Words and photos by JENZ
It is one year ago this month that my most ridiculous faux-rock star crush was born. The sequined jacket, the gloves, the Ray Bans -- Ricky Reed from wallpaper. was delivered into my life and thus sparked a deranged love affair to last for all eternity. If there is anything to thank Noise Pop for -- who thus far through the years has been responsible for delivering to me a marriage proposal, copious amounts of vodka, and some hugs -- this is also one reason. Get filled by the seed of Ricky Reed? Uh, yes please…
It was interesting to watch the end of wallpaper.’s set on Saturday. I’ve written and seen these guys more times than necessary and yet, it doesn’t get old. That’s not only praiseworthy, but curious. I think what’s most evolved about their live sets is that the preparation for it pays off, and the banter Reed evokes while swigging from a Trader Joe’s wine bottle makes an excellent pair. “This song is about humping, plain and simple,” slags Reed as he dons a fedora, grinding his hips so much I’m actually blushing.
After talking about how he wanted margaritas thrown his way and “If you snuck in, you’re gonna get tased before the night’s over,” their bit ended with “Evry Tm We Do It” and I could tell the crowd was just as amused as I was. 2008 was really good to wallpaper., and I’m eager to see what Oh-Shine brings to the Oakland duo.
I unfortunately discovered my battery was missing from my camera, so I bolted home before deciding to settle into Clues for the night. About six years ago, I accidentally bought a ticket to see The Unicorns; they were playing the same night as Leaves (don’t ask me how I confused the two) and my roommate and I stood bewildered at Café du Nord while these random Canadian guys were singing about people cutting their hair. Now ex-Unicorn Alden Penner was fronting this new outfit of old friends and a member of Arcade Fire, and you bet the buzz was wicked high. These dudes don’t even have a full-length out or even a MySpace page, let alone merch at the booth (I was told later they didn’t think it wasn’t a biggie).
It seemed it was all the more to prove as a result. I realized halfway into the show that I knew none of the song titles and nothing really about the history of the band, let alone what inspirations or difficulties there’ve been in playing together as well as who’ve they’ve ever toured with -- because they haven’t. This Rickshaw Stop show was their San Francisco debut, and probably their fourth or fifth gig ever, based on the anxiety that was trying to be suppressed. Penner started out the night with a quieter ballad-type, “I have wings/But they’re not meant to be seen” striking me as both Hallmark-y but yet honest. And as the show evolved to members switching instruments periodically (it was like band musical chairs) and covering themselves in grandma blankets to jump into the crowd with, I have to say I ended up completely adoring what the five-piece are trying to accomplish: solid indie rock coupled with some trumpets and kitchen pot pounding. All good.
Somehow I made the switch to dance mode and popped over to Flosstradamus at Mezzanine, who had just flown in from Florida and came straight over to the venue from the airport. The guys laid out their DJ weaponry, which consisted of a laptop and some hang signals, to deliver beats for the crowd to dance to. Truthfully, I still don’t understand completely the idea of touring DJs; paying money for a show where you don’t actually witness any live talent being completed is a little mind-jarring. I do bow down to the live-mixing element, where the Chicago duo were able to “read the flow of the room” and then promptly lay on the next track for bodies to move to. After all, Jay-Z’s “Big Pimpin’” and Daft Punk’s “One More Time” are always songs that made me wanna booty dance. Or something.
It was getting late; I could feel my feet begin to give way and a pile of laundry was ready to greet me upon my arrival to home. Somehow, I knew I’d need all the energy possible for the closing night party the next day, and impressively, I ended up being right on the money…