with The Others and Bowling For Fun
28 November, 1998
After blagging our way into the venue, Amanda and I sat at a table in the back of the club tolerating the opening band. The Others were not exactly the greatest band. They had mediocre songs. No image. An obnoxious rock-a-billyesque stage presence. However, we were rejoicing at the fact that they stuck with the essential basic POP music format. No, I'm not talking the Backstreet Boys sort of pop. I'm talking about actual melodies, bouncing basslines, basic guitar chords. Stuff you can nod to, and I don't mean in the nodding off to sleep sense. A group of four girls (badly dressed ones at that) danced in the front of the stage for the duration of the show. We guessed that they were their girlfriends. The Others weren't exactly "bad", but they weren't great either. Mediocre band with bad sideburns. Imagine giving the state of Kentucky the duty to create the ultimate pop sound. That is the closest analogy I can make.
The Candyskins set their gear up pretty quickly and mounted the stage. Amanda and I, along with our new friend Courtney, went up to the front of the standing area to watch. Eventually a few other people joined us. Within the first verse of the first song, I was completely hooked and mesmerized. They understand! There's nothing wrong with creating songs that feel good. It doesn't discount their material in any way because they have sped-up whooshy keyboards and backing vocals that go "oooh" and "la la". For Christ's sake, their big hit at the moment (okay, it made a soundtrack) is about the Hale-Bopp comet and it's devotees. It's not exactly the Frankie and Annette chorus line. To me it was like a Hardy novel. You go into it expecting a mediocre overrated classic, and find yourself intrigued by Hardy's delvings into everything that is out of the ordinary in daily life. And that pretty much sums up everything that is pored into the lyrics of their pop gems.
As musicians, they were comfortable, entertaining, tight knit - everything that really makes a difference. It was one of those nights where the crowd could carry on a conversation with the band between songs. Very intimate.
The one bad thing about the night - not that I really should complain - was the lack of people in the crowd. Dallas. Wake up. You can pack out a dingy little dive if a droney spacerock band comes down from Denton (or wherever), but you'll stay in for the night if a reputable band like The Candyskins are in town? I really don't get it. Is the population of the metroplex smoking too much pot or are they all really into the maths of the drone? Do not ignore pop. Succumb to it. Trust me, you'll feel a whole lot better if you do.
Then again, the night was perfect. We didn't need anyone else there. But when they come through in January or February, I had better see some more of the familiar faces there, or I'm going to start swashbuckling at the next Go Metric show.
Let's Play Bite