Since I’m fortunate enough to live in Austin (at least on its suburban outskirts), I ventured forth into a downtown club last month during South by Southwest and saw quite the Late Boomer concert — which I choose to define as nostalgia that somehow still manages to be relevant:
8 pm – World/Inferno Friendship Society (NY-based ska/punk/pop ensemble, much fun, visual poetry)
9 pm – Wreckless Eric (in great form)
10 pm – New Model Army (likewise)
11 pm – Mike Peters (ex-Alarm frontman, not the guy who draws “Mother Goose and Grimm”)
Midnight – Rezillos
1 am – Shonen Knife
EVERY act was worth seeing, especially the resurgent Wreckless and Mike Peters (the latter was as bombastic and self-important as ever but seemed a decent guy for all that; back in 1983 I interviewed him for a Long Island music mag and hadn’t seen him since, so that was a major factor in feeling that the entire evening was a timewarp back 20-odd years). I hadn’t paid any attention to New Model Army the first time around, and I’ve never been a member of Shonen Knife’s shiny happy vinyl-clad fan base, but the Rezillos were a genuine kick in the head — the first time I’d ever seen them if you don’t count a concert by their later incarnation, the fab Revillos, circa 1984. The crowd was super-enthusiastic, ranged widely in age, and had an active mosh pit going. The Rezillos’ energy and showmanship put most other bands half their age to shame. It was one of the most fun club shows I’ve seen in years. My immediate reaction upon their appearance was, ‘I’m soooooo glad to see them again!’
I warmly recommend to you this article from the Sunday Times (Scotland) as a primer on how to grow up, and even become middle-class respectable, while neither losing that vital wild inner spark nor becoming pathetic.
And I might as well toss in a recommendation for another band I love, caught on another day during SXSW. They’re called Little Pink, they’re based in the Washington, DC area and they’re led by Mary Battiata, who moonlights as a feature writer for the Washington Post and is far and away the best journalist/musician I’ve ever heard, if Patti Smith doesn’t count. Buy their CD, Cul-de-Sac Cowgirl — you won’t be sorry.
God bless the desire to create, it is our saving grace and helps us to grow up without losing it. And like that.