Battles/Ponytail at Beauty Bar, June 29

Alas, I am going to miss this show. In fact, I’m writing from the airport at the moment, getting ready to head east for my step-grandmother’s funeral. Jason and I got bumped from our first flight (we’ve been here for five hours now) but in return got an upgrade to first class (a definite solid, as we’re headed to Connecticut) and two round-trip tickets gratis.

Anyway, I saw Battles a couple of years ago. I met John Stainer, their drummer, who was the original force behind Helmet. Nice enough guy. Much nicer than Damon Che, drummer for Don Caballero and former conspirator with Ian Williams, Battles’ guitarist. I interviewd Damon Che a while back–the man was incredibly standoffish, though a great interview. Anyone who references Lee Majors and Farah Fawcett, the size of his ass and bar rags in a forty second span is worth listening to. Their split was acrimonious to say the least; judging by Myspace plays at this point, it seems like Williams is winning. I still think Don Cab is superior, but that mostly goes back to their record American Don, which is probably the pinnacle of instrumental math rock.

I can’t figure out why this show is at the Beauty Bar, except that the Casbah has Steve Poltz and Anya Marina that night. Something tells me both shows will do fine. I’m having trouble imagining the individual that will feel genuinely torn between Battles’ Nintendo rock and Steve and Anya singing songs about whales and moonlit walks.

I’m still not quite sold on the Beauty Bar as a legitimate alternative to the Casbah from a sound reinforcement perspective, but a lot of the bad press from the rock crowd is a little undeserved. Sure, it’s frequented by hipsters who still need training wheels, but they serve beer and booze just like every other venue and the security team strike me as being agreeable dudes. So I’m going to second (or third) cat dirt and tell people to go there. Just be aware that you may be treated haughtily by a certain bartender. I find that kind of behavior hysterical: you’re selling beer in the middle of a “neighborhood in transition” to college kids, and you’re acting like you’re writing the great American novel.

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