Monday, July 20, 2009

Because I Sez So

The binder should’ve been a tipoff.

Shortly before the New York Dolls took the stage in Charlotte, NC, a black-clad stage hand propped a three-ring binder beside the microphone stand for lead singer David Johansen, a binder full of song lyrics. Considering that the Dolls have only released four official albums since 1973--for a total of 46 tracks--it seems like maybe he could’ve committed the words to memory by now, instead of doing a Kinko’s printed karaoke version of “Muddy Bones”.

You can clicky over to BitchBuzz to read the rest of my take on the New York Dolls appearance in Charlotte. I've been a Dolls fan forever--my neighbors on all sides can attest to how often I shout along with "Personality Crisis"--so it stung to file this concert under D-for-Disappointment.

My spirits were briefly lifted after the show when Original Recipe guitarist Sylvain Sylvain1 wandered out to chat with fans and graciously sign anything that was shoved into his hands. I choked down all of my nerves in an attempt to say something to him that wasn't completely stupid ("GOOD SHOW!") or lame ("GOOD SHOW!") or insane ("I AM THE KING OF THE FISH PEOPLE!") but he interrupted me before I could tell him that lemon was my favorite color. "Everyone should call Tremont Music Hall and tell 'em to book my band again." He smiled for a picture. "The Sylvain Sylvain Band".

Really, Syl, a promotional message? Really? I felt like Ralphie in A Christmas Story when he tears open his Little Orphan Annie decoder ring and realizes that the secret code says "Drink More Ovaltine."

From the reviews I've read of the Dolls other spring shows, Charlotte seems to be the oddball performance and the only one where their energy dropped below Amphetamine levels.2 Hopefully I'll catch them again down the road so they can change my mind. Until then, my neighbors are just going to have to suffer.

1 The Dolls lineup has dwindled to two founding members after the deaths of axeman Johnny Thunders, drummer Jerry Nolan and bassist Arthur "Killer" Kane. It's somewhat unsettling, though, to realize that the Dolls Version 2.0 have been together longer than the Originals.

2 In fairness to the rest of the band, the only lackluster performance came from pocket-sized frontman David Johansen. The rest of 'em spent the eighty minute show sneering and solo-ing hard enough to make their eyeliner run.


starpower said...

Bummer you got a bad show! I saw them in LA last spring and thought it was pretty fantastic. Mr. Johansen was indeed on. If anything, he always fascinating looking. Hope you got a good enough view to witness how his face has evolved from his early Dolls days, his Buster Poindexter fling and now, more mouth than ever. Who knew it was possible? Some AWESOME band from Toledo opened for them; new school version of Dolls-esque glam rock. The singer was only like 18 but had a metal cry like no other. Which would be a better story if I remembered their name. Will try.

MonsteRawr said...

I worked a Olivia Newton John concert and laughed myself stupid when we had to set up monitors so she could read the lyrics as the songs played. Nothing makes me loose respect for an artist quicker than when they can't be bothered to remember their own lyrics.

Felicia said...

Weird, I heard the show here in Minneapolis was great. You should've asked David about his stint on Scrooged...

J-Money said...

starpower: Our opening band was Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears who were beyond awesome. I highly recommend 'em to anyone who digs James Brown-style funk with more than a little bit of Texas-sized attitude.
Also, the Saxman (or Saxboy, since he looked about 17) named his baritone Lisa. Massive points for that.

monsterawr: I think I know all of ONJ's lyrics just from the time I've spent waiting for the next available bank teller.

felicia: True story, when bassist Arthur Kane was estranged from the band and in the middle of his booze-days, he caught a midday showing of "Scrooged" on cable and was so freaked out by seeing D-Jo that he launched himself out of his kitchen window.

They cover it in the movie NY Doll which is available for immediate viewing on Netflix. I highly, highly recommend it to even the most casual of casual fans.

Scribe said...

Love the post and your posts on BitchBuzz.

I'm sorry you were disappointed. It sucks when you're looking forward to a performance only to find out the lead singer can't even remember the lyrics. I sometimes can't remember my own name but I don't have to get up on stage to do that.

By the way, I nominated your site for two awards. Check out my blog. I'm new to the whole blog thing but wanted to recognize those I follow almost daily. You a funny lady, J-Money.