The Mae Shi, Picasso, home brew, CAMMIES Folk/Acoustic and Library Week
Social medicine In last week’s CN&R, Paul Friedlander tied together his guest comment on Chico’s arts with a quote by Pablo Picasso that’s stuck with me all week: “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” I like the idea of that. It’s a refreshing departure from what I admit is at times a frustrating part of my arts editoring, the fact that my “everyday life” is spent around art. That might not sound so bad (and it’s not), but the reality is that during the 9-to-5 portion of my gig, the art becomes one more piece of information to interpret, filter, schedule, assign, digitize, edit, communicate and stress over. Much of my gathered dust is in fact made up of art.
Like I said, it’s not that bad of a problem. But, given that fact (and sticking with the quote’s metaphor), it usually takes some extremely high water pressure to peel back that caked-on dust.
With that said, I am very grateful for a timely text message received last week from my buddy Dan Greenfield as he stood inside the cavernous TiON warehouse imploring me to join him in time to catch that evening’s headliner, L.A.’s The Mae Shi.
How good was it? The best. Really, the best performance I’ve seen in some time. Other than the sparseness of the crowd, it encompassed all the best parts of a live rock experience: committed energetic players; infectious guitar riffs (or piercing keyboard riffs) and vocal melodies; shout-along choruses; fearless punk-rock abandon; varied and exciting push-pull dynamics; off-the-mic shouting; and crowd-involvement hijinks. During the carpe-diem anthem “Run to Your Grave,” the band started a sing-along dance party under a giant parachute that they floated across the happy crowd: “You’ve got to tear! Burn! Soil the flesh! God will do the rest! Scream! Cry! Pray! Confess! God will do the rest!”—dust-clearing, life-affirming fun, for sure.
Bread soda I’ve started making my own beer. Actually, my bro-in-law Ryan Post and I have been brewing together with a Christmas-gift kit from Mrs. DEVO. Batch number one was ready for consumption a couple weeks ago, and all 50-or-so bottles of what turned out to be a very tasty light stout/brown ale are already gone. There’s something about having made it oneself that demands sharing. And that process of friends/family coming together around a few lovingly brewed suds has proven rewarding—another very effective way to wrest free stubborn work-week particulate from one’s soul. Batch two (a tangy IPA) will be ready in four weeks—call me.
Make it safe to get to know ya Tonight (April 9), I plan to experience all of the above at the CAMMIES Folk/Acoustic showcase at Café Coda. Not only does Coda have the fresh-tasting Scrimshaw pilsner on tap (and better yet, creamy Boddingtons ale in the can), but this year, this category contains my favorite collection of nominees, and all except for the currently touring Pat Hull are scheduled play. Rumor has it that Erin Lizardo might even bring her freshly minted progeny Solomon to the proceedings. Join your Chico family for a little spring restoration.
A few ear-hole DEVOtions:
•The Mae Shi, HLLLYH
•Sebadoh, “Social Medicine”
•Real Estate, your new favorite band from New Jersey, described by one writer as “Galaxie 500 mixed with the Grateful Dead” and by another as being influenced by Yo La Tengo and The Feelies. The band’s sound does harken back to the warmer, looser atmospheric freakouts of the early days of what once was called “college rock.” Read an interview with the band (myspace.com/letsrockthebeach) by the smarter of the two writers at yournewfavesong.com/2009/04/05.