Here’s the thing, though. The kid called Randolph Chabot Jr. brings the goods. I figured that the critical mass of online scribes would have rode the been-there-done-that-I’ll see-him-next-week logic and head straight for the heart of cool with Terrible Twos at Small’s. I was not wrong. See, I’m a dad who has to get up at 6:30 and go to shit in the evening and then try to see if my boss is online at night and make sure that I acknowledge that so as to assure them that I, too, never leave my laptop. It’s just the way it is, people. Don’t go toward the light, Carol Ann!
Anyhoo, that leaves me precious few opportunities to check out Deastro’s magic (even though he does play, like, 8 times a month). And, as rumor has it, there were "label people" there tonight (how very one Tree Hill!) So there you have it, my decision was made. We rolled up to Painted Lady, negotiated past a handful of zaftig dudes in the narrow one-way alley marked “Hippies Enter Here” and made entrance into one of Detroit’s holy punk sites.
Here’s the thing: the joint, while not packed, was admirably stocked with the most diverse crowd I’ve ever seen at the Blowout. Let’s face it, the Blowout’s only slightly more integrated than the rest of the city. But the proportions -- Black dudes to white dudes, chicks to dudes, all-ages kids and crusty oldies, hipsters to rubberneckers, drunks to lucids, dancers to chin-scratchers, rock to rhythm, chaos to order, sweat to circuitry – where god damned inspirational. And they were all there to collectively will Chabot to further awesomeness. People were jumping on stage and firing off camera flashes to augment the light show, the Goths looked twice when the Red Wings fans started going apeshit. Everyone coveted Chabot’s pom-pon sweatshirt. The beats came and went. Rhythms failed and were recovered. Members of Zoos of Berlin were awesomely nonplussed. Chabot came into the audience to dance his crazy arm-swinging techno-meets-Andrew WK jig. When he accompanied his prerecorded jams live on drums and vocals, it was visceral. When he triggered samples and beats and sounds live, it was danceable and generally hypnotic. But it wasn’t perfect. And that’s what’s so great. And everyone seemed to get that. Chabot live is a very different beast from Chabot on record.
On record he’s smooth, controlled, perfect. Live? Can’t slow that train down no matter where it’s headed. It feels like stories I’ve heard about the early days of techno from the Belleville Three talking about all the black kids rocking out to “Rock Lobster.” It felt like The Electrifying Mojo on too much coffee.
It was not a mistake to skip Terrible Twos (even though not one, not two, but three people told me on the way in to Small’s afterward “whoah. You missed the show, man!” “they were awesome” or other such and such. Well god for them. That’s super. “Deastro was rad, too!” I offered. But they had already moved onto the next de rigeur spot which was probably the Hentchmen. I love the Hentchmen. They know this in ways that a blog cannot convey. But I wasn’t in a Hentch place, oddly.
Nope. My night was winding down with City Chicken Orchestra. The CCO is the backing band behind Dan DiMaggio. Bartender. Raconteur. It’s an orchestra because he has a music stand. So there. DiMaggio everything Henry Rollins wishes he could be and perhaps our own version of John Cooper Clarke (score! Obscure reference!).
How DiMaggio’s trenchant brand of hyper-urban, post-sturm und drang deconstructionist recidivist poliemics couched in neo-branded ur-irony passed muster of the crypto-fascist collective that books the Blowout is beyond me! Just beyond! But I’m demanding a re-count!
OK, wait. That’s just a fancy pants way of commenting on one of his stories about a certainly weekly whose name rhymes with “shmetro flimes”. The story was called “Weekly” (though, because he said it and I didn’t read it printed, it could have been “weakly” is suppose). It took aim at the complacency and predictability and general Bourgie-artsy foibles of your favorite free alternative newsweeklies. And it was sharp, blunt, funny, obscure, bitter and utterly human. Basically what I would like to think an educated response to just about any issue of Metro Times would be. And I guess it’s better than being reduced to sub J-school anecdotal ad-buffer copy like other weeklies, but whatevs. People in glass houses and all that
DiMaggio’s first story was about a vain, self-obsessed so-and-so who worked his own ass with sandpaper and oil till it irresistibly held his own gaze – he was gonna get a band together. There was stinging reference, sharp observation and forceful, bitchy delivery. And thankfully, the refrain of “I’m gonna get a baand togethuhrrr” as delivered by DiMaggio pushed Toto out of my cranium for a minute or three. Thanks, Dan. He was ably backed by a keyboardist, drummer and bass-guitarist (right?) who ably held down the connective atmosphere. The band was tastefully consrained. It neither as kitschy as the one backing Mike Myers in So I Married an Axe Murderer nor the one backing Jim Morrison on numerous Doors records. At one point DiMaggio was pointing around the room, “you’re an artist. And you’re an artist and urine artist and urine artist
.” Call me Andres Serrano and kick me in the crotch, but it’s what I heard.
I need to say that I continued the practice of pointing the nose of my car slightly out of the parking spot and it worked like a fucking houseafire. I noticed at least three other people and their bro-hams jerking back and forth trying to get out of spots. Me? I just gunned it and let provenance and front wheel drive take their course!
I missed Zoos of Berlin, so that totally sucks.
But what the fuck was up at Caniff east of Campau at the liquor store? I hightailed it south, hit Holbrook and made sure to give the American Axle strikers huddling outside their garbage can fires a good honking. In case you’re in need of a reminder, make sure to go down Holbrook and witness the union stalwarts in the fucking cold at 2:30 a.m.: Yes, music festivals are frivolous. But aren’t they great!