Mindless Self Indulgence @ The Wiltern, Los Angeles, 5/24/2008

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Mag 25 2008, 22:32

Sat 24 May – Mindless Self Indulgence, The Birthday Massacre, London After Midnight

Oh, that was a show. That was a show. I will have to go see them again. As often as possible. And I hate live music, as a rule.

One of my reasons for that dislike is, unfortunately, manifesting this morning in continued hearing loss. I hope to god it's temporary; I knew I should have kept the earplugs in for MSI's set too, but it was muffling the music, and that was unacceptable. I wonder if the same person was doing sound for the whole tour, actually, because the volume on the vocals needed to be relatively higher for both The Birthday Massacre and Mindless Self Indulgence's sets. The overall volume, though, I could really have done without.

I could also have done without the opening act, London After Midnight. Not my sort of music, though not entirely objectionable - tall, thin, gothic guitarists with long, dyed hair, doing dark gothic rock, whatever, if I wanted that I'd listen to Siouxsie Sioux instead. I try to go into all new music with a will to like it, but I was mostly indifferent until they chose to do a video montage in the background for one of their songs that featured clips from porn and horror movies meshing women and sex and violence. And then I began to actively dislike them. They were also the only all-male band, and I can't help but think the two things are related.

The Birthday Massacre were charming. The lead singer was wearing a schoolgirl outfit and ponytails, really playing the kawaii/hardcore dissonance, and doing it well. And their keyboard/keytar player was effing hilarious, rocking out in this dorktastic knock-kneed parody of rock-star cool. I loved him a lot. I think that if you play the keytar you pretty much have to have a sense of humor, and his posing was the best part of their show, closely followed by the lead singer's energy. Their songs all sounded fairly similar, but good similar; I may not buy an album, but I'll certainly pick up a few songs.

And MSI. Oh, I have hearts in my eyes. Little Jimmy is such an excellent performer! The posing and the smack talk between songs and the attitude and the dancing, all deeply, deeply entertaining. He chugged a bottle of Robitussin in the middle, right before Prescription, which was a little odd - dextromethorphan is not exactly what I'd want in my system if I were trying to do a high-energy stage show - but whatever. And it was a super high-energy show. Little Jimmy was all over the stage, constantly in motion. I couldn't take my eyes off him; he's magnetic. I mean, I did see Steve, Righ? and spend several minutes trying to discern if he was really playing his guitar or just shambling around stage carrying it, and Lyn-Z is deeply bendy and hot, and Kitty is awesome and competent and delightful on drums. But Jimmy. I mean, he writes and sings all the music. The other band members don't even play on most of the studio recordings; they're for the live show. And he's very clearly the heart of the live show as well.

He bitched at the audience and said rude things to them, and then he held out the microphone and had the audience call them names right back. He spat at the crowd and then invited some of them up on stage to sing. He did silly dances and struck poses and took off his clothes to the waist and made audience members dress him (vest, pink bra, and fluffy tutu-esque skirt). It's clear that he's up there using the audience to entertain himself almost as much as he's up there to entertain them. He also used the audience to save his voice; MSI fans tend to know all the lyrics and sing along, and he skipped some of the choruses and falsetto bits and just conducted the pit instead. I can't remember what the back of his tux said - *checks youtube* - oh, "No One Is Safe" but the tails and the conducting lent a bizarre orchestral feel to some moments. He had the crowd pass him back to a platform in the pit to do I Hate Jimmy Page, which was awesome even though I couldn't see most of it. I did see the crowd around him start to pull his pants off until he slapped their hands away, told them to behave, and groused about "little girls getting into his underwear." Suuuure, Jimmy. As far as anyone in the audience could tell, you weren't wearing underwear.

No encore, much to my woe, and they didn't play many of my favorite songs. Oh, well. I guess I will just have to go see them again...if I ever get my hearing back, that is. Next time, the earplugs or an outdoor venue, by God.

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