Sunday, July 09, 2006

nothing left to bring me back today

Big thanks to Maudie (the award-winning photog), Trish, Denise, and the compound for helping me commemorate my emancipation. It's a good thing cupcakes are accepted as legal tender in their fiefdom.

The Plimsouls, Cafe du Nord, July 7, 2006: I truly love the '80s, but I sometimes question my own recollections of the decade. Sequestered in a little corner of the 'burbs--way before the Internet existed--I can't swear if my take on popular or, conversely, obscure pop culture jibes with others'.

But I'm pretty sure that in the early '80s, we were a ways off from the full commoditization of "alternative" music. For some of us, the jangly guitar opened the door to a whole different world of music, away from the oversize production values and the synthesizers more prevalent in the songs of the time. REM, of course, was one of the most noted purveyors of this sound, but there were other awesome bands in that vein, including the Plimsouls.

It was many years later that I learned the Plimsouls were part of a groundswell of LA bands, but even now (for better or for worse), they'll forever be associated with that pivotal scene in Valley Girl. For all our reminiscing, however, the crowd turned out to be a lot more male dominated than we expected. Then again, Peter Case has established a decent solo career over the years and has earned his following the old-fashioned way, regardless of demographics.

I can't tell you much about the songs, except that, of course, they did The Hit, which they wisely rolled into a medley to sustain that energy. They even did a couple of new songs off their upcoming album. I was more familiar with the covers, three of which I recognized. A couple were not surprising: the Creation's "Making Time," and "Dizzy Miss Lizzie," which revealed their proto power-pop influences. But when they hit up Television's "Glory," I was taken by surprise. Television's meandering rhythms and, especially, Tom Verlaine's crooked vocals would seem diametrically opposed to the Plimsouls' straightforward rock, but it was a nice touch.

The openers were called Magic Christian, a four-piece out of San Francisco, comprising Cyril Jordan (the original guitarist from the Flaming Groovies) and other San Francisco-area veterans, though Prairie Prince wasn't present tonight. They looked like they had taken a page out of the Rodney Bingenheimer school of aging (disgracefully) and wouldn't have been out of place playing the Whiskey A-Go-Go 30 years ago. Nonetheless, they churned out perfect little, errrr, nuggets of pop music.

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