Tower to the sky! While I had originally intended to check in with you, Dear Reader, from the sleek, post-modern confines of Delta’s Terminal @ Logan Airport, Boston, I am writing from an Atlanta-bound , (and likely ancient) Boeing 747 high above the Eastern Seaboard. It seems that Mother Nature is not a fan of Guitar Wolf.
Arriving at the airport to find my flight 2+ hours delayed due to what, in my experience could be best described as a “balmy wind”, I have called the option, Amazing Race –style, traveling to Atlanta, where I will connect on one of two options to Las Vegas. As of right now (!), worst-case gets me on the ground in LV at 5:30, a full hour-and-a-half before the aforementioned Guitar Wolf kick off the ‘mother I’ll be referring to as from here-on-out as “M@21 “, at 7:00PM Elvis-time.
You’ll also notice that I have decided to adopt the “@” symbol used by the Matador folks to market this extravaganza. As in: “while @the baccarat table, My traveling companions, Jum managed to draw the ire of the pit boss” and “Gamester passed- out @ "9:30 PM". Let me know if that gets annoying.
OK, enough with the travel log. Boring, I know. The original purpose of this pre-show post was to get the “housekeeping” matters out of the way, like who I am, why I’m going to M@21, and what’s my favorite flavor of apple. To which, I say, not a fan of MGMT, why not?, and Royal Gala.
What are my goals, you ask?
1.Keeping my wife from getting mad at me. (This includes the following sub-goals- not hurting myself, not getting arrested, not losing the house, not doing something that would get me fired from my real job, and not doing something that would end up in me being barred from my local youth soccer league.
2) Rocking. A lot.
Having seen the Pavement reunion already this fall, when SM and the lads* performed in the cozy confines of BU's Agganis Arena, I can attest to what some of you may have read in the music press, that the Pavement 2010 crowd is predominately men, and split between early-40-something, professional, cycling enthusiasts -putting up a last fight against the ever-encroaching phenomenon of “dad-rock”, and young Williamsburg-residing hipsters who missed the band in its nineties heyday, and are generally annoying spoiled little brats. As you may have already surmised, please put your loyal M@21 correspondent firmly in the former category. (Though judging by the last Wilco album, I’m not sure I’ll EVER fully embrace dad-rock.)
I think my colleagues (!) in the music press will agree with me when I say that the Pavement reunion exceeded all expectations. Having seen the band several times during their initial run, including back-to-back nights on the Wowee Zowee tour, I can attest that the songs sound great. While the band’s detached-cool style could be called more “fun” to see live, shows often veered from “disinterested” into “sloppy”.
Please don’t get me wrong. I consider Pavement my favorite band. Ever. They are at the top of my “top 5”, along with Beatles, Guided By Voices, The Rolling Stones, and the Clash. (Though I like to extend the list to 6 to allow for the inclusion of Radiohead.) While Pavement has been mostly sticking to the “hits”, (here’s hoping they delve deeper into their catalog playing for their most ardent devotees in Vegas) the hits have never sounded better.
So, as SM reportedly has a 2011 Jicks record (with guests by Beck?) and tour lined up, your correspondent is seriously looking forward to what could be the band’s last show for a long time, maybe (gasp!) ..ever.
So, as I still want to prep for tonight by watching “Slow Century”* and my laptop is reporting 62% battery life remaining, I leave you with some thoughts on the rest of the bands playing the first night of M@21:
Guided by Voices- Having seen Pavement a couple weeks ago, this is the show to which I am most looking forward. Though that 6am departure out of McCarran Airport will be a challenge after GBV’s weekend ending set “scheduled” to end at 1am.
F’ed Up- (I’m a dad don’t forget) ..just got into these guys, knowing they were playing M@21. An update on the hardcore punk I grew up on. I expect them to be, in a word, powerful.
Chavez- Never seen them, but LOVE the “ride the fader” record.. I always try to turn my more mainstream music fan friends into them.. they should have been much bigger than they were/are.
Sonic Youth- Never seen them. Only familiar with their top 5-10 songs, (so, here’s hoping the play them!) but one of those influential “respect” bands that you have to like.. looking forward to their set.
Guitar Wolf- would like to check out, but will probably “prepping” with a couple of pre-show watery domestics in the room at the Palms with Jum and Gamester.
Bands that might be playing tonight, but as I’m too cheap to buy the in-flight wi-fi, and forbidden by federal law to power-up my Blackberry, I’m not sure.
Cold Cave- Don’t know them. Supposedly, sort- of Depeche Mode-y (never my cup of tea), but will try to stay up (there playing late/early) and let you know.
Esben and the Witch - From Brighton , England.. which is a pretty cool place- I had lunch there once..I’ll let you know what their like, but they're supposed to be sorta “moody”, which may not be compelling at 3AM on Saturday morning to a dude that’s been up since 5AM Friday.
I am also intrigued by what’s being billed as "F'd Up vs.Ted Leo and The Pharmacists” at 1:30 in a smaller room at the Palms. Leo is not playing a full set in the main room until Sunday night, so it’s cool that he’ll be hanging at the Palms all weekend with the rest of us. This is supposed to be some alternating “band-off”, based in hardcore, (where Leo got his start and still periodically returns with sometimes mixed results) so I’ll try to keep the boys up for this.
Friday nights report is forthcoming. Thanks….
*-someone please notify me if there is some kind of journalistic limit on the use of quotes.