When I’m describing something I like to someone who has never heard of it before, I tend to lean towards hyperbole. “It’s the best thing ever!” I say, or “It is the most amazing thing in the whole fucking world!” I think I do this because I am not naturally enthusiastic, so when I try to convey my own brand of enthusiasm to someone else, I overdo it because I think that’s what they want to hear. It’s kind of like how serial killers have conversations. They don’t give a shit about your job or your cat, but they’ll ask because that’s what polite people are supposed to do. And then they’ll murder you.
Yesterday, I tried describing the Dresden Dolls to someone who listens mostly to whatever it is they play on shitty radio stations and MTV.
“Uhmmm, they’re like art punk cabaret,” I said. “Dark, but not depressing. Ebulliently gothic, I guess. With glitter.”
Blank stare. Which I probably deserved.
So I gave up, because even though the Dresden Dolls aren’t actually obscure, they’re obscure enough to the kind of person who listens to regular radio. Loving an obscure-ish band is great because their music feels much more personal, but it can also be difficult because not only do you find yourself trying to explain them to people, but you run the risk of being one of those douchebag hipsters who’s all “you probably haven’t heard of them, but their first album was better.”
With this in mind, I expected a half-hipster, half-dork crowd at last night’s Dresden Dolls show, and it turns out I was right. I also expected to see a few people in costume, and I was right again. Lastly, I expected the show to totally fucking rock, and I was right, because it did, and it was the most amazing thing in the whole fucking world!
The opener was Sleepy Kitty. I was sort of aware of Sleepy Kitty before; they’re local, on the menu board at The Mud House (I’ll pimp that in a second, just in case you’re not tired of hearing me talk about it in person) and the St. Louis music press won’t shut up about them. Thing is, the St. Louis music press doesn’t know what they’re talking about 85% of the time. Their writeups on Sleepy Kitty described them as a kind of messy, out of tune, even more distorted Raveonettes (and this was supposed to be complimentary, as if the only cool music these days is supposed to be unlistenable), so I was fully prepared to hate them. But dudes. Dudes. Sleepy Kitty is fucking terrific. I would punt a baby for a voice like Paige Brubeck’s, and the chest reverb from the kickdrum? Motherfuuuuuuuck.
Obviously I went to the merch table for a CD after their set. Now that I’m no longer bartending, I rarely carry cash. So when Graham paid me back for something last night by handing me a $100 bill, I looked at it like “you can’t give me real money?” and forgot about it. Until I went to the merch table, of course, because what kind of local band has change for a $100 bill on a $5 CD? And I look like some dick who doesn’t know how shows work?
Then a skinny arm holding a fiver shot out, and it’s Casey, one of the owners of the Mud House. She recognizes me because I’m addicted to their coffee (and breakfast burritos, and egg salad, and duck confit hash), I recognize her because her business is kickass and she’s so effortlessly cute and cool it makes me jealous. So I started yammering because most of my friends wouldn’t just pay for a CD for me, let alone this girl who sees me maybe once a week and knows nothing about me other than I like coffees large and with a little bit of room. I thanked her profusely and behaved like a fucking weirdo, and I was at The Mud House at 7:30 this morning to get a coffee, a burrito, and pay back her $5.
(To be abundantly clear: if you’re in St. Louis and you’re not going to The Mud House, you’re fucked in the head.)
Okay, the Dresden Dolls. My god, the Dresden Dolls. This is basically what happened:
(I put a video here. I hope it posts. If not, WTF? It’s here. Also it’s not what happened exactly because the Pageant is a much larger venue, and the Dolls are good and smart enough that everything they did felt special and brand new.)
Damn, Amanda Palmer. Damn damn damn. How much more fucking rock star can one woman get? AFP is a force, okay, she will grab you by the ears and fuck your face and make you believe in art for art’s sake and ohmygooooooddd I love her. And Brian Viglione, this guy who I’d only seen on YouTube before, looking weak and a little fey and definitely nothing I’d let eat crackers in bed. Holy shit, dudes. I want to play drums like Brian Viglione. I want to date a boy who plays drums like Brian Viglione. I want to be someone’s Art Twin like AFP and Brian are to each other, because that show was easily one of my Top 5 Shows Ever, and I could not have been happier to crawl out of bed hungover and sore this morning because all the screaming and swooning I did was out of love.
If you ever go to a show and don’t leave feeling completely exhilarated, inspired, and like you’ve just gotten laid, then you went to the wrong show.