OK, they have the bass made out of god knows what, plywood? old piano wire? WTH? And that headstock that looks like its should be on some concert viola? So, I guess if I'm a soundguy, I'm assuming (there's that word again) those two things are the feature thing about this band, and I'm going to be fretting about how I'm going to make them sound right. But I the listener wanted to hear what they had to say/sing, because that's what makes me come back again and again (with friends) and I couldn't hear or pick our words. Oh well, if they weren't captured properly aurally, I think I captured them visually if I do say so myself.

OK, over to Shank Hall, to finally see "Substitute." Juggling guy was just finishing up (this was the Rock and Roll Circus, after all) , and a sinister guy came out to say "Dig Substitute" just like Mick Jagger intros the Who on the real R&R Circus. They open with something forgettible, but then they start firing off the hits. None of 'em really look like their tribute counterparts, but they evoke them perfectly. Don't know their real names except for my drummer, Andy Pagel who pretty much validated me Saturday night: I must bring something to the table if a drummer who can successfully pull off Keith Moon will play with me. Really, you can fake drumming until somebody says "OK, badass, let's see you get all the way through Baba O' Reilly" and that pretty much seperates the men from the boys. The Entwistle pretty much entwistled well all night: barely moving, letting his fingers do the walking. One biff, and he knew it, and rolled up his eyes -- the part in "My Generation" that everybody plays air bass to: do de do-de-do dooooo, doodely do-do -- and he at least got that final run in. The Daltrey didn't look a thing like Roger, and didn't exactly sound like him, but he moved like him, he strutted like him. I think the only reason he didn't attempt whipping the mike around was that the ceiling at Shank Hall was too low. Ah, the Townsend! Windmill guitar flaying. Jumping in the air several times. The whole bit. So they evoked the Who, to the point where by the end of the night, the shy audience had migrated to the stage, singing along, playing air drums/bass/guitar with the band. And to cap it off, because this is the Rock and Roll Circus, they pull through a perfect rendition of "A Quick One While He's Away," the whole thing, the Who's Side Two of Abbey Road. Lots of fun overall, and perfect for the Summerfest gig they landed.
After Substitute, "Shattered" the Rolling Stones band took the stage. I guess its a little harder to do the Stones. What era do you pick? To dress? Which guitarist do you try to evoke, Brian, Mick, or Ronnie? Maybe because I know a guy in Substitute, that might show my bias, plus I've always loved the Rolling Stones (they were my first concert when I was 16 after all) but I didn't get the feeling that these guy were even trying to evoke. The Keith had the 80s look pretty good (except he looked way too healthy!) and the Mick had the moves down. But that was about it. Heck, the real Stones barely sound like their 1968 selves anymore, so maybe I'm being hard on these guys. But the wanting to throw a tantrum kicked in about the third time they tried to give "Substitute" a hard time about doing such an obscure piece like "A Quick One" -- the Mick kept on singing the first line, joking that he couldn't believe they did it. Why not? This was the R&R Circus after all, and that's what the Who performed then. It's a tough obscure hit, but really, anybody who's going to pay $7 to see a Who tribute band probably knows "A Quick One" and is happy to hear it, because anybody who loves their Who is happy to look around, and know that everybody else in the room knows this medley of little songettes. So shut up Mick, and concentrate on your own band's schtick, because you need more schtick to make this tribute band thing work. You have your hands full with trying to cram a 40 year career into 40 minutes.
Finally, a nitecap at the Circle A Cafe, spun by Paul Host. Brian and I ran into half of Dr Chow's Love Medicine, where we gossipped with the remaining Chop Top Toronados who were still there. We all discussed the (un)likelihood of this being Danica's year, and knowing we were going to get up the next morning early for racing, we called it a night before I could throw another tantrum.

Today, I'm recovering from a terrific racing party, where me and my girlfriends planned our next big obnoxious event, and consumed enough girly drinks to avoid any tantrums, hair pulling, or name calling. Stay tuned for more info.

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