Noob

This is Jason. Jason is a good friend of mine from bygone college days, and we were recently able to catch up and hang out, all the while comparing gray hairs and tattoos of responsibility. But Jason wins on that front, because not only is he married with two kids – and a third on the way – but he’s also about to get his PhD. If he would just pay his taxes then he’d be a fairly responsible member of society.

I kid, I kid… He doesn’t make any money, so there’s no need to worry about taxes.

Actually, the real reason I want you to notice this picture of Jason is because of his supafly yellow golf shirt. This gaily decorated piece of fabric is important to our story, so behold all of its radiant glory and keep reading.

I’m reminded of all this today as I listen to a recently purchased album by De/Vision, entitled “Noob.” It’s been out for a while overseas but just saw a proper US release. De/Vision is a group that Jason and I both tend to enjoy – because we are, at heart, brooding Germans – and so when I saw that they were touring the US, I thought it was a good excuse to travel for a show, as well as an opportunity to drag Jason kicking and screaming away from domestic life for one night.

Jason and I have a history of only going to interesting shows. Not entirely sure how this happens, exactly, but each one is definitely memorable. Either for being really good or for being very surreal. And this one was a bit of both.

De/Vision is a german group busy twiddling knobs to create electronic pop, that’s then run through a filter of bleak darkwave depression. You’re meant to enjoy it, but not too much… So the crowd for this type of stuff draws an interesting mix of people.

At first, my main concern was for Jason’s shirt. It would have drawn more attention if he had worn a neon sign around his neck that said “Narc”, but not by much. And these fears were slightly confirmed when we walked into the venue followed by some vampires. Seriously. If you’ve seen the Southpark episode about vampires vs. the goths, then you know the type. However, these were the couch-potato variety of vampires. The guy’s flowing mane of jet-black Meatloaf hair cascaded over his bowl full of jelly, that had probably never once been set jiggling by his laughter. His undead woman-friend had her breadbasket and bosoms squeezed uncomfortably into a night-meets-blood colored corset. They were out to have a good time, but a slow and very serious good time.

So we stood out, but I was anxious to see how badly. Things took a more interesting turn when the hobbit materialized in front of us (as hobbits tend to do). The curious thing about the hobbit was not its height, or the mohawk hairdo. No, it was more the fact that we couldn’t determine the gender. This is always a bad sign, when two people in earnest discussion can’t, between the two of them, figure out this most basic distinction of a character trait.

I think we eventually settled on… actually, I don’t think we settled on anything except to stare at their face, because it was largely metal. Now, I’m not such an old fogey that I’m not familiar with piercings. Lots of people have them, and some have impressive collections. But the transgendered hobbit was the victim of someone’s over-zealous Bedazzler. They were the rhinestone jacket of piercings, and it was hypnotizing. I stared, while Jason was busy pumping out yellow vibes.

And those people were great, but they were definitely no match for the person to come next: Rockin’ Old Guy. Rockin’ Old Guy was at least 70, but I’m guessing closer to 80. And as the pre-concert DJ was busy blasting the theater full of industrial techno, I couldn’t help but wondering exactly what this guy was doing there. He appeared to be with his daughter and grandson (because the family that rocks together, stays together). At first we were convinced that they had to be family of someone in one of the bands, but after each group finished and began mingling around, they just sat there.

Rockin’ Old Guy and his family had no earplugs, but he had something much, much better. Booze. Rockin’ Old Guy hit the bar at least four times (I was behind him in line one of those times), and he likes the hard stuff. Bottle of beer? Nope, not for this geriatric rocker. He’s a jack and coke man. And if he’s gonna make it through the night, he’s gonna need a lot of them. I imagined that he kept wondering why he suffered through the Korean War just so punk kids could damage their eardrums to this nonsense. Although I’m sure his internal monologue would have been saucier than this, especially after some more jack and coke.

So these were just some of the interesting characters with whom we rocked. We totally rocked it with the vampires, hobbits and geezers. And most of the music was good. The opening group, Iris, was also someone we were looking forward to. They put on a great set, as did De/Vision. But then things got a little (more) weird…

The “headliner” group (or at least the ones who won the coin-toss for that slot) were another German group, although neither Jason nor I were familiar with them. And Seabound was their name-o. Seabound’s manager somehow managed to roll onto the stage, because he was a weeble-wobble of a fellow who had obviously never gone a day in his life without a box of twinkies. Normally I would be more sensitive to someone’s weight, but he had obviously stopped caring about it long ago, so I felt no need to do it for him. Through his thick German accent, we picked up that Seabound were excited to be there, but they had some good news and some bad news.

The bad news was that the singer (we’ll call him Fritz) had fallen down some stairs the night before and broken his arm. And to make matters worse, the drummer (we’ll call him Hans) had collapsed, also the night before, due to a “circulatory breakdown” and had to be rushed to the emergency room. No idea what that is or what it does to you, but it sounds bad. The good news was that they still wanted to play their set (seriously?), but that they might not have as much energy as normal.

The manager rolled off the stage, katamari-style, and Seabound drifted on. Short version: they sucked, and we left.

The moral of this story is that you should never be afraid to wear a bright yellow shirt to an industrial/darkwave/synthpop/goth/vampire concert. Just be who you are and don’t worry about what others think of you. Because those grandpa/hellraiser/hobbit freaks stand out just as much as you do.