|Blue Orchids: back when noisy bands were good|
Between songs, a lad in front of him turned around to complain. The dancer responded, “I’m from Chicago. In Chicago we like to dance.” He had a reedy voice a bit like the teacher in South Park. The sort of voice where, if this was a cartoon and not a real-life indie-gig, you’d expect him to get immediately flattened by a well-aimed punch that everyone would immediately cheer and laugh at. But the complainant just said something inaudible (perhaps, “Cut it out, you windmill-imitating dickhead”), and turned back to the band.
Then it was the turn of the woman next to me to get shoved in the back. At the end of the song, she too turned around and asked the windmill geek what he thought he was trying to prove. “I’m not trying to do anything,” he whined. “I’m just trying to have a good time.” For that, he could always have gone down to the front with the other enthusiasts, who all seemed to think this was the best band ever - they were surely all too ecstatic to mind being thumped by him.
I perked up when the band accidentally played a good song,
until I realised it was a cover version of Low Profile by The Blue Orchids. You shouldn’t play songs that are 30 years old, and which had an obvious influence on your clearly inferior music. It just makes seasoned indie-boppers question the point of your existence.
Speaking of which, I’d been earlier sitting on a sofa in the bar area reading and wondering why I was not at home while the support band, The German Measles, indulged in a great big pointless and unlistenable racket. Who would want to be in a support band playing at this point in pop musical history in a venue this small, with people walking out all the time to the bar, or just standing there checking for text messages while waiting for the main band? Thank Christ I was never stupid enough to invest all that time and effort into being in an unpopular indie band. I wasn’t cut out for bad drugs and sleeping on other people’s floors.
I shouldn’t even have been in The Black Cat. I was supposed to be on the guest list at the 9.30 Club for the sold-out Iron & Wine concert, a gig I actually wanted to see. I had a bad feeling about that. It’s the first time I’ve ever been lucky enough to get on a guest list, but as I walked through the rain to the club, I just knew there was going to be a misunderstanding, because that’s exactly the sort of thing that happens to me when I'm supposed to be on a list. I'm never there:
Friend with connections: You’re on the guest list.
Me: Wahay! Thanks!
(At the 9.30 Club)
Me: Hi. Erm, I’m on the guest list.
Girl behind glass window (checking guest list, and perhaps sensing my insecurity): No you’re not.
Me (weakly): Are you sure?
Girl behind glass window: Yes.
Me: Can you just double-check? Please?
(Girl behind glass window checks again, but I know what she’s thinking – fucking ligger, thinks he can bluff his way in for free).
Girl behind glass window: Nope, you’re still not on it.
Me (loudly): Do you know who I am?
No, I didn’t really say that, especially as she’d just seen my driver’s licence, so obviously she already knew who I was. I thanked her instead for having taken the trouble to look again, all the while thinking that I should have said, “Well, I don’t care, I’m off to watch the Crystal Stilts instead at The Black Cat, and I bet they’re much better, and I bet I meet a ton more interesting people than the old Americana-worshipping bores that are gonna come and watch moldy old Iron & Wine.”
But I didn’t. All I found out was that in Chicago they like to dance. And I was reminded that, 30 years ago, The Blue Orchids were a great band.