Thursday, August 17, 2006

FBO: 'Spots Some Geniuses'

It's important to gauge the beating heart of the ultra-insider, indie-rock world on occasion. Recently FBO Admin attended such an event, a free show double-billing Beirut and Deerhoof at Brooklyn's McCarren Pool. The outdoor 'pool party' welcomed thousands with big shades, half-way beards, ironic t-shirts, who came to hear various levels of challenging indie rock, plus slip-n-slide on a giant slide or play dodgeball.

San Francisco-bred Deerhoof is a trio fronted by a small Japanese woman (Satomi Matsuzaki) and featuring possibly the greatest drummer in rock'n'roll (Greg Saunier), who plays a tiny two-piece set with alarming effect. The stop-n-start songs spaz along, defying co-dancing for more than 12 consecutive bars, yet remain catchy with the shrill vocals of absurdist lyrics ('dog on the sidewalk... dog on the sidewalk... I SEE' or '' etc), used more as an instrument.

Beirut is a more contrived band, fronted by a 20-year-old guy who noticed that 'gypsy music' might be cool in the indie-rock setting. We applaud their t-shirts, which showed a circa-1980 illustration of a Czechoslovakian town labelled in cursive 'Beirut.' Lots of horns and bellowing vocals. Not FBO Admin's taste necessarily.

During Deerhoof's show, FBO Admin spotted geniuses. Four backstage VIPs set up directly behind the stage, standing as visibly as possible while still carefully slouching against a red-brick wall. Shades on. Flirting. Party dress. Black denim contrasting acely with the red. Whispering comments -- probably about the artwork for their next show's flyer; they must be in a band -- and lazily clapping after songs, prompted by the thousands of fans before them doing the same. (Note photograph carefully -- mindful of other on-stage 'VIP' spectators siiting in the shade, tucked nearly out of view to the left.)

The FBO feels a mix of emotions from their 80s-style tenacity -- something straight out of a backstage-set video by Poison or Warrant in 1988. It's both contemptuous, highly self indulgent and yet strangely compelling.

The FBO awards these four people, and particularly the two bandmate guys, the status of GENIUS for their display in the full gaze of Williamsburg, the designated coolest neighborhood of North America.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Photo credit: Tom Caw, of Connecticut

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