Thursday, March 27, 2008

Crystal Castles, or, how a strobe light took 3 years of my life but i don't care.

Dear Web Journal,

I am just going to get straight down to it: the show I saw last night was one of the best I’ve seen this year. Yeah, yeah, we’re only 3 months in, but if Health and Crystal Castles can make me feel as euphoric as I did when leaving-equilibrium fucked up and ears gloriously ringing-in spite of it being at Studio B, then you know it had to be good. Not to disparage the venue too harshly. The sound is always fantastic, but I HATE the way they make you wait around from one set to the next, precariously leaving enough time to dissolve whatever high you get from one band before the next comes on.

But as I’m saying, my usual grumpiness that evolves out of 1) cutesy little girls that can’t figure out how to not squirm around next to me and 2) the waiting waiting waiting was totally way-laid by both bands. I knew nothing about Health before seeing them, and even watching all the elaborate equipment set up (an electronic drum kit and keyboard placed on the floor, various guitars and microphones strewn about the set, an actual drum kit in its usual place at the back), I was not prepared for the aural assault to come. I don’t really know what to say---so much energy and all members but the drummer threw themselves around stage. But even in their manic style of play, from banging a single drumstick on the floor kit and doing back spasms on each upswing to swinging the guitar on a strap around their necks, they sounded put together. It was noisy, but it wasn’t noise. I tried taking pictures, but sadly, my camera battery died after the first. So here you go:

Even with the blur of all four band members, the picture does not do justice to what I witnessed. It’s as if I showed you this:

But what I really experienced was this:

Only with additional fireworks and maybe some feral cats. I got lazy in Photoshop.

And then Crystal Castles. Imagine Joan of Arc in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, when she takes over the aerobics class in the mall. But with short black hair and smoky black eye makeup. And instead of to some cheesy 80s aerobic tape, all the high knees, floor-thrashing and bouncing around is to mind blowing dirty electronica meets summer on Ibiza meets her voice being put through 1, 2, 3, probably more, different manipulations, from the heavy whisper-scream (hahh, hahh) to her normal pitch to whatever that distortion is on the song "Crimewave".

And oh! the crowd. With one leg up on an amp at the front of the stage, she would lean in towards the front row and the hands would come from everywhere, clawing at her shirt like lepers waiting to be healed. Does that sound dramatic? Good. Because that's exactly what it was. And most of this is done with a strobe light flashing furiously throughout the entire performance. When I tried to leave, I was so disoriented from the combination of strobe and volume and AWESOME. My friend and I had trouble talking on the walk back. Whoa.

Love, Rachael

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Today I Made A Mortal Enemy, or, how i miss that baklava already

Dear Web Journal,

In all fairness, I was warned my first day at my new job that there were mice. That I should throw away all food and food residue in a specially-lidded trash can (not so special really, just with a hinged flap). That the building is old, has nooks and crannies for mice to hide, that even without proper insulation to keep them warm through winter I was bound to see one soon. But no, in my typical-of-late fashion, I made a decision that proved to be a questionable one. I left out a lovely piece of baklava, a free piece of baklava, given to me in reward for my silly food-related banter by the chef of a nearby deli. Oh, the pain and suffering of what happened next.

That fucking little cunt of a mouse ate my left over piece of baklava.

Not only was I definitely looking forward to eating it, possibly for breakfast, but the first half was so good. So rich with honey, with the bottom few layers absolutely seeped in it. And what with this threat of honey prices sky-rocketing, that baklava was clearly a high commodity. And it would’ve gone nicely with my egg salad sandwich, too.

Yes, egg salad. Somehow I have become hooked on a sandwich I had all but forgotten about until recently (I have Donald and White Plains to thank for that). I’ve had it for lunch maybe 4 out of the 5 times I buy. Luckily for me, my new work neighborhood is chock-a-block with delis. And although Westside Famous Deli (famous!?) has a delicious egg salad, and when I ask for jalapeños on it I get just the right amount, I should really make a conscious effort to break out of the ol’ egg salad routine and explore the rest of my options. Hell’s Kitchen is full of really exciting restaurants, far better food-wise than at the tip of Manhattan. On the rare days when I can stand being outside for the sake of being outside, I’ve ventured for Empanada Mama’s, Amish Market, and, of course, Azurri’s Café whence came the lovely baklava. Which is why this weather has me so frustrated. I need to explore, mostly I need to get away from my desk for a significant period of time, but it’s too cold for me to do so for long. I’ve never been one to order “the usual” so the very minute the guy behind the counter starts to make my egg salad before I’m half way through the door I know it will be time to move on. When there is so much out there to try, why stick with only what you know? Unless, of course, what you know happens to be a lovely piece of baklava.

Love, Rachael