Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Booji Boy and the men who make the music

So this happened about a month ago by now, but I had an opportunity to see Devo perform live at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia. Most of my thoughts have already been summarized fairly well here, so I'll keep this short with some pictures and video.

Seeing Devo was a thrill for me, as I've been a fan of them since 9th grade. I was glad not only to see the band, but also to see that they put more of an emphasis on guitars. It's not that I dislike the synth heavy New Traditionalists and Oh No! It's Devo, it's just that in the late 80s they were transforming good songs into horrible mutations of their original forms.

That's kind of funny about Devo, to be honest. The band preaching de-evolution has infact devolved quite a bit. They went corporate long ago, and continue to go corporate to this day, but it can still be brushed away as part of their image. Interesting, at least to me.

Their audience has also devolved quite a bit. In fact, it was the worst audience I've ever been around, and I have seen some brutal mosh pits. While there were older nerds that have obviously followed the band for a number of decades, and a few punks, the abundance of the crowd were hipsters, indie snobs and assholes. They were obnoxious and violent, and certainly disrespectful of the people around them. At least, that's what I witnessed from my little area, which was close to the stage.

The music was insanely loud. I often wonder why audio technicians think the best way to balance the sound is to just turn everything to the maximum. My ears were hurting, in pain, after the show, and I had cotton in my ears. I overheard other similar complaints from fellow concert-goers.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed myself, and even snagged a free souvenir. When Mark Mothersbough, lead singer of the band, was throwing out cheap plastic energy dome hats (as seen on TV), one flew my way. I reached up in the air and grabbed it, pulling it down and refusing to let go as others sought to yank it away. The day I can't outmuscle a hipster is the day I stop going to concerts. The hat was slightly battle damaged, but that just makes for a better story.

It looks like the spud boys are somewhat worn as well, resembling actual potatoes (besides drummer Josh Freese, member of The Vandals). Whereas Iron Maiden were in great shape when they rolled into the area, Devo are a little worse for wear. Still, they put a lot of energy into the show, and the guys seemed genuinely happy to be performing for such a big crowd. I noticed Bob 1 and Bob 2 exchanging glances and smiles during the performance. I was pretty happy, too.

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