Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's BĂȘte Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Monday, May 03, 2004


Last night when I wrote about big shows I've seen in the last decade or so, I forgot to mention the most recent, REM, whom my beloved spouse and I saw together last Labor Day, our first night out together since the birth of the baby dude. And it was a lovely summer evening outdoor stadium concert of all those lively melodic songs, and Michael Stipe so cute & sweet an energetic showman frontman. They played some new songs too, one of which I later heard on the radio and which I've read is supposed to be a critical comment on the Bush administration but I can never understand the words, being myself a fogey.

Anyway, Diary, tonight I went to a Rock-and-Rollers for Kerry event at a downtown club and saw the Minus 5, a local band fronted by one of the members of REM's touring band, a guy named Scott McCaughey who also is the leader of the Young Fresh Fellows, who aren't so young any more, being most of them older than me. (Or at least some of them.) I'd seen the Minus 5 once before and didn't understand why they were thrashing through a serious heartfelt Neil Young song I like ("Tonight's the Night"), seemingly half-sarcastically. So I was skeptical.

Well, tonight, Diary, they ROCKED. A different lineup, with an acquaintance of mine, a nice guy and fine musician named John Ramberg, playing lead guitar and singing fine harmony. The drummer was some white-haired dude who hit the skins hard and wittily and joyfully and melodically -- one of the best drummers I've ever heard. The bass player I recognized, Peter Buck of REM, laying down a fine groove like the accomplished and serious journeyman rocker-become-rock-star he is, playing fine in a 4/5ths empty medium small club. (Ah, but it would have been only half empty if they hadn't started an hour later than advertised, as it's a Monday night & I'm not the only one getting older around here.)

I asked my friend Jake London -- musician, Turtletop correspondent, and man about town -- who the drummer was, 90% sure that he'd know, because he knows 'em almost all. I forget the name now, but he's REM's touring drummer since the original drummer retired (actually the second guy REM hired, the first one not having worked out), and he used to play in the industrial band Ministry. Mr. Drummer, I would take off my hat if I were wearing one.

I LOVED being hit with the LOUD small club ROCK SOUND. Very physical thing. Chirpy melodic rock songs written by Scott M, interspersed with joyous LOUD improvised rock NOISE. Bobbing up & down happily, happy to be at a Rockers for Kerry event, until suddenly the late hour & the LOUD got to me and I left before it was over, partly because I wanted to tell you, dear Diary, all about it before I now go too tired to bed. Good night, and good rockin'.

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