4/16/08 — Wiretap Benefit at Thee Parkside featuring Cones, The New Centuries, and Pidgeon: a night of totally super awesome awesomeness, save for 2 dudes getting robbed at riflepoint at the side door, which, so long as you’re not one of those 2 dudes, is only moderately awesome. . . .

For reals. Madness (being the cowering neurologics of your psychosexually repressed response to the fine print at the bottom of your super awesomeness contract determining that “you shall be made to run forever in an underground manwheel generator in the event of mandatory nuclear vacation, regardless of . . .” and to money, or to some unrequited, curious FRIENDcrush typography, the damned “curious” and its patrons or the wrath of sexcrazed robots, sour robotmilk, this milkmustachioed post-hipster over here, conjuncted deixis and chiasmatic lesbian make-up sex, conjunctivitis or that milkmustachioed hipster over there) happens sometimes. Yes, sometimes riflepoint madness happens like in old movies laced with aphrodesia (see Aphrodesia, see also what up, mommies) and slung by the hip shoulders of queer actors which is to suffice to say yes, sometimes riflepoint stickups happen here in lovely SF-badmovie HD, AD 2008, when you’re out seening the City dead, klippin’ like a lookalike klezmerfunkjunkie to the soundtrac.

Right, sorry. So I had a really, really good time at Wiretap’s AIDS life cycle benefit at Thee Parkside, Wednesday, 4/16/08. Guilty as charged, sir.

In the early slot we enjoyed Cones. Before the show I hadn’t the faintest notion that Wendy Farina, drummer and lead vocalist, is both an “SF scene vet” and absolutely crushworthy. FRIENDcrush only. Anyway she knows her range as a drummer and thereby sounds pretty good. Fond of, perhaps, 1 or 2 too many routinely experimental chords, Cones are a measured bunch, steadying toward the Great Droning Everything by a moonlit appreciation for terra-cotta grunge; they performed a new number whose only lyric at present is “la.” This stroke of minimalism drew me into background vocals behind the persistent, gnawing ache, made me want to buy a brown and orange 70s-era skeejacket. Ask me, they should stick with “la” for that song and run with it, and not just because it’s in right now, as are close relatives “na,” “ooh,” and “what up, mommies.” Not in right now: “skoobs,” which are the skin boobs that hang around after extraordinary weightloss. (Not to be confused with “scoobs,” which are the little black dots you see right after you are drugged or right before you experience déjà vu.)

Eventually, after a very, very long setup, The New Centuries came up and did their thing and yes, frontman Ryan Beaujolais plunked a PBR bottle with a drumstick until it whoopdee-did. I’d like to challenge him: dueling to-go coffee cups, you know, the paper ones with the plastic lid that would say “Starbucks’s” (see Professor Richardson) if not for apostrophic neglect. The winner will get to throw a recently defrosted 7layerbar into the street and shout, “There can be only one!” because everybody in SF knows that intentional littering is like the Quickening in that it hurts, oh it hurts, but it also brings us closer to the truth at the center of our “progressive” (get with Professor Bernstein for a discussion of dilute, if not downright insipid, psuedo-academically sociocultural terminology) universe. The New Centuries do not have a song about the ethics of decomposition, I mean, about how 7layerbars take up space in anaerobic landfills for like 8 years at a clip where if you just threw them on the ground—they always seem like such a good idea at first, those things, and then the butterscotch hubris kicks in—a crow or a person would come munch it in like 3 seconds. I’ve seen it before in this town, I mean citizens eating other citizens’ just-dropped Kuchen off the sidewalk, out in front of Kaiser Hospital but that’s another chapter. As it was The New Centuries played loud, fast, and themselves, bringing their own booze into the venue and getting snapped by Thee Parkside staff. (Perhaps flask yourself, Beaujolais?) I don’t know, he seems kind of smug. Beaujolais also seems versatile and drives a hard bargain with the audience, whatever you think that means. Bassist “Burgertime” gets points for his hockeyplayer nickname and for wearing halfinger gloves. The New Centuries, the tenor The National in halfinger gloves?

Next and lastly, Pidgeon, who were superradically awesome except a little heavy on the fuzz and doo-doostortion. I waited through the entire set—FRIENDcrush only—to be able to hear Valerie sing and finally, after some enormously loud, penultimate what-have-you, the clouds broke and there she was, the sound of the picture of a lullaby. Which is, I guess, the point, right? Take Debusseyan cacophony for a 45-min drive and then reveal the quiet little rose you’ve made of your miniature shitstorm vacation. Got it. But the thing with so many talented garagistas, chicks and pricks, is sometimes you usually can’t actually hear them singing on their songs. That said, I like all the screaming. Because whether it’s indie screaming or transition-metal screaming or the dude Eagle screaming at so many Cal Tech houseparties, screaming is usually always good ish.

During a break in their set, we actually heard I think it was Micah (guitar, screaming) call out a couple post-hipsters for leaving the venue early. “You’re a bunch of gentrifiers,” Micah (I think it was he) called out to them on their way out the front door. Excellently played! If you’d followed the suspects home it probably would have been to 18th and Guerrero to a Live/Work-adapted luxury studio. Thank you Wiretap for doing your good deed for the month; the AIDScycle folks, Thee Parkside, all the rudeboy stickup artists in the audience thank you for what was a score. Check Wiretap’s website for their on-the-scene coverage, which included interviews with fans, band members, and the protagonist from Grand Theft Auto IV. And sorry to the bros who got their burritomoney taken, taken by a FRIENDcrush. And sucks to all your unrequited FRIENDcrush(e)s.