I heard a good portion of their Bumbershoot performance on Seattle’s breath of fresh air that is KEXP on the bus up from Seattle Monday night. Spent the day Tuesday walking around in a jetlag daze, flossing up and down Commercial Drive, having sushi for breakfast at 2pm, leaving a grocery bag behind, spending half an hour at the Santa Barbara deli counter alone…like Vasco Rodrigues said to the Anjin-san in Shōgun: tired men make mistakes.
Saw posters for the Nouvelle Vague show, called up The Plaza in a panic in the evening, but they said they doubted the show would sell out. What? I could have gone alone, but I like to make like a fucking Care Bear and share. So I coralled my friend Dave into coming along. Another friend proved FAR LESS SPONTANEOUS. I’m looking in your general direction, Jocelle.

Now I just came back from the show. I could be critical of the venue and the sound tuning (does any concert rig do vocal ranges right?), but the music and showmanship were just superior enough to make the small (not sold out! wtf!) but enthralled audience demand several encores.

I liked the show. Some woman named Greta next to me had heard about them word of mouth (not from radio) roughly when I started hearing them on KCRW. She had seen them in Cannes and elsewhere (in England, I think), and she simply couldn’t believe they weren’t sold out. I managed to drag to the show (albeit last minute!) only one person who has not heard of them. She dragged ten. I don’t know about her drageroos, but mine was blown away. Right Dave?

I told Greta to listen to KCRW more, she’d like it.

As would the rest a’ya riff-raff!

Anyway, on with it:

I arrived a bit into their set so I don’t know how they started. They did a lot of their usual covers (which I can’t seem to get enough of). They did that Hooligan song, Bizarre Love Triangle, Bela Lugosi’s Dead, Confusion, Heart Of Glass, and finished off with Love Will Tear Us Apart. If memory serves correctly, the first encore was In A Manner Of Speaking.

<i>Aside: I had always known this track to be by Martin L Gore from his wonderful Counterfeit EP which I haven’t listened to in for EVER. On the way home I remembered that Counterfeit EP is actually “counterfeit” in the sense that, like Nouvelle Vague’s modus operandi (plural: modi operandi), it’s all covers. I clicked up the Intertubes and looked up the track’s truthiness up on Wikiality to discover that it’s originally composed and performed by Winston Tong and Tuxedomoon. The original ain’t half bad, in all honesty, in that Art Of Noise sort of way…but I’m still very fondle of the Martin Gore really really ridiculously soulful version. That’s right, soulful and fondle, all in one sentence, deal. Tong apparently has in the past joined N.V. on-stage in SF to perform this song with them. Context is everything.</i>

Anyway, I digress. One of my favourite DM concert-closing tracks was another encore: Just Can’t Get Enough. It’s hard to improve on that gay pop classic, but they did it justice, although by making it into a slow and sultry number instead of a high-energy popper-pooper-jumper-up-and-downer, erm, ass-shaker. Can’t keep up with the whippersnapper lingo these days.
All in all, a kick-ass show in a smallish venue with lots of swaying and bopping room. C’était très jolie, cela.

Tomorrow, Silver Jews, ’cause Laurie Anderson was sold out. I’m lame for not catching that one before it got away. Then the next day–Nashville’s own hometown faves, The Legendary Shack Shakers. Now why would you not suspect that Nashville had a rockin’ music scene? Then I think De La is coming up too, though I can’t find listings. Definitely, though, coming right up are the following:

DJ Shadow

DJ Krush + No Luck Club

Sheryl Crow + John Mayer (if only for the entertainment value of seeing how many Jessica Simpson-lookalike femmes will be in the crowd… …nvm)

Pennywise + Circle Jerks

Ridley Bent

Madeleine Peyroux




Decemberists (just ’cause I’m growing to like Los Angeles, and they sing about it, reasons aren’t really needed when it comes to that from the gut feeling…just ask The Chimp In Charge)

Paul Simon (at the Orpheum!!!)


Geoff Berner + some Billy Bragg guy

Bob Dylan (will be leaving us any moment now…although Modern Times was actually intelligible, perhaps the meds are working now)

Nashville Pussy (whom I missed once–my excuse is that I went instead to the Penthouse with a friend from work, got hot and heavy, and then got me some actual, though not Nashville, kind of the above)

Holly Cole and her xmas affair is always a seasonal joy

…and, above all else, in Novembah… LADY SOVEREIGN WOOT!!!!

All in all, all manner of musicalities I have insufficient ch’ching for.