Photo by DEREK BRAD
EDITOR’S NOTE: All times approximate. Present tense added retroactively the next morning.
7:45 – Waiting for 23 bus en route to Electric Factory. See a stray/lost cat through a fence, talk to him or her, but for some reason assume it is male. “Aw poor little guy, aw my sweet little thing. Aw.” Aw.
7:49 – Board 23 bus. There is food and trash all over the floor. Would not have it any other way.
7:55 – Deboard at Callowhill, catch a peak at The Trestle Inn, get simultaneously happy and sad.
7:57 – Loving the desolation, as well as the potential, of Callowhill Street between 11th and 8th.
8:00 – Already feeling crappy because I just walked by those aggressive, shouting Electric Factory parking guys and already I’m like, “Oy.”
8:03 – Wait in will-call line for complimentary ticket. I think this show is $30. I just cannot believe that I have seen virtually every great band on earth, generally, for under $12 and well, here we are.
8:05 – Boring couple behind me talking about Panic! At the Disco and the Decemberists. Waiting for a Mumford & Sons reference that never comes. What have I gotten myself into? The world of “alternative music,” that’s what. Why didn’t this crap die in the 90s?
8:07 – Get frisked at the door. Gotta love the Electric Factory.
8:08 – This place is fucking PACKED. Also, this place is fucking packed with people I don’t want to talk to.
8:09 – Pass by Radio 104.5 and WXPN tables near the door. Christ almighty.
8:10 – Well-scrubbed, collegiate horde in here. A real Pulse Magazine kinda crowd. Dated reference. Coolest kids from Springfield. Trying not to imagine these people having gross sex to trip-hop music. Do they still make that shit?
8:11 – They are playing “Gangnam Style” over the PA. Begin sending desperate SOS messages via Facebook and text.
8:15 – Buy little plastic cup of Yuengling Lager for $7.25 plus tip. Outraged, but also glad I will not get drunk during this…thing. This…event.
8:17 – Ra Ra Riot takes the stage, stupid name and all. Gigantic crowd screams like Jay-Z just showed up.
8:20 – Electric Factory still sounds like utter shit after all these years. It’s good to know you can count on some things never changing.
8:22 – Realize that Phawker will never send me to another “big-name” show again. Realize that I am OK with that.
8:25 – This band sucks hard. All the trappings of a 2010s “alternative” band that excites boring white college kids and pseudo-artsy types: Blissful Prozacian rhythms, soaring aching vocals, operatic crescendos, not-well-executed bleeps and bloops, chicks playing electronic string instruments. ELO has nothing to worry about, trust me. Dexy’s Midnight Runners, maybe.
8:28 – “I’m old and that’s fine. These poor people need *something* to call their own, right? Stop being so intolerant. Live and let live.”
8:29 – Remember that the same type of straight-arrow music fans have enthusiastically supported dreck like Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews Band and Red Hot Chili Peppers in the past. Boring people have always liked shitty faux-good music. It’s not endemic to this generation. Realize that I am not a cranky old man in “these kids today…” mode, but rather “these people have never known any better” mode. I’m OK with that. At least they’re not crowding me at Johnny Brenda’s while excellent music is being played by people of all ages.
8:30 – This band isn’t Neon Trees. Whew.
8:31 – Ra Ra Riot sounds a little like Shudder to Think covering Genesis’ “Invisible Touch.” But not nearly as good as that would be in actuality.
8:32 – I’m surrounded by hundreds of people but I’ve never felt so alone.
8:33 – Blaming U2 for *all* of this shitty dilettante music.
8:35 – This group displays all of the trappings of a rock band, except for there’s no rock and there are definitely no hooks. It’s so terribly uncatchy. I have nothing to grab onto. There is no meat on this skeleton.
8:37 – Smoke break. Sweet escape.
8:46 – This chirpy douche of a singer REALLY likes thanking the crowd.
8:47 – Panicked realization that no amount of cigarettes or overpriced beer can make this better.
8:49 – So much fucking cologne in here. Gag. On so many levels.
8:57 – Set ends as singer, I think, is wailing “OOOOOOOOOOOO-OOOOOOH with YOOOOOOO-OOOOUUUU.” Then he says, “Thank you so much. Take care.”
8:58 – Friend on Facebook: “He said ‘Take care’? WTF is that about?”
9:00 – Wife, returning from suburban junket in automobile, texts, asks if I want to be picked up.
9:01 – “Yes. Please.”
9:02 – Think of Superchunk LP “Come Pick Me Up.”
9:05 – COLOGNE.
9:09 – Observing 800 people sound-checking for Passion Pit. “Have you ever wanted a career in the music industry?”
9:10 – Wife: “I am outside.” Bail.
9:11 – Hop in car. Say for the first time since I’ve seen a nun “God bless you.”
OK, so I didn’t catch Passion Pit. Maybe they were great. Maybe they weren’t. I feel bad. On the other hand, this was a humanitarian issue. – JOE PAONE
Photo by DEREK BRAD