Way to Take Things Too Seriously, Buddy!

Sure the Siren Festival is great for things like music and carnival acts, but what it’s better for is HIPSTER BINGO. If you never thought you’d see the day someone actually took this thing seriously, well congrats, because you’ve seen that day. We took it upon ourselves to print out a copy of the now infamous Hipster Bingo card created by CatBirdSeat and have a bit of fun. The rules of Hipster Bingo include the fact that you can’t use anyone you know. (Believe us, we could have won in a heartbeat!)

Armed with our Bingo card, a pen, and a digital camera, we approached unsuspecting victims, shoved a camera in their faces and snaped a picture without telling them why. We then whipped out our Bingo card and quietly crossed off the appropriate box as they looked on in (bemused) embarrassment, said “thanks,” and then walked away with no further explaination.
Here are some of the results:

B-I-N-G-O! B-I-N-G-O!
B-I-N-G-O! B-I-N-G-O!
B-I-N-G-O! B-I-N-G-O!
B-I-N-G-O! B-I-N-G-O!
B-I-N-G-O! B-I-N-G-O!
B-I-N-G-O!

Believe it or not, we did run into some resistant hipsters. We wanted to take a picture of this guy with a perfect “circa-1968 jagger haircut” but he was all “no no no no!” “But you’re on our Hipster Bingo!,” we tried arguing to no avail. Bastard. Then some dude walked by us and dropped a pack of Parliament cigarettes, and we fumbled for our camera. He picked up the smokes and we shouted, “Hey can we take a picture–,” but he just started walking away, so we continued shouting, “…you’re on our Hipster Bingo, YOU A**HOLE!”

(If any of these people are your friends, hey, it’s not our fault you’re buddies with hipsters.)

Stranger than Fiction

We can’t even figure out if this is real… but weirder things have happened: Keanu Reeves is in a new band with former Real World: Seattle cast member Rebecca. The name of the band is “Becky.” Apparently playing the Viper Room in LA tonight. Link from Mark.

Squeeze… squeeze… if you’d just move a little to the right we can get everything in the frame.”

Ladies, get your botox appointments now. Prince William may want to spend a couple of years in New York.

On the strength of the booming sales of Elephant, The White Stripes figure they can afford to lose a few fans by employing them to battle SARS.

Winona Ryder tells Liz Smith she’s single and NOT with Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes:


SPEAKING OF entertainment – Winona Ryder said she got a kick out of reading last week’s papers which detailed her love life. One New York tabloid linked her to young Bright Eyes rocker Conor Oberst; another had her linked to Al Pacino after both she and Al appeared at a screening of John Malkovich’s film, “The Dancer Upstairs.”

Winona says actually she is very happy to be single and unattached these days. After a brief stay in NYC, she rushed to L.A. to meet a director about a film project. “I am quite serious about finding the right role and getting back to work after passing on numerous offers,” says the young star.

Part 1 of The Best of the Westerns

The Week The Modern Age Pretended to Be From California

IF THERE EVER WAS A TIME to write about our visit to the Left Side, it’s now. That’s because we feel a bit unstable and delusional thanks to the 104 F temperature yesterday morning. (Our body temp has now subsided to a pleasant 100 F. Guess we don’t have SARS.) We take it as a sign from God that the spirit of Lester Bang’s psychotic ramblings should naturally live on without the combination of cough syrup and speed.

APRIL 24, 2003

JFK —> LAX

Leaves New York City 7AM. Arrives in Los Angeles 10:08AM. Alyse picks us up. Sleeps. Eats chicken quesadilla. Sleeps.

APRIL 25, 2003

Leaves LA for Indio late afternoon. Pit stop at LAX to pick up Remi. Makes request to eat at In-N-Out. Orders regular burger combo. Sprite soda. Finds burger satisfying. Worth the request. Mystified by elaborate wax paper wrapping of burger. Burger juices drips down sides of hands. Notes the red and white color combination of the decor. Takes picture of inside of In-N-Out, scaring little children sitting at opposite table. Sees child wearing In-N-Out paper hat, gets jealous. Remi obtains paper hat for us and stops our whining.

Stop by Eddie’s for pick-up. Catches part of Elimidate featuring three large-chested bimbos and one greased up himbo. Our mouths drop to floor and we shake our heads at the poor state of American television.

Car ride down to Indio soundtracked by a Hot Hot Heat sing-a-long. Also featured, Blur, Madonna, Portishead.

Arrives in Palm Desert around 9PM. Last minute supply stop at Ralphs. Immediately associates with ‘ralph’ being a slang term for vomiting and laughs to self that an establishment would call itself that. Debates whether or not to purchase a pair of blue, sea green, and black aqua socks for $5.99 to wear to Coachella. Decides not to buy the socks.

Settles into sleeping destination. Tries out Lay’s Guacamole chips. Immediately addicted. Eats green grapes. Barely stays awake for arrival of rest of Coachella party. Gets Alyse to flip from Kilby to Conan just in time to see White Stripes play. Scares the lot of the Coachella crew by freaking out over White Stripes. Flips back to Kilby. Doesn’t miss any of Blur’s TV time. Everyone happy.

APRIL 26, 2003

Leaves Palm Desert around 10:30AM. Drives to Indio. Along the way to the parking grounds, spots a street called “Westward Ho.” Laughs.

IT’S HOT IN INDIO. Within minutes of getting out of the car, we realize that our whiter than white flesh is already on fire. Thrilled at prospect of getting tan.

They start letting people into the grounds at 12 noon. Semi-frightened our pens and candy will be confiscated due to the seemingly strict Coachella policies. (See their list of things NOT to bring.) Breezes through security without so much as a second glance or a pat-down.

We head to the Press tent. We get dangerously close to a group of girls sitting on a black leather couch when we realize it’s The Donnas. That bassist sure looks hungry. There is a whole bowl of candy sitting in front of them, but we aren’t about to try our luck. Inching away slowly without any sudden movements, we escape with all limbs in tact.

South -- CLICK ON FOR BIGGER IMAGE

We locate Melody Nelson and Vince by the Mojave Tent. We head over to the food court to jam in some food before the music starts. We choose a vegan sloppy joe concoction for our lunch. And water. Mmm water.

South is scheduled to go on at 1:20 in the Mojave Tent, but they don’t go on until 1:30ish. This makes us grumpy. One late act in a tent will make everyone else late — and mess up our scheduling.

South does a nine song set featuring a bunch of new songs off their recently wrapped new LP:

    South -- CLICK ON FOR BIGGER IMAGE

  • Same Old Story
  • Paint the Silence
  • Keep Close
  • Recovered Now
  • 9 Lives
  • Live Between the Lines
  • Colors in Waves
  • Motiveless Crime
  • Dolphins

We run through the crowd after South and spot two guys toting baby pink Mooney Suzuki #1 fingers which we assume were given out during their 1:30 spot on the Coachella Stage. (The next day The Mooney tell us that the Coachella folks wouldn’t let them sell them at the merch stand, so they decided just to give them out for free.) We ask the guys to pose, and we snap a picture.

Next up in the Mojave Tent is Idlewild. BIG FAT BLUR in our minds. Roddy looks real cute in his checked shirt and jeans. We still wonder where Bob is. Set list:

    Idlewlid -- CLICK ON FOR BIGGER IMAGE

  • Little Discourage
  • You Held the World in Your Arms
  • I Am A Message
  • I Am What I Am Not
  • 10 Words
  • Modern Way Of Letting Go
  • American English
  • When I Argue I See Shapes
  • Rusty
  • A Film for the Future
  • Roseability

California’s very own (by way of New York) The Rapture bring on the grooves to Mojave soon after. The place gets sweaty really fast. We find ourselves staring at a guy in the middle of the crowd wearing a white blazer, jeans, a bare, tanned chest, and tinted shiny sunglasses. Melody Nelson asks us “Hey, is that Casey Spooner?” We never can identify Casey Spooner even if he’s standing right in front of us, so we take Melody Nelson’s word on it due to her superior celeb-spotting skills.

The Rapture -- CLICK ON FOR BIGGER IMAGE

Hot Hot Heat bassist, Dustin Hawthorne, crawls out from backstage to check out the DFA darlings and we see Damon Gough on the sidelines, wearing a wooly cap, jean jacket, and jeans. We sweat just looking at him.

Soon after “House of Jealous Lovers” hits us hard, we can’t believe our eyes when we see the man previously identified at Casey Spooner go over to Damon and start talking to him. It’s a brief exchange, but it ends with Casey handing Damon a pin, and Damon nodding. Only at Coachella will you get Fischerspooner pimping out to Badly Drawn Boy.

The Hives -- CLICK ON FOR BIGGER IMAGE

We head out of Mojave-land for the big boys and a little sun. The Hives take Coachella Stage on time sporting spiffy white and black triangle ties and the standard black on black shirt/pant combo (but with BLACK BELTS). Pelle is fantastic as “loud shouty foreign guy” but the crowd gives him some heckles, because mid set he starts razzing on some guy by saying something like “You should talk, you don’t even have any hair” then saying “Doesn’t it look like I could kick anyone’s ass?” Other highlights of Pelle crazy-talk included, “After The Hives all the other bands are dessert.” etc etc.

Blur -- CLICK ON FOR BIGGER IMAGE

Next is Blur. As you may remember, the last time we saw Blur was in March at the Bowery show and our main conclusion of the events of that evening were Damon Albarn was on the drugs. But this time he seems less on the drugs (or are we more on the drugs?). The sun is setting, and the sky is a beautiful blue. There’s a slight breeze. It’s perfect weather. “Out of Time” makes us want to get out a lighter and raise it high in the air. It feels good to see Alex actually play with Dave and Damon. Oh yeah, and The Verve’s Simon Tong was there too. Yeah yeah yeah.

We catch some food mid-Blur set. As we chow down on a veggie burger, we see Ben Kweller walking about sporting a blue and black check shirt and jeans, hair just as moppy as it’s ever been. He heads over to the Press tent and chats with journos. We hear the sounds of thousands of people shouting “WOO HOO” as we finish our meal. On our way to the Coachella Stage we almost get run over by Tommy Lee and friend as they recklessly weave through crowds on some of those stupid Segways.

Heading back to Coachella stage for Queens of the Stone Age we spot Jared “30 Seconds to Mars” Leto with long black hair and red streaks and no Cammy Diaz (who was spotted earlier in the day frolicking with gal pal Drew “This is my boyfriend Fabrizio Strokes” Barrymore). Having just come off a 2-day My So-Called Life DVD marathon, we’re stoked. We get a picture with him and laugh our heads off.

Queens of the Stone Age -- CLICK ON FOR BIGGER IMAGE
Granted, we don’t know much of the QOTSA song catalogue, so we are resigned to just making devil horns and head banging throughout the set. Some dudes next to us are dancing all funny weird, so we start dancing like them just to amuse ourselves.

We go back to Mojave Tent and soon find ourselves in the midst of an angry electro crowd. Scheduled to go on at 8:30, Ladytron is waaaaaaaay behind due to some equipment problems’as in none of their equipment is working properly, and neither are the microphones. We already hate Ladytron, so this doesn’t make us happy at all, we start screaming out ‘Let’s go you international motherf*ckers!’ ElectroKids give stop-and-go spurts of boos and various other noises of discontentment.

Ladytron -- CLICK ON FOR BIGGER IMAGE

Whoever made up that term “Better late than never” was wrong. How about “Better you not go on at all than mess everyone else up”? But alas, we don’t run the tent, so ONE HOUR AND 20 MINUTES LATER Ladytron go on stage. We wonder how this will affect The Libertines 11PM slot. Groove Armada is supposed to go on AFTER Ladytron, but Ladytron is just STARTING when Groove Armada was supposed to. We sulk in the corner.

Beastie Boys -- CLICK ON FOR BIGGER IMAGE
Back to Coachella Stage for a little Beastie Boys action. The photo pit borders on an insane asylum. Photogs coming out of our ears, all of them with the sharpest jabbing elbows known to man. Our squatting skills are put to the test by less than kind requests by the security people not to stand on the risers out of fear the crowd might get angry and start a riot. We can’t be bothered with all this hullaballo and get the hejezus out of there with as much of our sanity as we came with.

Groove Armada -- CLICK ON FOR BIGGER IMAGE

We have nothing against Groove Armada, but we have no strong inclination to like them. They go onstage at Mojave Tent around 10:50 or so. And they play and stuff. By this point in the evening we’re so tired we really don’t care about much. We sit on boxes filled with gear and swig down bottles of water to pass the time. We have an internal debate as to weather or not The Libertines will get to play at all. This goes on for Groove Armada’s entire set.

After Groove Armada, the Tent kinda clears out, but some people are still coming in. We’re hazy with times but near 12 midnight an announcement is made over the PA: “We appologize for the delay — Next up is The Libertines.” Hooray! They’ll perform.

The Libertines -- CLICK ON FOR BIGGER IMAGE

10 minutes later The Libertines swagger onstage, pop open bottles of champagne and spray the audience, throw red shiny confetti, and make a grand spectacle of themselves. About two songs later, the cops bust in and pull the plug on them. Peter throws down the mic stand in a fit of rage and everyone is ushered out of the tent.


CONCLUSION OF FIRST DAY OF COACHELLA 2003:
LADYTRON SUCK

Read Part 2

The Long and the Short of It: What Happens When You Send a Hipster to an Indie Rock Show

Ahhh! We’re idiots! In the hullabaloo surrounding our birthday, we forgot to plug the Whirlwind Heat show @ the Mercury last night. Oops. Lucky for us (and for you) Whirlwind Heat team up with MC Paul Barman at Southpaw on Valentine’s Day. (If you were caught up in the hullabaloo about the potential terrorist attacks and forgot to send love or buy presents, you can still do so.)

We BUSTED OUT THE BOOGIES for them because we think they ROCK. And all our friends did too. Fo’ real! We thought they’d hate them, but they too were charmed by the allure of little white boys spazzing out to loud noise. Maybe even M.S. thought they were good too!

Whirlwind Heat’s debut album will be released on April 15 on Third Man Records. They’ll be right next to The White Stripes, because the alphabet works that way, so you might as well pick up a copy of their LP while you’re getting Elephant.

So the V-day show, you gotta be there if you’re not lucky enough to be at that other show. YOU CAN MAKE OUT AFTER THE MUSIC — IT’LL STILL BE VALENTINE’S DAY!

THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU SEND A HIPSTER TO AN INDIE ROCK SHOW

Basically, if it’s free, we’re there. That’s because we love free. It’s also ’cause we’re young and poor, so free really fits into our budget. So when we were offered tickets to the February 7, 2003 Apples in Stereo show, we graciously accepted.

But since we wouldn’t know an Apple in Stereo from a f*cking Banana with Mono, it makes sense when we tell you we were really there to see Stellastarr*, a local band from New York City who were the openers.

The first time we’d seen Stellastarr* was last summer at Luna Lounge. We’d gotten there late and we were all the way in the back but we thought them to be alright. Luna Lounge was P-A-C-K-E-D with scenester Lower East Siders and the band’s friends — which sounds kind of redundant now that we think about it — and it was ghastly lit, in the manner of most shows at Luna. Just like how Gypsy Rose Lee would drive men out of their minds just by coyly taking off a satin glove, when we’d catch a glimpse of lead singer Shawn’s elbow or bobbing head through the throng of people, it was like someone was doing us a favor.

The only other time we’d seen them had been at Tiswas @ Don Hill’s during CMJ, where we saw them play two sets in the same night. It confused the hell out of us because we were already a little out of it, spending most of the night on the vinyl couches across from the bar with our heads in our hands trying to make the ringing stop. At the point we weren’t sure if we were tripping on something or if time had folded upon itself causing us to re-live our not-so-distant past… or they actually were playing twice in one night.

The truth being told to us, we weren’t crazy and they WERE playing twice in one night. Later on at the gig there was a moment of bizarre when Johnny Marr got onstage with Haven — causing things to get really f*cking surreal. The high heavens opened up and Jesus descended down from heaven to take us away. Long story short, the next morning we woke up and didn’t know exactly where we were, but we’re proud to say we eventually figured it out because we lived to tell about it, didn’t we?

But back to our tale — we were interested in seeing Stellastarr* on a big, proper stage. There was a fairly large crowd gathered around the stage for the band, quite impressive seeing as how they were going on at 9pm, A.K.A. and ungodly uncool early hour. For as we all know, hipsters such as ourselves run the risk of turning into a pile of dust if we’re seen being somewhere on time. So we tried to play it cool, pretending that “Oh! We thought the show started at 8! Hrmph!” and ladies and gents, we think the crowd bought our pack of lies because people will believe anything you tell them.

When the band came on the stage the crowd went “woooh!” Woooh! For the unfamiliar, Stellastarr* is a 4-member band whose music verges on Britpoppy, Cure-ish, sounding vocals and melodies. They’re sooooo popular with the Tiswas crowd because Tiswas seems to be a weekly meeting of people who make it a full-time job of being an ’80s revivalist: “Did you hear the new Smiths single?” “Yeah! It’s great, but they’re nowhere near the Cure.” “Are you kidding? That joker Robert Smith? He’s got nothing on the Moz!” Then fights with hairspray ensue. During the heavy-heated debates someone brings out the plastic bangles and all hell breaks loose.

Tiswas was totally repping because who else would be screaming for “My Coco” like an Oasis freak who’d just heard the intro to “Wonderwall�” Sure enough, a quick glance around the room and we could pick out about nine people who looked vaguely- to definitely-familiar. Then there was that one girl wearing “The Socialites” t-shirt that’s written like The Strokes’ logo and we could sorta guess SHE wasn’t here to see Apple Sauce in a Blender.

Honestly, we can’t even tell you the set list or any of that, because that’s not the kind of people we are. We can’t remember the names of songs and stuff. But we bet they played “Jenny.” Sure they did. And probably that song “Somewhere Across Forever,” but honestly, we can’t be sure about any of this. Most of their set was spent with us dancing in our own little space and giving weird looks to the girl in “The Socialites” shirt and the people who looked familiar from Tiswas.

There were some hard-core Stellastarr*-ites. The one that particularly stands out in our mind was this girl with light brown hair in a chin length bob, wearing this red apron/shirt thing and jeans. That girl? She LOVED the Stellastarr*. She was right in the middle up toward the front flailing her arms and singing along like no one’s business. Then a bunch of people we guess she knew kinda huddled by her and did more subdued versions of what she was doing.

Shawn Christensen, or as we like to refer to him, Shawn Stellastarr*, has real presence onstage. Like when you watch him singing and stuff, you kinda get the sense that this is exactly how he sings in front of the mirror at home. And that’s a good thing, right? Keepin’ it real and not letting the audience affect you? Singing the same if there’s one person there or ten thousand people there?

Amanda Tannen, bassist, looked significantly more glam than we remember her being. We don’t really know it that’s even a valid statement because she could be all like “haven’t I always been glam?” but we’re gonna stick with it because it’s a compliment, not a dis.

Arthur Kremer brought out his usual half-naked drumming stylings — black electrical tape on the chest as per usual, and those bizarre looking glasses that make him look half house painter half bug. There’s something about half-naked drumming that makes you think, “yes, this guy is serious about his drumming. He’s like f*cking half-naked, he MUST be into it.”

We had always thought guitarist Michael Jurin vaguely looked like he belonged in a Placebo tribute band (perhaps it’s the dark short hair thing going on), and maybe one day he’d like to be!, but right now he’s in Stellastarr*. But back in the day (last summer), we thought he was the “which one of these things is not like the other” band member — and maybe it’s because we’ve just kinda gotten use to the fact that these four people ARE in a band together and clearly they get along — but now he kinda seems to fit in the band.

So their set got the Tiswasers in a tizzy, but I’m not sure they went over with the Apples and Orangers crowd. They were probably confused, having never been fans of epileptic dancing or naked drummers. So as soon as Stellastarr*’s set ended, all the people in the tight pants and blazers headed toward the exits and left us in a sea of stone-washed jeans and t-shirts.

We held on for dear life.

Oranger was the second band to go on, and they’re from the West Coast — San somethingorother and they looked like they fell out of the ’90s. Long chin length hair and sweatshirt hoodies, oversized t-shirts, and other unmentionable crimes against fashion that are safe to wear at home — and even outside, given inclement weather — but certainly not on a stage.

Noise began, piercing our ears with incessant droning WHATEVERNESS. We retreated downstairs to the bar to drown out our sorrows and text message SOS to everyone in our phone book.

Staying down there for most of the set, we decided to give it one more shot and we headed up to the stage area once again. And it still blew. They were putting the SUCK in SUCKS. But one dude in front of us doing an AIR GUITAR clearly had a different opinion. He thought these dudes but the ROCK in ROCKTABULOUS because he started doing AIR DRUMS soon after.

We texted messaged some more with charming messages like, “PLEASE KILL ME, I WANT TO DIE.” and “I’M CRYING!” If liking droning pap like this made you Indie, we were gladly willing to throw in our Chucks and let these losers have the title. A voice told us to embrace our innermost feelings and wear them on our lapel like a finely crafted brooch bought at a London flea market for 7 GBP. And that, our friends, is when it all became clear: WE WERE NEVER INDIE. HIPSTER AND PROUD OF IT!

Soul-searching had reached a new level.

Oranger got off the stage and manna fell from up above. We got back up front for Apples in a Petrie Dish and waited for them to set up. Bored out of our minds, we accosted two young boys from NYU and told them that they had to listen to the White Stripes new album and get up to speed with who The Rapture were because they were f*cking amazing. The one with the pukka shells did not seemed swayed in any way, but the one wearing the hooded sweatshirt might have thought about it.

When Apples came on stage, the guitarist’s gear wasn’t working and we had to wait for them to set up again.

Apples’ lead singer was actually really funny. We can’t specifically remember what he said that was so funny, but remember thinking his inter-song banter being clever. Despite the fact that the lead singer was really amusing, and all the people in the band seemed and looked like good people, we really couldn’t have gave a flying f*ck about being there anymore.

Indie music is FINE for some people. Some people LOOOOOVE it. They sit at home on their Macs designing cool little twee buttons to wear at shows, or they get on some Interweb message board and post obsessively over reclusive band members and create group fan fictions stories. LET THESE PEOPLE DO WHAT THEY WANT, BUT FOR THE LOVE OF JESUS, DON’T PUT THEM IN THE SAME ROOM AS US.

Because we won’t like it.

Realizing that we couldn’t keep text messaging people directly in front of the lead Apples singer, we moved the hella-izo out of there, retreating to the balcony. We stood up in there for about half of a song, then realized that it wasn’t going to get any better. We’d spied the set list while we were up front and estimated that there were still about 4 songs left — and 5 encore songs to go. This made OUR HEADS HURT.

Making the decision to escape the clutches of musical torture, we ran our asses down the stairs, and flung open the exit doors to freedom. “Hallelujah!” we would have cried had we been in a motion picture film. Then we heard the most glorious sound you could hear after skirting out on an unbearable band — the precious sound of silence whistling through our ears. Serenity now.

Who Knew Moldy Peaches Were So Tasty?

The Nintendo Game Cube. Otherwise known as “One Way To Become the Most Popular Person In Your Building.”

Hyperventilated today. I’ll explain further after Wed.

Julian Casablancas + Beck + DNA = Adam Green… who is ONLY 20 YEARS OF AGE! It’s a crime. Thou shalt not covet anti-folk stars younger than yourself.

I still love this interview Kimya did with Crud Magazine. Notice how she pulls a “White Stripe” and claims Fabrizio Moretti is her cousin.

Oh, if he only knew. Jules… way back in the day of Reading; “No, no, I�m glad we played on the Main Stage � there�s a lot of people here and you don�t want to see fans getting crushed. That�s not very cool.”