Who knew that going to see Jello that it would be political? Shock!
December 31, 2004
Neumo’s in Seattle, Washington
Jello Biafra w/ The Melvins
Big Business are apparently a 70s style power rock duo. I’m not sure if that’s what they’re going for, or if that’s just what I saw. The two person band is the new black; one person on guitar and one on the drums. They really gave it everything, but it’s nothing I’d pay to see at this stage in their career – I’m just not a big ‘Power of Rock’ fan.
The Evaporators are the guys who got us in the doors, and Nardwuar put on a good show to an initially skeptical audience. By the end of it, at least the front half of the audience was fully into it. I was near the front, so have no idea how far back the love went, but at least 100 people up front were fully into it by the end of the last tune. Sure, many were too cool to kneel down for the “I don’t need my friends to tell me who my friends are” tune, but some people are too cool for the room regardless of the room and its contents.
The Makers did 2/3 of their set entirely backlit so that you couldn’t make out their features. This is either so that you can’t recognize them on the streets and ask them what the hell they were thinking with their act, or so that they can transparently replace members of the band without upsetting their public. In silhouette, the lead singer looked like Prince
The headlining combination of Jello fronting The Melvins was pretty good – and they played at least 4 or 5 Dead Kennedy tunes … Moon over Marin, Holiday in Cambodia, and others that I’m totally blanking on… Holiday was a really good version, and it’s overshadowing everything else for me.
The bouncers were surprisingly jumpy for a punk show… The would run on stage, on high alert whenever anyone surfed the crowd up to the stage (I think I saw 5 people do this, TOPS). The bouncer would grab them in a full nelson and drag them off the stage, saying things into their ear… I can only assume the context was “don’t fucking do that again, or else…” It was pretty intimidating, so I think I understand why only a handful of people made the journey. At one point the same mohawked guy ended up back on stage and was grabbed, even more forcefully by the bouncers. Jello basically pushed the bouncer off in mid chorus, waving him to let the kid go. The punk was vindicated, he did a couple short turns around the stage in a victory lap and then he dived back out into the crowd to surf back to where he came from. No big deal.
All in all a very good crowd from what I could see. A little pushing here, a little shoving there, but nothing big. The bouncers seemed the most on edge of anyone. Met a number of interesting people who thought that they knew me; Tamara and her brother / lover Caanan (assuming the spelling, pronounced it KAYNAN and said “like in the Bible.”
It’s funny that it’s said that we’re the polite ones up in Canada, but I swear that this was the nicest overall crowd I’ve ever seen at a punk show. Any time I’ve been in California or Washington, I meet the nicest, most honestly curious people I’ve ever seen. Maybe by “polite Canadians” they mean more that we don’t chat with strangers all the time… not sure.
Picked up the Melvins / Jello album, and the most excellent show poster that they were selling for $10… I have a bad camera phone shot of the poster at the top of this post, which links to a larger version at Flickr. Managed to have the poster signed by Jello and Dave thanks to the assistance of Nardwuar and his magical all-access wrist band. I’ll take a real photo of it when I’m near the right cable to upload the photo from my digital camera. Also a bunch of shots from the show on there…
The morning after the show, and I’m hoarse and have the whiskey and cigarette voice now. I’m scaring myself.