Monday, November 20, 2006

Saw two-thirds of the Daily Show party at Irving Plaza last week. I don't care enough about Clem Snide to let them know they're done, and apparently neither does anyone else. The Upper Crusts were harmless, B minus AC/DC in 17th/18th c costume. If they'd gotten closer to period syntax around "boon companion" and other anachronisms I would have been for 'em; as it was, they mainly served to remind me that the evening was a benefit for 826 NYC, McSweeney's writing tutor center. Glad they exist, wish they didn't draw money away from Teachers & Writers and other programs that have been doing the good work.

Mostly the comedy was awful, sub-Ross Brockley -- a guy with his fly open, the Daily Show's beloved woman beat reporter talking to a Tom Thumb-esque character in a lipstick tube (if you don't know by the end of the setup that the dude is going to get pervy about two minutes in, you've never owned a tv), esperanto jokes.

One saving grace on the talk side: John Hodgman was quite good fielding fake letters to the Daily Show -- if he had a talk show I'd watch it. In fact between that possibility and the news that Veronica Mars has been picked up through season three, I am once again considering getting cable.

I was there to hear Franklin and the Mountain Goats. They were fantastic, even up against the weirdly indifferent crowd, indifferent maybe because they led with what I think was new material? Don't have Get Lonely yet, have to fix that. The songs were so restrained I took out my earplugs, only to hear a huge roar of talk coming up from the floor. Like I say, weird.

They were good all the way through but it felt like the set came together the last half. John covered Franklin's "Houseguest," "Dance Music" sounded great, the crowd kept calling for "This Year" and then Superchunk's drummer joined them for it, and they closed with "Palmcorder Yajna," which is one of my favorite songs by anyone ever, "and the head / stones / climbed / up the hills." Franklin switched from keys to guitar around the cover. I have great respect for anyone who can make piano-like timbres sound at home at a rock show, and Franklin did so.

I was sorry to leave before Superchunk but the headcold and fatigue were climbing over me like a toddler boy so we took off right after the MtnGoats' set.

I like writing brief public descriptions of things I've seen. I hope you enjoy reading them. Sorry about the unclear pronoun references throughout -- I blame the headcold.

Jordan - #




I'm Jordan Davis.
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