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Calvin Johnson performance in Chico

I want back the 4.5 hours of my life that I wasted seeing this show. I wasn't going to go until I read this in Chico's News & Review.

Yeah he founded a record company that I like (K Records) and yeah he's been in a couple of bands that I dug in the 90's, namely Beat Happening and The Halo Benders, but his solo performance miserably failed to deliver.

His first opening act was some Amish-looking kid on acoustic guitar calling himself, "The Broads." I'm sorry but this kid sucked harder than an airplane toilet. My boyfriend and I kept looking at each other like, "Is this guy for real?" I was incredulous. I kept scanning the sparsely populated cafe to gauge other people's reaction but everyone seemed to be stoically watching this wretched performance without batting an eye. For a brief moment I considered the possibility that I have become so unhip that I am unable to recognize how cool really bad music is.

But no, I do realize how cool bad music is. I'm an indie art-rock fan for Christ's sake. That whole Pacific Northwest indie art-rock scene in the 90's inspired a legion of clueless kids with horrible singing voices to pick up musical instruments they had no idea how to play and create crappy, off-key, amateur beats that rocked the house. I'm talking about Bikini Kill, Pavement, Mecca Normal, Scrawl, Babes in Toyland, Beat Happening, hell, even early Hole and basically just about any artist on Kill Rock Stars or K Records.

But there comes a point when all the liquor and art-rock pretensions in the world can't make talentless hacks seem cool. And this point was reached last night. Where is the guy who shot "Dime-bag Darrell" when you need him?

The second opening act was the Whysps from Santa Cruz. More bad art-rock. The thing that kills me is that I think that both the Whysps and The Broads could actually be decent if they would stop trying to sound so crappy just to be cool.

By the time Calvin took stage I had a dark cloud of disgruntledness hanging over my head. There were literally only 20 people present and it was pretty embarrassing to be honest. He droned out a handful of country-sounding songs and told a long, boring tour story that really only served to piss me off for having wasted a perfectly good Saturday night.



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 12th, 2004 03:45 pm (UTC)
I think you are being a bit hard on Whysp. Maybe The Broads left such a bad taste in your mouth that you were unable to appreciate Whysp's delicate sensibilities. Sort of like eating a habanero pepper and the trying to enjoy a glass of good wine afterwards. You needed something to wash the taste of The Broads out of your mind before sipped from Whysp. I liked em quite a bit. If they had some actual CDs for sale I would have bought one, but I don't have a record player. The artwork on the LPs looked kinda cool though.

The Broads. I don't have much to say about this guy. He seemed pretty passionate about his music but I just didn't connect with it. There was a time when I would have just written him off as sucking ass, but I'm trying to be more open minded and accepting these days. A kinder, gentler Ygolonac. Half the audience was there to see him yowl like a dog being neutered, so I guess that kind of stuff appeals to some people. He sort of reminded me of Springsteen singing Mary, Queen of Arkansas, but I really dislike that particular song from Bruce.

The main enchilada, Calvin Johnson, took a bit of getting used to. He reminded me at times of Johnny Cash and at other times of Stephin Merritt of the Magnetic Fields. I think I would have enjoyed him more if he had come on earlier. I was fading out by the time he took the stage and his performance was too laid back to really wake me up much.

He was a bit to artsy for me in the end, probably. I am not upset that I went and saw his show, but I won't be buying his solo cd.

Dec. 14th, 2004 11:03 am (UTC)
I thought Calvin sounded like one of the Johns from They Might Be Giants. For some reason I kept expecting him to break into Ciccone Youth's version of Madonna's "Get into the Groove."

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )