I never wanted to believe it, but Ballard, my friends, may now be just as full of bags of the french word for shower as Fremont has been for a long time. Well maybe they’re not that bad, but they’re sure uninteresting. I guess I fit in with my Glasgow Rangers soccer (football!) top and relatively plain lower half. It’s always a bit dicey to wear international jerseys because someone always recognizes them and says “are you from (insert country here)?” The best is when I wear my Nigeria jersey. Anyhow, the Tractor Tavern has never really been my scene in the first place, I guess. Of the two venues on that street (Ballard ave? I don’t remember.), I’ve always preferred The Sunset by far. But tonight, I put my prejudices aside and went to the show in the hopes of greatness. I wasn’t let down.
There are several amazing singers in this town and Jen Wood is definitely on that short list. It turns out that Miss Wood is exactly my age, though she is infinitely more talented. While we were both in high school she was ruling the world with amazing music while I was playing pop-punk. Well, the part of her set I caught this evening was great. Unfortunately, I missed the first half while at a party for a teacher-friend leaving for mexico and got caught up in socializing for the first time in my life. I’m getting pretty good at it, actually. But anyhow, Jen Wood is awesome. Let’s call her set tonight “story time with Jen Wood.” During story time with Jen Wood, we got to learn what each song was about before she actually played it. The intros were a bit rambling, but sort of endearing at the same time. She had some difficulty finding the right notes on the guitar, but in the end, it didn’t really matter. Because her vocals and lyrics will break your heart even if it’s not already smashed up like this one is. Check this out: “this song is just for you and no one in this room. i hope you can hear me…” now imagine it sung with apparently real sincerity. think jeremy enigk as a much cuter girl. super awesome. i might have to buy a bumbershoot ticket to catch her and damien jurado. See you again, Miss Wood.
Tim Fite is an experience not to be missed. My housemate had me checking out Mr. Fite’s music about a month ago, but I had forgotten all about it until I mentioned that he was playing and my housemate was angry that he was going camping instead. Sorry Shane, but you missed out. Tim Fite and Dr. Leisure a.k.a. Fisticuffs are crazy geniuses. When I say that the show is an experience, I truly mean it. Just go on your favorite internet video service and check out some of it. Alternately, if you hate internet video and/or are deaf and blind as of today, imagine the tradition of The Dead Milkmen. As it passed by They Might Be Giants, it picked up some hip hop flavor along the way. Then, picture that this sort of hip-hop They Might Be Giants is being presented to you by a Southern Snake Oil Salesman, backed up by insanely hilarious video bits and a lanky dude who wants to be called Fisticuffs. Only such a band can make the crowd at the tractor sing the “head, shoulders, knees and toes” song that everyone knows from grade school. Or at the very least, just learned tonight from “The Gentleman with Itchy Legs.” Folks, I am not kidding, this show is amazing. However, like a snake oil salesman, the magic just doesn’t translate to recorded material. Video doesn’t even really do it justice. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I think Mr. Fite has a secret political agenda he is secretly selling as hilarious songs and shows. Many times, he slyly addresses such topics as commercialism (wal-mart) and poverty. The political comments are carefully hidden in hip-hop parody and wild physical humor, but I think they’re there. I might just have to go to another Tim Fite show to find out. Or at least go so I can laugh extraordinarily hard. These types of parties are just not to be missed.
The Watson Twins
To sum up an eclectic evening, The Watson Twins + three dudes played. Apparently the twins have moved to L.A. from Louisville, Kentucky. That explains a lot. I don’t know if you can tell from reading this site or if you have even read this site, but I hold L.A. in the highest contempt. Maybe it’s just me. At any rate, The Watson Twins sound like they’re the hosts of an NPR show (maybe The Delicious Dish?). Imagine if two hosts of an NPR show got together and played the kind of country your mom likes or the kind of “adult contemporary” soft rock that every mom likes (maybe Fleetwood Mac? I don’t know, I don’t listen to that stuff.) and you have yourself a set of Watson Twins. I really wanted to stick around to find out if it got any better after the first 5 songs, but I couldn’t do it. Not after the heartbreaking sincerity of Jen Wood or the secretly political, blatantly hilarious Tim Fite (and Dr. Leisure a.k.a. Fisticuffs). The Watson Twins were sort of like the main actor in a movie where the supporting actors rule super hard (Batman: The Dark Knight, for example). They might be good, but the other acts were ridiculously good, so they seem lame in comparison.
Well, it looks like my next review will be a long time from now. I know, you don’t care. Well, I’ve seen three shows in three days and I need a break. Also, I had planned on seeing Rocky Votolato and Owen at Neumo’s next Friday, but on a whim this afternoon I signed up to co-drive for a novice rally driver in Rally West Virginia next weekend. If all goes well, I’ll be back in action for the South Lake Union Block Party (that’s SLUB-P. maybe I’ll ride the SLUT there.). I’m sure I’ll write about some insignificant event in the meantime. See you then!
** Old Wordpress comments **
July 29, 2008 at 9:37 am
my illustrious housemate shane has informed my that mr. fite’s most influential record is, in fact, highly political. his most recent work for his record label had to be toned down so it would sell, according to my housemate.
he also told me about this iphone app that is a version of this role-playing game i played the crap out of on sega cd. i thought it was Phantasy Star, but it turns out it was Vay. my incorrectitude is now on display for the whole world to see. in other words, shane is smarter than me.