Saturday, August 25, 2007

Steel Train / Piebald / the Format at Webster Hall, August 21

Tom and I travel to the cursed depths of Manhatten for a Tuesday night show at Webster Hall.

Steel Train

Opening band Steel Train consists of five dudes from Mr. Kotter's class. Their conjoined earnestness oozes from their pores and permeates the room with the faint odor Gabe Kaplan's encouragement.

Tom says they are "tight." I say one day, when moldy rockstar grime has smothered their dilligent fascination with their instruments, then, maybe, they will become intriguing enough for big-eyed girls with knapsacks to chase around.

Musically, Steel Train's songs contain an average of three notes, which the gaggling supersilious guitar player standing behind us repeatedly points out while he glances around to see if anyone has overheard how totally boss he is. I teeter on mentioning that this is probably why Tom Petty never really achieved much attention.


The guys in Piebald know what piebald means and they chuckle backstage at all the morons who are not clued in to their irrudite vocabulary genius.

I know what piebald means because I grew up in farm country and that's how we bumpkins describe the markings on a cow. Throughout half Piebald's set, I envision old Pennsylvania Dutchmen snickering at the city-ots who have named their rad band after a cow.

The Format

How do you pick out a 14-year old at a general admission concert?
Easy one: They sit on the floor during opening acts.

Oh, so sorry. It's a two-part question and here's the clutch detail:
They ask random guys standing next to them questions like, "Will you sway with me?" and if the guy refuses, one of their friends will immediately chime in robustly, "Don't worry about it, girlfriend, you're way hotter than him."

Usually, I have a knack for weeding out music liked by pink-lipped girls and the boys that love them. Unfortunately, my instincts deserted me on this one. Although, I will swear until the grave that The Format's studio album is at least three shakes edgier than the sugarcrap they play live.

The emaciated lead singer prances around like a googly-eyed moppet shaking out a nicotine fit. He rocks a polyester-blend I-love-the- 80s-inspired sweatshirt and a whispery voice that makes me wish I have a can of WD40 to squirt on his larynx.

Mike, the bouncy charasmatic lead guitar player is the only reason I stay. Him, and the other guitar player who seriously looks like he's been kidnapped from Cake. Why either one of them have anything to do with the giggling singer is a mystery I will promptly forget about.

Bonus question: What should Lindsay wear to the Barbie party?
I'm so scared. She said she might come as Malibu Barbie and someone should tell her no way.
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