Shut Up I am Dreaming

Laura and I went to the people’s republic of Ann Arbor for a show last night. Subset Rubdown, and Xiu Xiu were slotted together to play the Blind Pig.

*Rant one*
Turns out some sort of a miscommunication with the booking agent happened. The doors weren’t open until 8:00. Sunset Rubdown got to play for forty minutes, and Xiu Xiu got to play for twenty-five. Then the house lights came up and big men in tight tee-shirts with big muscles began bullying us out the door. Apparently they booked another show to start right after Sunset Rubdown and Xiu Xiu at 10:15. Maybe this was communicated to the two bands, maybe it wasn’t, don’t know. Overall it was the suckiest arrangement I’ve ever heard of for a show, other than Shane MacGowan being too drunk to play with the Pogues. So if anyone from the Blind Pig reads this… perhaps a little consideration should have been given to us sorry bastards who drove two hours to see the show, never mind us poor over thirty suckers who have to acquire babysitters through underhanded deals with Mephistopheles. Ok rant one over. On to rant two.

*Rant two*
Small club shows should be non-smoking for the love of all that is holy. That club was so filled with cigarette smoke I almost died. The oxygen quality in a West Virginia coal mine might be better. I’ve never been tempted closer to injuring a random stranger than when they lit up in front of me for the fourth time in 10 minutes when the room was already so smoky it had gone past gaseous to solid. Ok rant two over.

Sunset Rubdown was spectacular. Much like Wolf Parade a surprise terrific show. Sunset Rubdown was actually the first band of Spencer Krug (see photo) who went on to be in Wolf Parade. The album Shut Up I am Dreaming was a sequel to _Snake’s got a Leg_ . The album is pretty good, but the songs really sound great live. _Stadiums and Shrines II_ was absolutely stellar, the drums really came alive, and the second keyboard player in the band provided a lot of depth that got lost on the record. _Us Ones in-between_ was a so-so album recording, but beautifully recreated live. The piano notes struck perfectly against that spot on your spine where music sort of tugs at your heart. You can’t ask for better in 45 minutes.

Xiu Xiu (pronounced eloquently by hipsters as “shoo-shoo”) Had a myriad of difficulties with sound, but managed to squeeze out twenty-five minutes of great music, including one new order cover. Xiu Xiu is the sort of music you never want your teenagers to find on i-tunes, it is dissonant, angsty and brash. I really like it, it is the band I needed when I was 15 to let me know someone could be more isolated and self-loathing than me. It is Joy Division on steroids with bells on, thrown down a rocky hill. Xiu Xiu has some great hooks and melodies too. Jamie Stewarts breathy vocals are combined with bizarre instrumentation: such as vibraphones, autoharp, and harmonium. The whole show was accompanied by a drum machine and a drummer. _I Broke Up_ was played with a frenetic intensity that may have been borne out of frustration with the sound check. Or it is par for the course. It was a great, if brief demonstration of energy and professionalism considering the environment. I really love a song called _Clowne Towne_, but they never played it, maybe next time.

I chuckle at Ann Arbor, and other big cities, the kids seem so jaded to what is great music. They talk and don’t listen, not appreciating what they see and hear I think because of it’s ubiquity. Where as we outlanders, peasants from Kalamazoo are so grateful when someone graces our rust belt city with a show, we genuflect and then begin our whirling dervish dance in thanks.

*Sunset Rubdown-Us Ones in Between*

You are a waterfall
Waiting inside a well
You are a wrecking ball
Before the building fell
And every lightning rod
Has got to watch the storm cloud come.

And I’ve heard of pious men
And I’ve heard of dirty fiends
But you don’t often hear
Of us ones in between
And I’ve heard of creatures
Who eat their babies;
And I wonder if they stop
To think about the taste.

I saw the sun go down
Outside of Arkansas;
And I saw the sun come up
Somewhere in Illinois.
And in the darkness
I taught myself to hate.
But where were you, oh where were you?
And where the fuck did the sun go?

And I am a creature.
And I am survivin’.
And I want to be alone
But I want your body.
So when you eat me,
Mother and baby,
Oh baby, mother me,
Before you eat me.

And you should always pass
When you get the inside lane.
Don’t pull your hair out;
I won’t pull my hair out.
For I have never seen the sun
That did not bury his fears in the side of the world.
And the day is done.

You are a waterfall
Waiting inside a well
You are a wrecking ball
Before the building fell
And I will mutter like a lover
Who speaks in tongues, oh he speaks in tongues.
Oh I speak in tongues.

(She’s your mother; she’s got a lovely tongue.)

*Xiu Xiu-Clowne Towne*

Up and down through what you thought would be your future
Became the dark reminder of
What a rash and inconsistent faith you had
In loving your true self and your true love
Clowne towne no shelter
Clowne towne no anything
Clowne towne single angel
Clowne towne no exit
Your true father smashed his hands through the glass
And failed out of the priviledged life of his dream
Your true love has drunk herself into not being able to pay her rent
Or keeping her own word to her own self
Your true brother has betrayed you over and over
And looked you in the eye
Your true self has become weak and alone and annoying
And a true ridiculous dumb-ass
Clowne towne revealing nothing
Clowne towne a flock of coots
Clowne towne a single beauty
Clowne towne a big dumb kid.