11 June 2007
YOU THINK YOU CAN DO BETTER?
RIFFMARKET "LIVES WITH HIS LANDLADY IN TORONTO, LOVES THE FACT THAT HE CAN WALK TO THE CLUB" EDITION
AN ODE TO CANADIAN CHUBROCK AND THE BUM IN CAMBRIDGE WITH ONE HUGE DREAD
WELCOME BACK, INTERNET
It occurred to me that I'd never been to a concert where somebody screamed "hey you, asshole with the face, you fucking suck" and the asshole with the face stopped his bandmates, presumably other As with Fs, and screamed back at the guy, "what you think you can do better? you think you can get this party started?" and the guy screams back, "why yes, i do think i can do better, in fact for the last ten years i have been preparing for this very moment, practicing several hours a night in my home off the path train, waiting for the day when finally somebody in a band would accept my challenge." then the guy reveals that his plus one to every rock show for the last ten years has been his motherfucking ax. he zips it out of his gig bag, all the strings have been pre-tuned but he has a portable tuner just in case, the guitar's a little showy but you figure what the hell, let's give this guy a chance. he gets on the stage, the lead singer of whatever band is on the side drinking a beer and trying to talk to the rhythm guitarist like they fucking planned the whole thing, and then the guy turns to the band, counts off to four, and rips into toto's africa. five bars in he realizes he's the only guy playing toto's africa, which wouldn't be a problem except africa is tough to pull off on your own, and he's not that good.
"hey asshole you suck" somebody screams; it becomes apparent to the people around him that this particular somebody also has his ax. in the spirit of rock&roll the original ax guy cedes the stage to the new ax guy. meanwhile the guys in the band are really hoping this new guy will just want to play songs the band has written. they know how to play these songs and really like the way they sound. "angel don't cry," he tells the band, "toto." the band has no fucking idea this new guy is talking about "angel don't cry," from 1984's isolation, the only album toto made with vocalist fergie fredriksen. "no," he clarifies, seemingly for my benefit alone, "i mean, angel, don't cry." i stop crying. "we're going to play 'angel don't cry,'" he continues. i start bawling my fucking eyes out.
from there i envision a lot of other audience members going up on stage, replacing the drummer and bassist and keyboardist, who are all now just on the floor talking about how much they regret not buying that stack bundles double-cd at amadou. the new band is both tight and sick. they play three songs. each clocks in at around three hours. the set is danceable, anthemic, unconcerned with authenticity, fun, dubstep, effortless, off the chain, mp3; the merch table on the way out is expensive but you're respectful of the fact that a band has to make its money somehow.