tweefest began for me on friday afternoon, when i went to pick upthe tweeshirts! (handy tip: 55 t-shirts are *heavy*! don't try this at home!) luckily they looked swell soi was happy. (for your very owntweeshirt with the catch phrase, "twee as fuck" on back, send $9.55 to.)
Except for my hopeless blundering, Friday night's movie fest was asuccess, but I was a littlesurprised taht nobody cried during the Field Mice video like I did when Ifirst saw it. A brief Ivy set and atrip to Stevens College overlook to see the NY skyline were the highlightsfor some, but our rooftopdrinking session with the diehards was the greatest. My mock chips anddip (actually Lorna Doones andCool Whip) didn't go over too well, but they'll make a great dinnertonight! Hey Sheila, where'd all my Vodka go?Elisa:
What an odd evening. First of all, to be in the same room as somany other pop minds was*bizarre* since I have no pop friends here, really. Shyly handing outfanzines, sipping vodka and orange,listening to Keith as he shows us he can sing *every* Field Mice song*and* tell countless stories at thesame time.......Maura:
So, upon entering the room, and seeing so many popkids that mybreath was taken away, the funbegan. I felt a little shy at first , but after being handed 'zines,food. and beer, good cheer and the fieldmice on tv, I was soon comfortable in good company. We discovered thefirst twee tattoo of thefest...Steve T. has the postcard kitty tattooed on his shoulder! Brian: We all wandered over to the river to gaze at the NYC skyline, andthen headed back to Keith's towatch the Sarah Christmas Party video. Actually, we hardly got a chanceto watch it, as we were busydrinking in the great concentration of International Tweeness in theroom....We all went up onto Keith'sroof and bonded voraciously in the rarified air.Steve:
We had to ring the bell a dozen times and shout at the rooftop toget his attention, but the doorfinally opened to reveal.........an entire room full of popkids! Ithought I'd never see the l ike. It was a bitconfusing at first, but my nervousness died down quickly as introductionswere made.... All I canremember of the first hour is sitting there with a huge grin on my facewhile people kept handing me coolzines and other gifties. There were Nilla Wafers and other yummy treatson the table, and beer in thefridge. The Field Mice were playing on the TV. I've seen heaven, kids.
I arrived for the tweefest weekend just in time for Ivy to leavethe stage at Maxwell's on Fridaynight. This seems to be my fate...I was just in time to see them leavethe stage at the 9:30 club lastmonday as well.Maura:
wow! I had actually planned to work on my dissertation proposalthat evening, but when I calledKeith he said that Sheila, a fun friend of Elisa's who simply must get herass on the list (and who does theplume zine) had gotten a + 10 (!) to Ivy at Maxwell's that night, as sheinterns at Seed Records!!! Thatdrew me away from my work, obviously. We headed off to the Ivy show,which was good, although wemissed the first half and thus "15 seconds," my fave Ivy tune, we did see"get enough" and "i hatedecember." So that was fun.Steve:
Off to Maxwell's we went, on the guestlist courtesy of Sheila (howcome these 17-year-old kids arethree dozen times cooler than me? What's up with that?) to see Ivy. Avery nice show, marred only bysomething it wouldn't be proper for me to discuss...
Saturday morning arrived, and i was off to the Kiev, a way cool Ukranian diner in the east village,to meet and greet and eat with my fun new twee friends! Steve and Peter were brave enough to eat the kiel basa and eggs, an then it was onto the record shopping parade.
Next day, we're S-H-O-P-P-I-N-G, were shopping! Mario followsRoseand I around as we makeshort work of a weekend market on Broadway. A silver miniskirt for me, afloor length one for Rose.Can you say Shampoo? : )Maura:
Much money was spent by all, and I nearly clubbed Ella to get theonecopy of the Go Sailor 7"that we saw from her, but then I found the new Softies 7" so I was happy!Wewandered for about 4.5hours I think....
...it was off to my apt. to get the tweeshirts, and off to theclub....and waiting around outside to belet in by the evil club master karen, but finally we were admitted and thetweeshirts on the wall and thetable broken, and things started to calm down once everyone had a beer! Weshared the table with Sivanand Chin-a from Queenie Records, who were fun and had the entire line of Queenie attire for sale--too hipfor words! Also the Slow Children Playing posse had stuff to sell, andzineswere flying aroundeverywhere, so there was a good healthy amount of stuff for me to spend mycash on.Steve:
Those of you who weren't there can have no idea what a sacrificeitwas just to deal with TheHorrible Club Woman....Brian:
I had to get all my equipment over to the theater, so I missed therecord shopping trek. We had fought rather tremendously just finding a free venue on a Saturday nightinNew York, but we couldn'thave asked for a better space. Nice big room, good sight lines, a discoball,a Cinderella's bedroom decoration motif, candles on the tables, a second quiet room forrelaxing...truly wonderland. The afternoon was quite crazy, as our backline drum kit was hours late due tomechanical trouble, and thesound man had to run out and get his hands on a new drum monitor at thelastminute. We sprintedthrough the soundchecks as quick as we could, and go the show underway at8:15 (so quit yercomplaining!). Our soundman, James, was actually quite a wonder, givingeveryband exactly what they needed, and making all those set changes right quick.Alan:
A total fucking waste of time. I really could have had more fun inaVietnamese prison camphaving bamboo shutes shoved under my fingernails.... No! Just kidding!Thefest was quite a lot of fun -the place was reasonably crowded, no one got damaged in the lack of moshpitfortunately. It started late(I dunno why - that was a bit annoying) so we had some awfully short sets. Coloring Book!Brian:
Finally, it's showtime. First up is Coloring Book, playing theirsecond show ever. I've met Jen Matson a few times, and can recognize her quite easily, but I must say,shetransforms radiantly when she steps into the stage lights. If I hadn't seen her walk up there, I wouldn't have believed it was her. John's voice was truly amazing throughout, and Jen's kept getting better as herconfidence came on. I wasoverwhelmed...I wasn't expecting them to be this terrific. On the lastsong, Jen played the snare drum aswell. I always knew when she was about to play a fill, because she wouldchewthe tip of her tongue inconcentration. Very cute, but I'm sure I've made her feel self-consciousnow.Maura:
Coloring Book were *wonderful*, beautiful and sad and I had to buythe7" there on the spot."Time to Grow" has been in my head ever since the show so that's a goodsign.Keith: ...
Coloring Book win hands down for Rock'n'Rollest band member....Elisa:
I loved Coloring Book, Jen's a shy wonder with her tambourine! Slow Children Playing!Brian:
Next up was Slow Children Playing. Just to begin with, these guysareterrific individuals. The entire time I was running around in a frenzy making sure things weremovingalong, these guys werecalming me down and cracking me up. They're the ones who put on the fabled Indie 550 a few years ago,so they know what it's like. They sounded absolutely amazing, trickyrhythms,joyously loud guitar, and a drummer that left several other drummers present with their mouths hangingopen. I asked Brian McLaughlin (Racecar's drummer), "Is that as difficult as it sounds?" and he said "Even harder."Maura:
Slow Children Playing were also great, which was good since they'resuch nice and sweet guys.I'm really glad that everyone seemed to like them, because I got theimpression that most people hadn'theard them before, and I suggested them and I'm just happy that everyonewashappy! Oh and I was sadtoo that they didn't play "thirteen," but Brandon broke a guitar string soc'est la vie.Keith:
Slow Children Playing were the biggest surprise of the night for being ten times better than I had imaginedCobalt!
The third band was Cobalt, who I have seen several times as amanic 3-piece. They play in abluesy, sometimes dissonant style that reminds me of Helium, with Yasmin'swhisper-to-a-scream vocalsas the focal point. for the tweefest, they played as a duo, with Yasminonacoustic guitar and Peter oncello...no drums, no distortion! I was wondering how this would come off. Infact, this arrangementworked very well indeed. Because they no longer had the ability to pushthesong dynamics throughvolume alone, Yasmin's vocals became more nakedly emotional emotional, andthecello added a dreamyelegance that I would never have associated with their typical sound.The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group!
(pronounced like fleece, not like Belize or Dewar's) came up next,playing their silky smooth jazzysounds. Jim has an exceptional stage presence, and you could tell howsincerely he loves this sweetlyanachronistic sound. Thankfully, Mario had taped a couple of their songsforme, and Steph and I sangalong with 'Minneaplois' just quietly enough that we didn't ruin it foreverybody else. Stephanie loves thatsong because it's the only song with her name in it that isn't aboutsomeonewho is either suicidal or ondrugs.Keith:
Laugh's "Paul McCartney" trails off the P.A. as one JimWinter-Ruiz,Bigsby clutched like half thecommandments, floats onto the stage and against all the brutal odds,addressesa (finally) respectably fullroom of anxious, reverent gentlefolk, all bound up in anticipation,StephanieWinter-Ruiz the balance atcenter, young Chris Ruiz and the angel Charlotte la Bonne in the wings,striking poses, concentrating...I've persuaded Matt Jacobson to buy me my medicine and I'm (momentarily)bubbling with the kind ofexceitment that cleared out all the worry and stress of the day. I wishyouall could have seen them upagainst the West Beth's blue and white curtain, embroidered with mirroredchips like some rogue Vegasnight club... "Mij Amsterdam" first, done with such casual touches,brillianthunt and peck FenderRhodesmanship by Chris, charlotte unknowlingly breaking hearts left andright,into "Minneapolis" and Steph's drum brushes swishing away, a sweet anthem that made me long toknowwhat's ouside hiswindow, into "Lucht," a song that meant a little to me and Matthew, but somuch that we'll never fullyunderstand to Jim, as it's about his very dear friend Rena Erickson, whodiedin a scooter accident.Elisa: ..
.without a doubt the Legendary Jim Ruiz stole my heart thatevening. Instead of a drummer wewere treated to a cool vintage samba-type drum machine which promptedooohsand aaahs galore. I sangalong, I blushed, I had a strong desire to steal Charlotte's incredibleboots(you know, those little modboots with the elastic goring on the sides...) Stephanie is so quiet andshy,and yet her voice stops anyonein their tracks. Cool jazz chords, soft brushes of drums, wistful organswinding around, gorgeous lyrics...it's impossible to describe how beautiful and special it all was....... theirnew CD hasn't left my cd player.It's coming out in July and it is nothing short of brilliant, so please pickit up when it comes out!Alan:
The best moments (to me - I know that others might disagree) weretheJim Ruiz set....Mario:
I'm not gonna cover anything that was already covered about thetweefest because what's the pointanyways? But I did want to say that The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group wereindeedlegendary....Maura:
As you've already heard by now, The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group kicked butt!!! They were sowonderful and so nice and did go so well with the curtain behind thestage,which was light blue andwhite stripes with large glitter on it! Brilliant, just brilliant, andalthough I didn't score a copy of the cd, Idid get the 7" for "Mij Amsterdam" which is great.Kickstand!
Kickstand has a fixed band and a rotating selection of vocalists.Tonight, the vocals wer handledby Pam Berry from Glo-worm and Claudia from the Magnetic Fields. I'm notsure Pam really still needsto have the lyrics in front of her, but those elementary school-stylesheetmusic easels really help bring outthe (um, well) tweeness of their show. Watching the bass player bouncearound, I saw all the irrepressibleeagerness, sincerity, and silliness of a fourth grade pageant. They seemtoneed new watches, butotherwise terrific.Keith:
Kickstand played "Tally Ho" by the Clean, with special guest Hamish Kilgour on lead vox. Maura: Kickstand were also excellent...Pam Berry *rules* and the cover of"tally-ho" made my year!!!Elisa:
Kickstand were really cool too....Sleepyhead!
Sleepyhead has changed style dramatically, and I would say for thebetter. The mid-tempo songs were my favorites, with surprising textures shifting around beneathwordy-folky melodies, which always float my boat quite well. The rest of the songs of the songs were faster,easy to bop around to, although with a bit more Superchunk-style guitar heroics then the 'Chunk themselves.It's been a long time sincethe last time I was impressed by a man getting onstage in women'sclothing. Iwould almost want to goback in time to do that back in more innocent times, but the message has evaporated these days. Ah, well.Maura:
Sleepyhead were better than I thought they'd be, because I'd never heard them.The Magnetic Fields! (a very un-twee band)
When the Magnetic Fields first took the stage, Stephin was in aratherdour mood, and you couldfeel it dragging him down. As he started playing, though, and interactingwith the greatly charmingClaudia, the clouds lifted, the songs sped up just a touch, and the trulyunmatchable melodies won outover any trouble that may have come before. Just remembering the names ofthesongs causes anendorphin rush...Strange Power, Born On a Train, 100,000 Fireflies,Candy... Ishould stop, I'm like oneof those rats banging on the feeder bar. One of the great things aboutseeingthe Magnetic Fields is thatthe songs sound so dramatically different live than on record. Therecordingshave lots of Casio soundsand drum machines and unusual instruments piled high for a vagueslyKraftwerk-y production. His liveband has just 2 guitars, cello, and drums, laying the melodies bare.Maura:
Magnetic Fields were good as well, even if Stephin is moody anddoesn't like the word 'twee'! Keith: all the bands were brilliant, even though Stephen Merrittshould'vegotten a good spanking onstage for being such a princess. Did everyone catch the worm from Geffenwhocrawled up to offerClaudia a gin and tonic during the Magnetic Fields' set? Asses kissedwhileyou wait!Elisa: ..
.I enjoyed the Magnetic Fields even if Stephin plays thetorturedartist too far!Alan:
Despite the usual primadonnaness, The Magnetic Fields were enjoyable,doing requests, including one for Foreigner ("She's as cold as ice...")Mario:
...it was great to see Stephin Merritt strum his guitar whileholdinga cigarette. Boy was he cranky. Did anyone else notice that in 100,000 fireflies he said: "someone else's mightnot have made me so sadbut this is the worst nighti've ever had. IT'S TRUE" So much for crowd pleasing. I still love his music though. I think thatifit wasn't for Claudia trying tocheer him up, they probably would've only played about 6 songs. But thenagain, they probably wanted toimpress that Geffen weasel. Whatever.Steve: ...
.I'd even like to than Stephin Merritt if I thought there was achance in hell he'd ever even speakto me!Racecar!
...pronounced like spacebar, not mallomar, which is my band. Isuppose I could write a review ofus, but you wouldn't believe me anyway. It was quite fun watching SteveThornton careen aroundjoyously while the other listies dashed in and out of the room, torn between hearing us and doling out themoney. We had a wonderful time playing, anyway, and I hope everyoneenjoyedhearing it.Maura:
So i feel compelled to give some more space here to Racecar, sinceBrian didn't toot his own hornand i'm happy to toot it for him!!! They were *fantastic*! It was veryselfless of them to go on last, andthey sacrificed a larger audience that they would have had if they'd played earlier, but i for one was happy to see the tweefest go out with a *BANG*!!! They opened with"wonderment,"which is on the "ten centfix" comp. that Brandon and Mark from slow children playing put out, andisthe only Racecar song iknow, and it was great and great, as was the rest of their set!!! Jina was a huge fun spaz, jumping all overthe place, as befits a person with a keroppi tattoo! (we'd had keroppibonding earlier and she iscompletely nice and really funny!) Brian was the bass god, and thesight ofhim, at over 6' tall and withfloppy blonde hair doing guitar god windmills has kept me giggling eversince! Their cd is out on june1st as far as i know (i have to call sivan at queenie when i return to thecity to score a copy) and you mustall buy it 'cos they rule !!! : )Keith: ..
.the members of the audience who left before Racecar will allrot inhell because they missedbrilliance and rockstar posing the likes of which we pale indie folk mayneversee again.
(more to come)
compiled by Dave H. Moon for the indiepoplist (June '95)