Attacking the Beat
by Eric Lastname
The majority of shows, it seems, consist of standing and waiting, standing and waiting. I'm impatient. I hate standing and I hate waiting. I'm not impressed by mounting tension. So I often retreat to the bar to sit and drink, drink, drink, which is better than the aforementioned. Sometimes I stand and drink, which is 50/50 and A-OK, too, though not as good as sitting and drinking. But what is? These days, very little.
I was standing and drinking at the Blackout when the Winks went on and I thought, Well, OK, they're girls, they'll do what they gotta do to move us. Which, for everyone else, was very little. Four gals in fakepunk garb -- covered in bad tattoos, barely covered in tight skirts, tanks, belly tees, whatever -- take a lackluster stab at punk w/pop and lay on the prefab attitude. Attitude. Great. The perfunctory crowd glance bore witness to a general consensus of GIVE US MORE. You kidding me? Really? No one answered. They were too busy watching the band, loving it, soaking it in, this was their brainfood for the eve. I stood there quietly and still, a real unfeeling hunk of 140-lb. shit.
Was it the flashes of trashy cuntmeat, the vague sexual triple-time striptease-cum-r'n'r that pulled the strings? Probably. But... Why? I mean, I love an (idealized) tumble in the dust as much as the next guy, but I wasn't buyin' it. (Let it be noted that if I had listened to many fellow reviewers of likeminded publications, I would've bought it a long time ago -- their single, that is.)
Two songs in, I went back to the bar area and ordered another drink. The bartendress could barely hear me after three efforts to order. Strike two.
Not to pick on the Winks specifically. They're just an easy -- and easily recognizable -- target.
The all-girl band trick is a dirty one. It's a dirty one because the girls in question don't actually have to be a band. They can be an idea, an ideal, an idealistic project sans real-deal tunes, and people will eat-it-up-yum, so long as the skirts are short and the tits are popping out and the ass is within grabbing distance.
Guys are into it for the obvious: We've tricked ourselves into thinking we're that much closer to getting laid. Girl on stage equals girl in bed. If she sings about dick-meats-pussy, we have a legit chance at landing in there and rubbing one out in the tubes. Sometimes, it is the case. Most times, it is not.
Girls outside of the band are into it for purposes of representation. That's my sis up there. That's my pal. That's my uterine counterpart. And this judgment's as clouded as the above.
The problem with idealized anything is that it usually fuggin' sucks. I don't care about ideas, which is why I don't care about art or faux-danger or manifestos or clever packaging. Intent only matters when the finished product is worthy. And turds don't polish any more crystalline and hypnotically transluscent with sparkly thongs than they do with stained rags.
Bear in mind: There's a difference between being pretty and dressing like a cheap whore. And there's a difference between substituting looks for muzak and looking good while playing muzak. And, and, and: Some girls are both pretty and write good tunes. These are my favorites.
Sorry. I'm still a guy.
Perhaps the most offensive aspect of the all-girl dress-up gaffe is the fact that it negates the work o' naturally (and incidentally) pretty wimmen who can write or play or sing a great tune -- your Alicja Trouts, your Alex Whites, your Stephanie Paige Friedmans, your Sarah from the Hunches, your Jenna from the Tyrades, your so on and so forths who get up and kill themselves for you every night do it all in vain, 'cause Ms. Faketude can don a pair of crotchless biker shorts and huff-puff through a "cute" three-chord Supercharger rip about next-day buttfuck embarassment. And boys 'n' girls alike will love it. It's kitsch.
Why is it offensive? Because it proves that, for most, fashion negates function. This further proves that most aren't worth a dollop of shit on notebook paper, as they don't even really care about music. Not as much as they care about the ancillary ingredients therein.
Headache City preceded the Winks at the Blackout. Two girls in that band, both capable of what they were doing. I liked them.
There was a flash-in-the-pan total femme outfit who sprung up locally and could barely play. They had songs, but you had to strain to hear 'em. Do your detective work and you'll find out who -- they didn't/don't deserve a straightforward mention. Suffice to say that they were as hard-hitting as a month-old sponge cake. If they're truly done, I'm neither relieved nor upset. I'm indifferent.
The drummer was cool because she earnestly tried to play, and she made a keen effort and often sounded pretty good. She just happened to look good while doing so, too. The singer was pretty much useless -- an expendable mannequin w/ McClaren/Westwood written all over it. Couldn't engage the audience w/ a pistol in her paw. Bassist often forgot what the hell it was she was doing and couldn't pull it off anyway. The guitarist wrote decent songs, but lost "points" for consciously assembling GIRLS ONLY for the execution. She was no marketing dummy. A handful of labels had probably already propositioned 'em before their untimely demise.
I find it funny and fitting that the no-talent dugouts who prescribe to the "fashion over function" formula have to so obviously doll themselves up so very pristinely before playing, while actual talents probably scoop wrinkled clothes offa bedroom floors and hastily apply concealer in the car rearview on the way to shows. What some don't realize is that, while looks don't matter, an amazing songwriter's gonna look white-hot if she's lost in the beat NO MATTER WHAT -- band-aid on the pupil, diarrhea on the upper lip, spittle down the shirt front.
Is this sexist? Shit, I'm sorry.
I remember they'd finished their set and garnered heavy applause. I remember very little else. I walked up to someone, maybe Trickknee, maybe Rich, maybe an old roommate or my mom or Sally Jesse Raphael, and I just wanted to know -- who was on next? And it was the Lids. And there were three pretty girls in the band, and they were very, very good.
1854 N. Cambridge Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53202
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