Tuesday, October 12, 2010

In the Garage

Could it have been true?
My friend, Mike, sent me a link. I was incredibly stoked.
Bomb the Music Industry! was planning on playing the Blue Album and Pinkerton, by Weezer, in their entirety at a house show.
I was hurt when I found out I did not make the list for the first show on Saturday, October 9th, but I found bliss when I heard I made the list for the 10th. Sure, I would have to leave right from my cousin's wedding, but for such an event, it had to be worth the energy.

I remember the first time I was exposed to Weezer. I was in fourth grade and in one of our music classes (more like music appreciation), some of the fifth graders had mentioned this song, Buddy Holly, that they heard on the radio. They got the tape and played it for us in class.
I remember loving that song, absolutely loving every last note. As I began to understand the lyrics, I found a kindred spirit in the character of the song- I wanted that life, the sappy life epitomized by the video, taking place in "Happy Days." That video alone would have gotten me to fall head over heels for the song. So many days after school were spent watching the trials and tribulations of Richie and Fonzie on my babysitter's television, that the visual version of the song struck a chord.

Fast forward to high school tech crew: the Blue Album was a constant soundtrack to our life in the crew room. I became enamored with the rest of the Blue Album, using Napster to acquire my favorite tracks. I am not sure when I actually bought the album, but I know I did. At some point during this era, during my wading into the shallow end of punk rock, I heard about the elusive Pinkerton. It may have been years later, but walking around 7th Avenue in Park Slope, I stopped into my favorite music store and found it- a copy of Pinkerton. I snatched it up, and listened to it over and over. It was not until years later that I really grasped the album- that it clicked with me. It still pains me that I do not have my original copy, thanks to a careless UPS delivery man who lost all my CDs in my move to Buffalo.

I drifted away from Weezer. Mediocre releases followed by ones that just did not click with me made me shirk the band. I moved all but these two albums off my hard drive. I would spin them occasionally, letting those memories of my youth waft through my ears. By now, I was doing laps in the punk rock pool- there was so much music out there, I barely had time to revisit those stepping stones. But BTMI!'s announcement brought all these memories rushing back.

It was a two hour drive back from the wedding to my parent's house in Brooklyn with my sister in the back seat and her boyfriend riding shotgun. Two hours in traffic and sun glare. Two hours of trying to figure out the directions and mulling over whether or not I should go to the show or trudge back to my home to get some much needed shut eye. Needless to say, I made the right decision.

The drive there was easy, although I did breeze by the house a few times. I made my way in and waited patiently for my friends to arrive. I spoke with Jeff from BTMI! for a few minutes before meandering around the house, realizing that at one point I wanted to live in such a collective. Man, was I wrong.

A little after nine, they took the stage, under a kludge mock up of Weezer's classic flying W. From the raw explosion of "My Name is Jonas", the crowd erupted. Like any good show, there was a massive release of pent up stress and anger. Every participant expelled the anger from their body and was full of pure joy. For me, this concert was about experiencing those memories all over again- of feeling like an outsider, only I was finally doing it in a place where I was comfortable. I grabbed strangers and hugged them. I shouted the lyrics into their face.
"No One Else" was filled with so much fire and emotion. "The Wold Has Turned And Left Me Here," a song I identified with for so long, nearly brought me to tears. If I had a few more beers in me, it would have done just that.
And then came "Buddy Holly." It was bliss. Pure bliss.
BTMI! played them all, giving an absolutely truthful representation of the Blue Album. The angst and isolation was all there. But it wasn't directed at us. If anyone, it was directed at the world out there- in the cool Brooklyn night. Inside, we were the ones that belonged.

The crowd had thinned for the Pinkerton set, and I did not know all the lyrics, but I sang and danced and yelled all the same. Hearing it live gave me a whole new appreciation for the album. The pure rage of that album filtered through my head, and now I know why I should have been even more excited to find a copy, and am not even more distraught that I only have the digital essence. "Tired of Sex" kicked things off and the crowd, though diminished, never let up.

I am forever thankful I was able to make this show. Bomb the Music Industry! captured everything wonderful about those albums and gave it back to the world in the way they were meant to be heard, not in arenas.

Bomb the Music Industry! - Buddy Holly from If You Make It on Vimeo.

That's me, grinning like the happy kid I was, in the lower right hand corner.

Later dudes,

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