Thursday, July 01, 2004

geezers need excitement
the misanthropist leaves the house: the streets

So this is me RUNNING through Times Square, ten minutes till Diz Rascal is about to take the stage over at Irving Plaza. My goddamn clothes dryer simply isn't working so I've just laid out piles of wet laundry about my bedroom in the hopes that they'll air dry for work tomorrow and oh shit if it isn't already 8:30. Grab the wallet and the keys and the pen and the notebook so you can take notes for th' blog and wait a second what's the best way to get crosstown? Fuck, forgot the manhattanmap. Putz. Alright, the 4 is a one stop wonder to Union Square, so if I can get to Grand Central, it shouldn't be more than five minutes so that's a five avenue jaunt and this is me, again: running through Times Square, ducking in and out of the bike lane and using the bike cab as a pacer until it's thoroughly outraced. Stop for a minute by the NYPL main branch to ask an old streetcat if he's alright. He's pushed up against the wall, crying or puking or something; but he hops to when I inquire and says, "No no, I'm just enjoying the weather".

Fair enough. Tip o the hat and it's a short race to the subway.

Hop off and buzz over to the Plaza. The place is surrounded by hipsters and accents. They're sold out and I know it, but I've never played this game before so I figure there's bound to be someone looking to unload a ticket. Sure enough, ten steps from the theater there's the scalper in a Jigga shirt with the "ticketsticketstickets?" chant. Fifty? Unlikely; there's twentyfive in my wallet and it seems a shame to feed the sharks. I'll take my chances with the hoi polloi.

A half an hour later, those chances are lousy. There's four others nearby waiting with the same hopes and they drop off one at a time. Fuck. Dizzy's already onstage. The door opens to the VIP and I hear Jus' A Rascal booming from inside. Fuck fuck fuck. I'd wanted to see Diz as much or more than Skinner. Literally hundreds of people have been waved in on the "guestlist". I wonder if being the proprietor of a somewhat moderately popular, no not even that really, website that brings in traffic by giving away pilfered tracks should get me on the shortlist. Suppose not.

But wait: the guy sitting next to me is looking antsy so I repeat the original question of "Spare? Spare?" and he tells me that he's getting a bit tired of waiting for his friend and I sputter and say that I could be his friend. I get a strange look in return and debate inwardly what the proper way is to tell someone that you're not offering blownjobs for ticket, you're just being affable. I rightly decide to just shut up and he eventually jumps up and runs around the corner. This confuses me.

He comes around the corner and waves me over and tells me he'll sell. I find this bizarre; it's not as if we're doing anything illicit; I could just be his friend buying a spare. I pause briefly; on my watch, at least four guys have ditched the theater after being told that their tickets are fake. Fuck it. Twenty five is fine? Twenty five is fine. We both corner and head right in. Laser beep on the UPC666 and in we go.

One short flight up and a right and there's Dizzy in the tail end of "Fix Up Look Sharp". He's G'd up and beefy which is surprising as every picture I've ever seen of him had him all stick figure. I shoulder my way to stage center on the ground floor and by the time I find a comfortable perch, Diz is offstage.

There is a thirty minute pause as the crowd smokes up and I get a tetch more entrenched.

The lights go down and wtf if a bassed out version of Michael Nyman's "The Heart Asks Pleasure First" from The Piano don't come on. This gets me roughly buzzed.

Skinner takes the stage with a big built cat in a tight shirt with the word "POLICE" across the front. There's a live band, which is nice and the big guy is the soul singer. The drum set has a pair of taps on the front with upended bottles of Hennessey and Grey Goose screwed in. These are mostly empty by night's end, as the onstage fellas are drinking fluently and passing cups to the front row.

The crowd's eating it up and I'm also digging, but I'm reminded why I never come out to shows. I get paranoid in tight crowds over long periods of time and fight or flight kicks in. I get frustrated and angry for no reason and generally listless as my schizo tendencies flare.

There's more of the first album sung than I'd care for; I wasn't much of a fan. I'm here mostly because of A Grand Don't Come for Free, which is pretty brill. They DO sing Blinded by the Lights, which justifies my 25.

Skinner talks to the crowd and is shouted down by a trio of idiots who howl something roughly equivalent to "DAZZA FRAZZA BIZZIN CUNT!" Skinner questions, "Is what you're saying in reference to British football?" "YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!"

While singing "Fit But You Know It", Skinner distributes backstage passes to the cuter girls on the frontrow. There's some irony here, but it's not appreciated.

Somewhere in the midst of the first encore, the asshole trio bumrushes the stage, knocking over a few people. There is brief retaliation. Then there is a scrum. Then there is a floor clearing fight and I find myself rushing to the newly cleared edge. Some guy has either ripped or removed his shirt and there is a great deal of glaring and gritting of teeth, but not much punching. Skinner shuts the show down temporarily, informs everyone that there's no fighting at a Streets show. He asks if it was the football fucks that started the action and when he gets an affirmative, he apologizes for being British.

The foolishness of a fight breaking out at a fuckin' STREETS show is obvious to all and the encores proceed apace.

I'm just not the concert type ya'll.


Autechre - "Tapr"

Hip hop dissected and deconstructed.

"Girl you got the game wrong."

Buy "Draft 7.30" from Amazon
Not for the squeamish. Difficult and fun.
'97 interview
Try some remixes


Kool Moe Dee - "I Go to Work"

This is as good as hip hop has ever gotten: James Brown samples, elastic bassline, vicious attack on the mic.

KMD doesn't get proper respect these days and that's a shameful state of affairs.

Buy "Knowledge is King" from Amazon
Honestly? You probably want the Greatest Hits collection.
Or at least I HOPE you want it. Otherwise, I fear for your soul.
Know your history