Tuesday, November 11, 2008

another concert in hell was craptastic

To truly enjoy the good, I'm convinced that one must also experience the bad. And so it goes, from the triumphant Dan Deacon show on Friday, I now write about the disappointing Conor Oberst show last night. Let me count the ways...

1) Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band are not Bright Eyes.

I know I should have realized this more clearly coming in, but need I remind you I'm a bit of an idiot? I don't know what I expected, but I certainly did not expect to see a Wilco cover band. OK, that's a bit harsh. While Oberst seemed to be impersonating Jeff Tweedy at times (and in hat), there's no impersonation in his voice. Oberst has one of the most unique voices I've ever heard. It's instantly recognizable whether he's surrounded by cellos and synthesizers or, uh, Wilco redux. In fact, the best parts of the show, in my obnoxious opinion, were when it was just Oberst and his guitar (i.e. "Milkthistle") or when the band wasn't in full alt-country rock mode (i.e. "Cape Canaveral"). Sorry, MVB, you're good, but I'm just not that in to you...

2) I'm no longer 19.

If it wasn't evident in my snippet on Oberst in yesterday's post, Oberst used to top my list of indie rock crushes. Well, I'm sad to say that proverbial ship has sailed. Back in the day (hmm...how many cliches can I type in a row?), Oberst was a brooding, shaggy-haired emo kid who sang about his mythical brother drowning in the bathtub. Here he is at my alma mater circa 1999 doing just that:

Today, Oberst no longer seems depressed. It's abominable, I know! Instead, he dances around on stage like he's having a good time. He smiles. And in place of any bathtub incidents, he sings about not dying in a hospital. Apparently, he's happy and that's just dandy for him, but what about me and my memories?! I don't get crushes on happy! Does he not owe me anything?! At least he still has shaggy hair. And that voice...

3) The crowd.

While the above two complaints stem from my own immaturity and inability to accept that a person can change, grow or otherwise develop artisticly in the span of 10 years, my last complaint is definitely not my own damn fault. Not to allude to my first concert in hell again, but for comparative purposes, I need to. That concert with its sucktastic crowd has nothing on the sh*t The Law and I endured last night.

a) The douche.

Of course, a loudmouthed DC douche showed up, but it was our luck that he stood right behind us. Then he said this to us mid-conversation with some other girl:

Douche: I suppose you two are here to see Conor, too.

Me: Uh...yeah.

Douche: I knew it! Every girl is!

Me: Well, you do know he's headlining, right? Aren't you here to see him, too?

Douche: Um. Yeah.

After that we turned around and he started chanting "Ben's Chili Bowl" for no reason. Not even joking.

b) Two sorority girls.

And speaking of food, some ignorant asshole Beta Kappa Gammas or whatever decided during a very quiet part of one of the few songs I truly enjoyed ("Cape Canaveral") that they'd chat about if they'd eaten a meal of food that day.

Gamma Lamda Alpha #1: Like, I haven't eaten alllllllll, like, day. Like, seriously.

Kappa Retard Dumbass # 2: OMG! Like, I totally haven't eaten, like, all day either! OMFG! We, like, should go get some food or something, right?

#1: Like, totally. But where? Like, what's around here and stuff?

#2: Like, IDK. Maybe like a sandwich or like a burritto. I, like, don't really know anything around here. Gaaaaaawd.

Seconds later I snapped, as any sane person would.

Me (whispering, as not to disturb others, although they were already disturbed): Excuse me, can you take this conversation elsewhere? It's hard to hear over your banter.

#2: WHAT? We're, like, talking.

Me: I realize that. That's the problem. There's a show going on here. No one cares where you're going to eat later. Please be quiet.

#1: Why don't you, like, just move forward! Gawd!

Let me just say here that this stupid bitch was lucky that Oberst's voice is so damn enthralling because at the exact moment I was contemplating actually punching this asshole in the face, he bellowed out something so wonderful sounding that I was compelled despite my will to turn my attention back to the stage. By the time I remembered these insolent brats needed to be taught a lesson, they had vanished. I guess they were smarter than I thought.

c) Ass crack.

Question: When did half-shirts come back in? Girl, pull your pants up! Those things are dangerously low!

4) My photos.

Unlike Dan Deacon's show, I was unable to get close enough to the stage to snap a decent photo, other than the one of some random girl's unfortunate low-riding jeans, so here's what I got. They're embarrassingly bad (although still not as embarrassing as those pants above), but so was my overall experience last night, so, I suppose, it's all serendipitous. It also means DC is back to normal!

After a hat swap with the keyboardist, even Oberst was driven to drink.


John Foster said...

I could have smelled this one coming...

By the way - that's a terrible shot of my ass. I SWEAR that shirt fit yesterday! Damn laundry...

Marissa said...

I know...my delusions always lead to no good.

Weird, I never pictured you with a blonde ponytail. Wig?

John Foster said...

Finely combed back hair.

Finely combed....

I am a natural blonde. (True story until puberty.)

jheisel said...

I can't really tell the difference between the Conor Oberst solo record and a Bright Eyes record for the most part (unless we're talking about this Conor Oberst solo record -- http://bolachasgratis.baywords.com/?p=460).

Also, was this show in a bar? If so, it should not piss you off that people are talking louder than the band. It should piss you off that the band is not playing loud enough to drown people out. Once at the Empty Bottle in Chicago, my friends and I got yelled at for being too loud when some quiet band was playing to three of their friends. Oh, once I got yelled at for being loud at Bourbon Street in Moscow, when it was empty. But that is Moscow.

Skywalker said...

Never been but will keep that in mind. Oh well, I went to 6th and I saturday nite - how are you supposed to get down in the synagogue?

Marissa said...

mr. foster--

Wow. Just wow.


No, 9:30 is strictly for music. Had they been whispering or in a different part of the venue I'd have had no problem. But this was fucking Conor Oberst. You just don't talk during that shit.

But for reals? You can't tell the difference between Bright Eyes and CO&TMVB? I think there are a couple of songs that sound alike, but the album as a whole is different. And the live show is ridiculously different.


Who was playing at the Synagogue?

Anonymous said...

I. fucking. hate. the. 930 club. What the hell is going on there?? It's horrid. I think the last time I went there and actually had fun was when I was, like, 16.

It sucks that all our music venues here in our nation's capital are fucking overrun with moronic douchebag assholes. I rarely go to any live music venue now because I'm just too old and crochety (at 28) to cope with that shite.

jheisel said...

To be fair, I probably only listened to the new record once before relegating it to the halls of iTunes shuffle mode. Then again, that's how I listened to the last Bright Eyes record too. So, from my memory, the Oberst solo record is continuing in the kind of folksy alt-country style I seem to recall the last 1-2 Bright Eyes records being. As opposed to the screechy emo-folk of the first couple records. So yeah, it just seemed logical, and I couldn't understand why he didn't release the record as Bright Eyes. (I understand it was because Mike Mogis was not involved but whatever).

Chris said...

If you want to enjoy a show, stop going to the 9:30 club. For some reason that place attracts everyone in D.C. who doesn't like music.

Black Cat, RnR, DC9, Velvet. I've always had much better times at those places.

Marissa said...


No! Don't give up! Keep going if not to yell at these assholes. It's quite satisfying because most of them are spoiled kids with no concept of how their action affect others and since DC is top-notch at passive-aggressiveness, it shocks them if you simply ask them to shut the fuck up.

And I don't know. I really like the layout of the 9:30, but you're right about the general crowds...I've yet to come across a decent one at that place.


Yeah, I guess after this album he's going back to Saddle Creek. I don't quite understand the switch for this album, which, you're right, is a bit like new-school Bright Eyes. But there's something even more twangy about it, in my opinion. Maybe Mike Mogis isn't into it? Who knows...I will never understand the sordid details of the music business, nor do I really want to...


I tend to agree with you. I've had really good experiences elsewhere, especially RnR. It's sad because the 9:30 could be a really sweet venue...if no one shows up. Ha!

Anonymous said...

I guess you're right... but I dunno. My apathy has reached an epic level, and now I go to bed at like 8:30 anyway. I have been known to enjoy myself at the Black Cat or DC9, but not in years!

Marissa: be my real life friend and I will go to shows with you. E-STALKER ALERT!

John Foster said...

Real life friends are SOOOO over rated.

Marissa said...


Uh-oh. Well, I'll be at the Black Cat tonight, so if you feel like stalking, it would only flatter me. But I will tell you, I may or may not have brass knuckles on my person, you know, just in case.


I know! It's like we're e-besties, but in real life we're just mere acquaintances. It's like you're embarrassed to be seen with me. WHY!? WHY!?!?!?!

Anonymous said...

given your recent update, I wish I *had* stalked you last night. Glad to know there's hope.