Holy F**k and Nice Nice at Mad Planet
It’s pretty rare these days to find me going to a show knowing next to nothing about any of the bands playing. Usually it takes a pretty strong recommendation from a friend whose taste I trust. See, like most aging music fans, I find myself feeling jaded, less interested in bands I don’t already know, and far harder to impress. It’s a character flaw, sure—so maybe it was in the spirit of fixing that particular flaw that I went to Wednesday’s Holy Fuck/Nice Nice show at Mad Planet. Well, and the fact I won free tickets.
I did the usual preliminary research, listening to tracks on MySpace, reading a couple reviews. I figured I shouldn’t go in completely blind, that I should know at least something about the bands other than that they were both vying for the win in the stupid band name semi-finals. Nice Nice had potential and made perfect background music while I emailed venues and promoters, trying to book my own band’s summer tour. Then it was on to Holy Fuck (the winners in the aforementioned competition, by the way). Pitchfork darlings, really dancey and fun, very much not my thing, but I adhered to my new found attitude: just because I wouldn’t listen to the record doesn’t mean the band won’t be killer live.
Still, I was hard to rouse, and had to talk myself out of staying in and napping instead of walking the two blocks to Mad Planet. In fact, if I hadn’t promised a friend my extra ticket, I probably would have done just that. We got there early and caught the tail end of Nice Nice’s soundcheck. I drooled over their gear for a bit—an assortment of weird, obscure and/or homemade effects and instruments (was that a thumb piano attached to a guitar pickup??)—and then sat around for an hour until the show finally started.
Tripping balls on a tropical island. Drugged, trying to escape the underwater lair of some insidious evil genius bent on … what? Confusing the shit outta you. Making you realize that everything is absurd and nothing means anything.
Maybe not the most profound observations, but accurate, anyway.
It goes without saying that they were a hard act to follow, and I really tried to like Holy Fuck, really, but they just weren’t doing it for me. They sounded great, tone out the ass, and their collection of obscure and weird gear was even more impressive than Nice Nice’s. But the songs themselves left me cold. It could be that I just hate fun (a distinct possibility), but it was hard to feel like they were anything but a fairly superficial dance band. It was cool that they were making quality electronic music with mostly analog sources, and they were fun to watch, but they just didn’t move me. Maybe it was too far past my bedtime, or maybe I’d felt differently had I someone to dance with, but I ended up leaving after just a few songs, and thus ended my adventure in going out of my comfort zone. My friend later assured me that their set got more experimental and noisy as the night went on, so it could be that I missed out.
Maybe I’ll keep winning free tickets and actually discover some worthwhile shit outside of my favorite subcultural ghettos, though it’s fairly likely I’ll stay in and nap instead.