Friday, August 5
The Butchers with Idiot Glee
Al’s Bar; 601 N. Limestone. 10 P.M.
So I went to the Steely Dan show up in Cincinnati this past week, and on the drive up 75 I was almost frantic with excitement about it, because while I fell in love with the music years ago I’d never managed to catch them live, until now.
I’d taken along Ron, my pal who listens exclusively to prog, metal, and prog-metal, and who hadn’t yet awakened to the Dan’s genius: the jazz chords; the virtuosic soloing; the jaded, biting lyrics; the pristine, precise sound production. Maybe, I thought, seeing the band live would flip the switch, so to speak, and he’d come to love the band too. We all evangelize for our favorites, don’t we?
The PNC Pavilion was of course unbearably hot, but we settled into our seats and dug into the opening act, the magnificent Deep Blue Organ Trio, and then stayed in our seats during the changeover, as it felt too hot to try and move about. As we sat, we noticed something that struck us as peculiar: the only members of the audience younger than Ron and myself—we’re both in our thirties—were children who’d obviously been dragged along to the show by their baby-boomer parents, who’d listened to the Dan in their twenties, way back in the band’s 1970s heyday.
This meant two things: first, Ron and I realized that some ninety percent of the audience was both fatter and grayer than we were, and we took comfort in that. However, we also discovered that we were a lot closer in age to all these…these…old people, than we were to the bored-looking kids they’d brought with them.
The sensation was unpleasant. I was suddenly gripped by the urge to jump up on my seat and holler, “I’m not like you! I’m here for the music, not the nostalgia! I don’t want to hear the hits—I WANT THE DEEP CUTS!” Then, making my way up the aisle, still screaming, “I’M NOT OLD AND FAT AND GRAY LIKE YOU! I’M STILL YOUNG…ISH! I’M STILL VIABLE, POTENT, VIRILE!” On the concourse now, pointing and shouting: “YOU, MADAM. YES, YOU! I DON’T WANT TO HAVE SEX WITH YOU, BECAUSE YOU’RE OLD! NO, I WANT TO HAVE SEX WITH YOUR DAUGHTER, WHO APPEARS TO BE IN HER LATE TEENS! BECAUSE SHE’S THE APPROPRIATE CONJUGAL PARTNER FOR A MAN SUCH AS MYSELF, AT MY STAGE IN LIFE’S JOURNEY! NOT SHRIVELED OLD POST-MENOPAUSAL YOU, MADAM! NOW COME HERE, DAUGHTER, AND I’LL SHOW YOU WHAT ‘HEY 19’ IS ALL ABOUT!”
Probably for the best, I did and said none of that, but instead sat and sweltered, and tried to suck in my stomach. Steely Dan proceeded to play a set chock full of the greatest hits; imagine 5,000 sweaty AARP members singing and swaying along to “My Old School” and you’ve got a sense of the concert experience. But the show was good; it was fine. They played “Peg.” I was content.
There’s a lesson here, one that I feel I’m learning against my will: we are not young forever, and as we age, it becomes harder to keep current. Steely Dan is a band enjoyed by the previous generation…a generation to which…to which…to which I now seem to belong.
I have one foot in the grave.
Which brings us to The Butchers and Idiot Glee at Al’s. These bands do not sound like Steely Dan. In fact, I don’t even understand what I’m hearing, when I listen to them. They belong to the young generation, a generation whose membership is closed to people my age. I suppose I could try and sneak in—maybe drop a few pounds, apply some Just For Men—but that would just be creepy. Nobody’s daughter wants to have sex with me. Only the moms. Only the moms.
So I can’t tell you anything useful or substantial about The Butchers or Idiot Glee. They play some kind of crazy new music, and young people seem to like them a lot. The Butchers are also celebrating the release of a new album, or whatever the kids call albums these days, and it’s probably really innovative and subversive and things like that, so if you’re a young, hip…uh, cool dude…or, uh, cool girl…or…young woman, then, you know, you probably want to go, right? Because that’s who goes to shows like these, right? Other young people who are hip and, uh, cool. So…yeah. I guess if you’re young and cool, you go to this show. Have fun. I’ll be home listening to “Deacon Blues” and crying into my Ensure.
Wednesday, July 27
Handsome and Gretyl
Natasha’s; 112 Esplanade. 9 P.M.
Groovy folk-pop from Nashville.
Thursday, July 28
Davy Jay Sparrow
Green Lantern; 497 W. Third. 9 P.M.
Old-timey county & western from Mars.
Thursday, August 4
Natasha’s; 112 Esplanade. 8 P.M.
Southern-tinged jam rock from Virginia.
Saturday, August 6
Cosmic Charlie’s; 388 Woodland. 9 P.M.
Hard rock from 1989.