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My Week of Many Shows Part 4: Dirty Projectors/Little Wings at Jensen RecCenter Studio

November 12, 2009 By: Category: Greatest Hits, Music

149428.Dirty Projectors CoverartHalloween is a great concept, but it often suffers from the curse of heightened expectations. There’s a lot of pressure on Halloween, not the least of which is coming up with a sweet costume. It’s especially difficult when the people you roll with fancy themselves artists, because artists are better at making things than you are. As a writer, I’m really good at describing things, but not so skilled at making them. If Halloween only existed on paper, I might stand a good chance at winning first prize in the costume contest, but not so much in the real world where you’re expected to actually assemble the things you see in your head.

I’ve only experienced a handful of really good Halloweens in my adult life. My first Halloween in New York, back in 1998, was a good one. The evening began at my friend Matt’s friend Matthew’s place in the East Village. That isn’t a typo, Matt’s friend was named Matthew. I didn’t know anyone, but there were a couple of cute girls there. I don’t remember my costume. I’m sure it was something that was supposed to be conceptual, because at the time I thought the best thing you could be on Halloween was a punchline. The year before I had dressed like a hobo in a shirt that said “She didn’t look 16.” I was a poor excuse. It was a poor costume.

When we got to Matthew’s place, everyone was watching a Gallagher comedy concert that Matthew had on tape. This was before DVDs. I looked at his tape collection and he had a lot of Gallagher tapes. I think he liked Gallagher ironically, but it was that kind of ironically that was only there to make it okay for him to really like Gallagher. Like how I pretend to think Lady Gaga is awesome because I really think Lady Gaga is pretty awesome. It’s a thin line. The interesting thing is, if you asked Matthew if he liked Gallagher ironically, he would say, “no, I really like Gallagher,” because if you admit that you only like something ironically, then you’re just trying too hard. So he pretended to like Gallagher for real to cover up the fact that he liked Gallagher ironically but underneath it all, he really liked Gallagher for real. Phew. Being cool is hard.

That whole night wasn’t great. We ended up at a party in a big, windowless room where I didn’t know anyone and no one talked to me. But it was still cool because everything you do in New York at 23 is cool. And it was the first time I saw the New York Halloween parade, which is one of the best things that exists. Also, I saw six guys running around together dressed as identical Richard Simmons(es).

One or two years after that, we went to see the Strokes and the Moldy Peaches at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Halloween. I thought the White Stripes played that show too, but I just looked it up and I guess they didn’t. It was me, Don, Matt, and maybe Sydney. Don went as the Dude, but everyone thought he was Jesus. Matt was Oscar the Grouch. He had to spend the whole concert trapped in an aluminum garbage can. I was Soy Bomb. The Strokes kind of seemed like douches, but it was still a great Halloween. I have very vivid memories of Matt trying to navigate the city in a giant garbage can.



This year marked the second time I went to see a band play on Halloween. My costume was tossed together pretty quickly. I’ve been looking for an excuse to wear my Y2K tie for years. I’ve never worn it before, but I’ve kept it in my closet knowing that someday it would come in handy. This year I didn’t have a costume prepared, so I decided to go as an IT guy who was terrified of the Y2K bug. I wore a red Izod cardigan with a bunch of pens in the pocket and a tin-foil hat. It was hastily assembled and undoubtedly unimpressive.

The candy zone.

The candy zone.

Before the concert we went over to my nephew Ben’s place to take him trick-or-treating. That makes it sound like he lives alone. He doesn’t. He lives with Sarah’s sister Julia and our bro-in-law Sonny. I mean, he doesn’t just crash there. They are his parents. He’s four. Here he is stabbing a pumpkin.

Ben (on left)

Ben (on left)

As you can see, he was Cookie Monster for Halloween. Our friend Andrea, who also came out with us, decided this year that she’s tired of trying to come up with creative Halloween costumes and that from now on she’s just going to be whatever Ben is. So she was Cookie Monster, too. (Not pictured.)

Trick-or-treating was fine, although Ben’s still about a year too young to truly get it. I mean, he was totally into having free candy. But the whole going up to doors and yelling “Trick or Treat” concept wasn’t quite there yet. He was also a little confused about why we left that flaming bag of shit on that old man’s porch. “Because his candy sucked, dude!” I told him, but he still didn’t get it. Kids think all candy is good.

After trick-or-treating we went straight to the concert. Dirty Projectors played two shows that night. We went to the 9:30 show, which was the late show. It was at a new place in Echo Park called the Jensen RecCenter Studio. It was a big warehouse space with a fireplace and lounge area right before the stage. Little Wings opened. I’d never heard of them. They didn’t do much for me.

Dirty Projectors were up next. They’re the kind of band that take a little bit of effort to get into, but once you can hear what they’re doing, it all makes sense. They kind of sound like a mix between the Talking Heads and Captain Beefheart. They mash together weird harmonies and African rhythms into a sound that shouldn’t work but somehow does. Like, the first time you heard the Pixies or Sonic Youth, it probably didn’t make any sense, but then once your ears picked out the melodies, you were like, “of course!”

Dirty Projectors from my perspective

Dirty Projectors from my perspective

They put on an excellent show, but I’m not sure how to describe it. They are talented musicians. It sounded good. They were wearing costumes. They played an encore. We drank. Halfway through I moved to the side of the stage. I stood right next to a guy wearing the most awesome Wooderson costume of all time.

Afterwards we went to a party in Silver Lake at the place where our friend Mark has been staying. Andrea and her boyfriend Rosten met up with us. There were way too many people at the party and we stayed for way too long. We ran into Mark at the end of the night, carrying a box of stuff. He had decided to move to Seattle on Halloween while a 200+ person party was happening in his house. That guy’s the best.

Show length: 2 hours
Drinks consumed: 2 Heinekens, 2 Coors Light
Rock points: Little Wings – 6; Dirty Projectors – 8

2 Comments to “My Week of Many Shows Part 4: Dirty Projectors/Little Wings at Jensen RecCenter Studio”

  1. Bishop Bob says:

    My contribution to this epic Halloween? Well, I was crashing on a pallet on the floor of Ben’s bachelor pad, and I carved the pumpkin he was stabbing. That’s about it. I got a lot of free candy, too, without having to go up to the doors and beg for it. Not bad.

  2. Dude, you really F’d up on your foil hat. You left parts of your upper cranium exposed. HUGE MISTAKE.