September 25th, 2002


I actually went to see a band last night

I went to see Sleater-Kinney last night at the Fillmore. Half the reason I went, though, was to see The Quails who opened the show. god I love that band. A lot of bands can look small on a big stage like that, but The Quails rose to the occasion. jactitation said they reminded her of Gang of Four back in the day. I said they were better dressed. We then argued about whether or not Go4 wore shoulder padded shirts back in the early ‘80s. And I just now realized that I wasn’t thinking of Go4 at all, I was thinking of Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark in the "Urgh! a Music War" movie. There’s no excuse for that really. I guess the memory’s the first thing to go.

If you are reading this in another city be sure and get there early if The Quails are opening. They’re kinda early ‘80s post punk, political, new wave with (sometimes) riot grrrl influenced vocals. They’re one of the best bands SF has to offer along with Erase Errata and, of course, Feelings on a Grid. They’re super sweet folks too. I wonder if they’ll play our basement?

The most amusing part of their set was when they started talking about the impending war with Iraq and mentioned that The Dicks "No Fuckin’ War!" was their song of the tour and that they were playing it in the van every day. Of course, when they asked if anyone knew it, me and about one other person raised their hands. Then they asked if anyone in the audience was over 25. I don’t know Quails, I think that’s an over-30 reference.

Shannon Wright was next and managed to suck all the energy out of the auditorium in about two chords. Ugh. I thought punk was supposed to put an end to self-indulgent crap like this.

Sleater-Kinney I think I’ve seen too many times. I mean, they’re great. They rock out. They still need a bass player but that’s an Olympia thing I guess.

They weren’t exactly disappointing, though I’ll admit I haven’t bought the last couple of albums so I didn’t know most of the first 10 songs or so. Maybe it was me, but they didn’t really seem to get going until almost encore time. The first encore was really inspired though. An S-K version of "My Own Private Idaho" accompanied by a person go-go dancing in a full bear suit who, seemingly, got on stage just to give some kind of Bear-O-Gram "Happy Birthday" greeting to the drummer. They didn’t play my favorite song but I guess I’ll forgive them. I still think they’re one of the best bands around. fluxions saw all three SF shows on this tour, so maybe she should rank them.

The crowd was really strange. I actually expected a lot more teens and dykes, the two biggest groups represented the last time I saw them. Instead it was a lot of 20-30 year olds dressed boringly.* Not yuppie enough to be annoying, not Summer Punk enough to be amusing, just, you know, a whole huge club full of people dressed slightly badly. There was no fashion innovation or daring in the whole room. Now, those of you who know me know that I’m not one to push fashion boundaries, but I like to think that I go to shows with the people who do.

I think the weirdest thing about this show was that no one in the audience was yelling out the titles of their favorite songs. Especially since more than half the set was made up of relatively new ones. I heard two girls yell out "GOOD THINGS!" in unison right before the last song of the night, but that was it. Strange.

*It wasn't as bad as the fictionalized version of MC Hammer's rise to and fall from stardom which I saw on cable the other day. On the way up, Hammer is shown conquering local Oakland dance clubs and urban hip hop tours with his energy and scripted dance moves. His fall back down to earth is symbolized unsubtley when Hammer'shown singing and dancing his heart out during the "Too Legit to Quit" tour. Then the camera pans back from the stage to see only an audience full of white people dancing awkwardly in stark contrast to his previous fans.

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    The Quails - "Atmosphere"
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