Someone else is completing my to-do list. Or maybe just mocking it: Most people don't write down "cuckold boyfriend"; they just do it. I lost my notebook sometime after Monday night's show by the Sounds, and along with it, I lost my social calendar. And so, after scouring beneath the car seat (hello Happy Meal from 2001!), I constructed the following alternate plan for Wednesday night:
1. Research the history and etymology of "Hump Day."
2. Recount the history and etymology of "Hump Day" to attractive men in bars.
3. Politely refuse when attractive men's girlfriends offer to share their gin and tonics with your face.
4. Convince a total stranger not to drink the remaining gin and tonic you squeeze from your hair.
5. Decide that next Wednesday you'll research the history and etymology of "Just Stay Home." At least until 7:15 p.m.
The Sounds, Monday, February 16 at the Quest Ascot Room Maja Ivarsson looks so cute that I fear just one glance in her general direction will cause baby kittens and teddy bears to pop out of my eye sockets. With dark makeup smeared around her peepers and platinum fuzz erupting from her head, she's like a tiny raccoon that just crawled out from under the floorboards at CBGBs. Even when she opens her mouth to belch Harvey Fierstein's phlegmy baritone from her throat, I still imagine that every "I" she sings is dotted with a heart. A bloody pig heart. With a skewer speared through it.
"Johnny's not that rotten, in case you have forgotten!" the Scandinavian starlet bellows to an all-ages crowd too young to be Pistol-whipped for not recalling what came before Avril Lavigne. But they cheer just the same, pumping their fists in the air with an "Oi!," creating a sea of black nail polish. Everyone gets so riled up when the keyboard oozes a new wave interlude that Ivarsson shrieks, "We're gonna start a riot!"
I hear the commando spirit ignite like a struck match inside an excitable 12-year-old nearby. Yes, a riot! she's thinking. Raise your Molotov cocktails, comrades! Let's go blow up a Hot Topic store! Let's burn down the junior high schools! Let's do it NOW! 'Cuz, um, Mom is picking me up later.
Dre Day, Wednesday, February 18 at the Triple Rock Social Club Except for the fact that I'm a white girl with long hair and a dopey smile who made the embarrassing blunder of leaving her Raiders cap at home, I look exactly--and I mean exactly--like Dr. Dre. This is my first thought when I see the Polaroid. I just stuck my head through the hole in a giant plywood reproduction of The Chronic album cover, substituting my mug for Dre's, and I'm trying to convince myself that I'm only 75 percent as dorky as I look. My cowlick keeps me stuck at 95 percent. I hope I haven't dishonored G-funk's favorite physician.
Tonight is Dr. Dre's birthday, and LifeSucksDie magazine is throwing a sold-out tribute party, complete with photo opportunities, a Dre mini-museum, hip-hop porn clips, and live covers by local musicians. Heiruspecs bump and roll through note-perfect versions of "Let Me Ride" and "Forgot About Dre." An all-star cast of Rhymesayers (Brother Ali, Slug, Eyedea, Felipe, among others) unite for a lightning-quick "lyrical gangbang" that reaches its zenith with a freestyle session set to N.W.A.'s "Express Yourself" (or, as they christen it, "Your Breath Smells"). And in between sets, the crowd gathers for a rousing game of The $20 Sack Pyramid--kinda like what the $25,000 version would be if the producers smoked the cash prize.
Host DJ Aaron Money unveils the next category: "Things a Crackhead Would Try to Sell You." "It's something you get from the back of a van," one contestant prompts her partner.
"A blowjob!" he guesses.
Attention, Dodge Caravan drivers: Do not give this man a ride home.
Jim James, Friday, February 20 at the Pantages Theater It's almost too quiet in here. As concert dwellers sip their cocktails, I swear I can hear their brain cells dying. Onstage, Jim James drops his jaw to sing and his parting lips reverberate into the microphone like the sound of an opened Ziploc bag. And the gorgeous, mournful moan that escapes between his teeth rings out so clearly that when I close my eyes, I'm convinced he's standing close enough for me to smell his guitar. (It's the combined scent of barbecue chicken wings, Kentucky Yellowwood trees, Neil Young's tour van, and desperation.) Armed with only an acoustic guitar, My Morning Jacket's frontman falls into the delicate opening strains of "Bermuda Highway," his ghostly caterwaul creeping up my spine like a fever. For the first time in a long while, a live song makes me shiver. When the show ends, my friend and I sit in a parked car, blaring My Morning Jacket's At Dawn, not saying a word. James's voice sounds positively lovely. But it's not the same.
ALBUM OF THE WEEK: TV on the Radio, Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes (Touch and Go) It's the end of the world as we know it, and Tunde Adebimpe feels...well, not so great, actually. As the soulful din of industrial melancholy calls out from Gotham, city kids aim artillery off Brooklyn balconies, homemade bombs explode, and Adebimpe sighs like he's just discovered that all the doves freed in a peace gesture have been pumped full of Alka-Seltzer. "Your guns are pointed the wrong way," he sings, but his street corner doo-wop echoes like a Greek chorus, and none of this story's main characters can hear him. So they listen to the squall instead. Multi-tracked guitar fuzz crackles. Apocalyptic horns bleat over looped electronics. Adebimpe wails like an ambulance. And the city crumbles one chord at a time.
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