Monday, November 28, 2005

i was swimming in the caribbean

Yeah, so I was gonna make a more detailed post concerning the Dandys show, but somehow it ended up being very truncated. Now, I shall provide you with some of the details.

Some band, presumably Shit Cereal was opening, but we didn't pay them that much attention. We arrived when they had just a couple of songs left, anyway.

For those of you who haven't been to the Cradle in a while, the best thing happened to it. No... Not air conditioning. They made it non-smoking. Going back about four years or so, bands started to request it for one reason or another. Mainly due to band members being pregnant. The first time I ever saw it "non-smoking by request of the artist" was Cibo Matto. Soon, other bands started to follow suit by requesting it. I have no idea when the change to full time non-smoking happened, but it's been great. Granted, I don't get to shows nearly as often as I used to when I was in my twenties, but I used to hate coming home and having to wash my clothes immediately because of the smoke. And since there isn't smoking, you see pregnant ladies in the crowd. I saw at least three last night. I thought that was pretty cool.

One thing that has not changed is the crowds. By that, I don't mean that anyone is ill-behaved or anything like that. It's just that when you go to rock shows at the Cradle, it's always the same thing. It could be Elliot Smith or it could be Superchunk, and it's always a crowd of the most unemotional people in the world. Nobody moves, nobody smiles. Everyone assumes the "Chapel Hill Crowd" stance: arms folded across chest, staring straight ahead. People bob their heads slightly, or if they're feeling especially crazy, they might lip-synch along with the song, but that's about as much reaction they're gonna give. But everyone in the audience has that ONE SONG that they'll respond to. They'll jump a little bit, smile a little bit and scream like crazy when the first chords of the song ring out. Believe it or not, that song in the case of the Dandys wasn't "Not if You Were the Last Junky on Earth". It wasn't even "The Last High" (which is what I secretly suspected it would be). It was that "Bohemian Like You" song. People went slightly nuts for that, and then they resumed the Chapel Hill crowd thing.

I'm not exaggerating this, and I'm not making it up. And yes, it is a thing that happens just in Chapel Hill. I've heard lots of bands bitch about it. For years it's been that way.

When they have hip-hop shows there, forget all that. I think those crowds tend to be a little more into it.

Although I liked the show, I was disappointed at the brevity of it. It seemed like they played for just barely an hour and fifteen minutes. Something like that anyway. No encores. I think Courtney "I think I am god" Taylor Taylor (I have no idea where the second Taylor came from) was in a real hurry to smoke reefer with college kids.
Also, in a bit of a role reversals, all the members of the Dandys EXCEPT Zia took their shirt off. I was really hoping to see boobs, but I guess I can go to the Southern Culture on the Skids show. There'll be all kinds of boobs at that show. And chicken.

I didn't mean to suggest that Chapel Hill crowds suck. I only meant to suggest that they are and always have been very unenthusiastic.


Reid said...

Actually, that's a perfect description of a lot of the DC crowds as well. I think it's just a indie crowd thing...they go to the shows to watch and listen, not to dance or anything. It's a music geek thing.

One of the things that was interesting to me when I lived in Chapel Hill is that it seemed as though people went out to shows just to check it out, instead of actually going to see one specific band. So maybe that feeds more into the "standing and staring" attitude.

I have noticed that things are changing around DC, though. Bands are getting into a little more and the crowds are, too. Maybe it'll change a little more in Chapel Hill as well.

Bill Purdy said...

Gotta stick with Reid on this one. I've flown to Chicago for a half dozen "indie band" shows (Flaming Lips, Black Keys, Devo [yes, Devo, got a problem with that?], Kraftwerk, Slint, a couple I'm not remembering right now) over the past couple years, and with the notable exception of a Flaming Lips New Years' Eve show at the Metro (which was exceptional in so many ways), the crowds were quite similar to the one you describe in Chapel Hill: arms crossed, head bobbing slightly, serious facial expression, etc. Same thing the last two years at Coachella, but add "sweating profusely" to the description. Hell, that'd accurately describe me at just about any show these days, but I figure I get a pass because I've been going to these kinds of shows so long I'm jaded. Plus, I'm old and I'm a parent.

Speaking of which... I brought my 8.75 months pregnant wife to Cat's Cradle last year for the Death Cab show. I was eternally grateful (as was she) for their smoking policy, but even more so for the availability of couches in the back by the bar. She had a hell of a good time at the show, but wouldn't have been able to handle smooshing herself (and our kid) into that crowd, no matter how immobile they were.

Thanks for the review. Wish I'd've been able to go, even if Zia didn't see fit to take her shirt off.