The Alternative: Sonic Youth, Awesome Color @ The Fox, 8/2/09

Two things drove me to a rare trip ‘overseas’ to Oakland tonight:

1. I’ve been wanting to see The Fox Theater, a beautifully renovated, newly reopened venue
2. What I call an ‘eat your vegetables’ show (though this doesn’t make sense for me as I am practically a vegetarian): a band that I don’t particularly love, but I ‘need’ to see

Umlaut and I, for the second time this week, found ourselves traveling to a non-metal show together. I think we talked about metal on the not-as-long-as-I-always-think-it-will-be trek to Oakland, however.

outside

The Fox Theater is sheer old school beauty- so much so that it may overshadow the band the first time you go there. I couldn’t do it justice trying to describe it here. So here are two pictures:

buddha

ceiling

Opener Awesome Color hit the stage shortly after our arrival. Within thirty seconds, a guy walks up to me and asks, “how come there isn’t any slam dancing?”. I think this is some weird pick up line, and shrug my shoulders, but then the guy takes off and just mows through everyone on the floor like a crazy person. I swear I have a crazy magnet, and it’s especially strong lately!

Awesome Color is a three piece from Michigan. Their psych pop sound was quite nice, as were they, thanking everyone on the tour it seemed throughout their set. I especially enjoyed watching the female drummer, who seemed to be the happiest drummer alive. The other standout was how the guitarist punished his guitar at the end of the set- destringing it and pressing it between the amp and the mic. I love that.

There was too long of a wait between sets. I spent too much time looking around and noticing people who were way more excited to be here than me. I also spent too much time talking to Umlaut about shows I was excited about for the rest of the year.

When Sonic Youth finally hit the stage, it was like everyone around me lit up a joint. This is kind of nothing new at shows, but the ground up ventilation must have really pushed the smoke in my face. Because I have asthma, I can sometimes be a bit of a pussy when it comes to smoke inhalation. Luckily, that started to subside a few songs in. But then the cocktail waitress came around like five times. And then the security guys had to drag someone out who was causing a ruckus, and they pinned him on the ground and the troublemakers pants were falling down. Oh, right, the music…

Thurston Moore is tall. Kim Gordon was wearing a short silver shirtdress. There is no doubt that the music sounds good. Even though they switch between three singers, I still didn’t find the performance dynamic enough for me. They stay in their own general space, toiling away at their music, with little mind towards the crowd.

I spaced out. I lost track of the songs already. Perhaps part of it was the second hand smoke, the weird weekend I’ve had, or the fact that I’m only casually familiar with the band, but Umlaut and I soon decided to leave a bit early….

Sometimes I try the alternative to my norm. Sometimes it works out, and other times, it reaffirms my gut feeling that I should have just gone to Hirax at DNA like I was invited out to…

Let the flaming begin. My skin is thickening by the day around here.

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8 x 8: Mastodon, BTBAM, High on Fire, Baroness, Priestess, Valient Thorr, Black Cobra, and Bison B.C. @ The Fox Theater Oakland, 5/8/10

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