So runstaverun and I bolted out of drewuniversity as soon as he got out of class. He stopped for a snack and hit traffic, I sped through and made it to their place fairly quickly. As soon as he showed up we went up, and joined kikibird, who was still getting ready. I made runstaverun read the liner notes to his second greatest hits album. The liner notes described how he interacts with people, started doing music, the problems with the band, and just about everything to know about the man and his history. We made excellent time into the city through the Holland, and found parking on the street only a block and a half away from the Knitting Factory. Being hungry, we stopped to get some grub from a local deli. runstaverun and I had some decent grub, while kikibird got a really nasty wrap. I enjoyed watching trendy alternative village people (no, not THE Village People) chat while we ate.
I had never been at the venue before, it was a cool little place. We still had time to kill, so we grabbed some drinks from the bar. While kikibird thinks I was the top rung on the ladder of classiness in her post, it would have been worse if I had asked for top-shelf vodka like I was tempted to. Outside the drinking section, I spied Tara. Yes, Tara, star of Food On Tara dot com. You know, another website using my photography without permission? She was with her boyfriend and crew, and kept on blowing us off. kikibird suggested that I put a piece of candy on her shoulder and eat it off, saying ``Now I recognize you!'' I can understand her reaction, I mean, I'm sure her boyfriend would just love some guy coming up and talking about he'd eaten off his girlfriend's naked body twice. There were tons of Sublime fans waiting for the show, which made sense, as runstaverun noted he toured with them once. There was also definately an internet geek segment in the audience.
So the door opened, and were off like a bunch of rockets. kikibird broke the noise barrier and maimed two small Sublime fans in being the first to get a headbutt. And boy did she get her head butted!
For those who don't know, Wesley Willis doesn't shake hands. He headbutts people. He grabs you, stares in your eyes, and says, ``Say Raw!'' You then say raw. Not rock, but raw. Next thing you know, he's slammed his forehead against yours. ``Say Row!'' You say row, not roll, and get slammed in the forehead again. This continues for some time, and he mixes it up. Sometimes two rolls in a row, sometimes two rocks in a row, sometimes he growls it, sometimes he just grinds his head against yours. kikibird got the first public headbutt of the evening, and we followed right behind her. He included a deep throaty ``Rrrrrrrrrraaawwwwwww'', almost like a growl, with me. After a series of rapid headbutts, he just left his head against mine, staring into my eyes. For a moment, I thought I broke him. He was silent, just staring into my eyes, as the liner notes said ``trying to see if [I'm] down with him''. Out of nowhere, he broke into maniacal laughter.
Wesley Willis: Would you like to buy one of my CDs?
Wesley Willis lets go of Russell Sprague's hand and gestures to the CDs laid out next to him.
Russell Sprague: I would love to buy one of your CDs!
Wesley Willis: Really? Do you like my music?
Russell Sprague: Of course! I love your music. It's really an honor to meet you in person.
So I bought a couple of his CDs (including New York, New York) from the guy helping him. runstaverun overheard someone ask the guy if he had any CDs with ``you know, the band he was in?'' That potential customer was quickly silenced by the salesman, so as not to upset the performer with memories of that fiasco.
Gutbucket was pretty incredible band from the NYC area. I was very upset not to be able to buy one of their CDs at the end of the evening, as I couldn't find them where they said they would be. Gutbucket consisted of a sax player, a bassist (floor bass, not bass guitar), a drummer, and a guitarist. They would switch from style to style mid-song, going from jazz to rock to blues in the same song, shifting roughly but sounding great. kikibird noticed that they often stared into each other's eyes dreamily, something I picked up on fairly early on. Their song, ``Dry Humping the American Dream'' was really amazing. Great chemistry, combined with a fun playful nature.
Angry Atom was just a typical rock band from Minnesota. Guitarist and bassist vocalist brothers, and drummer. Nothing too fancy or out of the ordinary, but decent music. Just not as ecclectic or interesting as I expected for a band opening for Wesley Willis. Decent guitar work, decent bass lines, but I honestly thought Gutbucket was better. The music gelled nicely, but they just drowned out their own vocals. Maybe I'm too much of a fan of vocals-driven music, being a hardcore bruce_dickinson fan, but they just stepped on each other musically too often. Plenty of potential though. I grabbed their CD after the show, and the guitarist threw in another CD. They kept on dedicating songs to random people in the audience, and before one song, the guitarist picked me out. ``Who wants to hear a fast song? I mean, like two hundred rpm and shit? This guy, this guy up here, I know he wants to hear one!'' They, like Wesley Willis later on, spit quite often. carrisse would not have enjoyed the jam session. I was afraid kikibird was going to get sprayed by them a few times.
After they were done, runstaverun and I fought our way over to the man so I could get a picture taken with him. I got a second round of headbutts, and runstaverun snapped some shots. Like a moron, I left my camera at home today, so I'll try to suck out the pictures and throw them up tomorrow. I wanted to get my inserts for his two greatest hits albums autographed, but after the headbutting, all I wanted was a picture with the man himself. We fought our way back to where kikibird was standing (we were merely one layer of people back from the stage), and waited. A roadie brought a large folding chair out on stage, and sat it down. The crowd roared. He rolled the keyboard on the side of the stage over in front of the chair. The crowd cheered. He brought out a little Mexican ``Day of the Dead'' style figure and propped it on the front of the keyboard. Guess what the crowd did? He strung up a string of lights around the front and sides of the keyboard, flicking the piece that just wouldn't come on. He set out some water, and started talking with one of the star's handlers about how to get him from the back up to the stage. Finally, he emerged to a wall of cheering maniacs.
So, another review?
This man played at the Knitting Factory in New York City
About two hundred fifty people were at the show
The jam session was awesome
It really whupped a marsupial's ass!
He really rocked like a magickiss
The crowd roared like a lion
The jam session whupped Saddam Hussein's ass
He really played it on like a hurricane
*Jams for about fifty seconds*
He rocked a donkey's asshole
The rock show was over
A lot of people met him
He is making a lot of money on this tour
Rock over London, rock on New York City!
Allstate, you're in good hands!
It was easier doing that the first time. Anyway, the show was fucking amazing. He has just such a presense, such an energy. He jams during every gap between the second chorus and the third verse, bopping his head and playing with noises. The smile on his face, the joking comments, you just can't watch him and not feel good. He's just fucking electric. He smiles, he jams, he just fucking gets into it with his heart and soul.
Example: the song ``Don't Drive Like an Asshole''. He flips through the piles of lyrics on his lap (until I get pictures up, check out this concert review to get an idea), finally pulling out the next song. He triumphantly lifts the sheet of music into the air, and jabs at it with a finger. ``This is the song, I'm going to sing to you, called `Don't Drive Like an Asshole'. Don't drive like an asshole. *singsong voice* Don't drive like an aaaaaasshoooole! This is a song about not driving like an asshole. Don't drive like a jerk. Don't drive like an ASSHOLE!!! ...don't drive like an assssss-hole.'' Then he does the actual song.
He started the night with ``Osama Bin Laden'', a song chastizing him for his terrorist activities and his responsibility in the September Eleventh attacks. As kikibird mentioned, he dedicated ``Fuck You'' to him, Saddam Hussein, and George W. Bush. Like most rational American citizens, he was able to come up with reasons to dedicate it to the former and latter more easily then for the man we're currently attacking. Despite singing about him for years, Wesley Willis couldn't muster up as a good reason for saying ``Fuck You'' to Saddam as he could for the other two. But I digress. He played a couple of classics, like ``Cut the Mullet'', ``I Whooped Batman's Ass'', and ``Rock and Roll McDonald's''. He didn't just do his greatest hits, his sell-out commercial shit, oh no. He also did some b-sides, and some new ones. As both this guy and kikibird noted, he dealt with people screaming out requests nicely. ``This guy is on tour, and he's going to play what the hell he wants!'' After a night of some jackass shouting ``Cut the Mullet!!'', he finally shouted back, ``That's five songs from now. Shut the fuck up.'' His version of ``I Whooped Batman's Ass'' was slightly different, but I'm not suprised. This time he made Batman pay for a television set that the vigilante destroyed. Go Wesley. Towards the end of the evening, he made up a song about sucking the back of a camel's ass. The verses consisted of sucking various animal parts for increasing amounts of money. He did a song about a taco chain from the midwest. After the song was over, his handler/escort/assistant asked him over the PA, ``I thought you hated them?'' Wesley explained the problem with the chain to the audience at length.
``The sauce makes you shit.'' *crowd laughs* ``No, they put a sauce in the tacos that makes you shit and poop a lot.'' *crowd laughs harder* ``The sauce they put in the tacos makes you shit and piss all over yourself!''
Near the end of the night, he said, ``I have two more encore songs to do, but first let me do this song....'' Two songs later, he said, ``The next song is the last song. But first...'' and did another song. Even after the last song, he decided to do another. His handler kind of shrugged and sighed, making a hilarious look. He made all his farewells, explained when he'd try to be back, said every possible good bye... and then did another song. A few songs before the end, the guy gave him a FDNY hat to wear, but it ended up falling off until he put it on backwards.
At one point some random girl from the crowd next to us (that kept on passing a Gatoraide bottle containing Bob knows what) ended up grabbing a hold of my arm for a couple of songs, dancing with me and making me cheer with her. Random.
The most amazing song of the night was a song about Angry Atom. About Angry Atom's show that night! When he said the crowd roared like a lion, he meant us! Yay! It was kind of cool, hearing him refer to events that had just transpired. Also, it was cool how he changed his usual ending (``Rock over London, rock on Chicago'') to ``Rock over London, rock on New York City (once New York, New York). I didn't know that he did that. I wonder if he changes it if he records an album in a different city. We were so close to the stage, I got to shake his hand as he walked off.
So it was an amazing incredible evening. Any time he's in town, I'll be there again. Wow. Rock over London, rock on New York City! White Castle, it's what you crave!