Best Wednesday Bill You Probably Missed

by Isaac on 09.22.2011

Maybe I’m a little biased, since I have a direct connection to two of the bands, but this was a fantastic show. Yesterday, The Comet Tavern had a full bill featuring, The Shitty Dudes, the Fabulous Downey Brothers, Ubik., and Airpocalypse. While you were off watching The Flaming Lips at the Puyallup Fair, I was watching this:

(I understand if you don’t watch this. It’s just about the shittiest video ever. You can’t understand a thing. I miss the real camera.)

The Shitty Dudes opened the set with their own brand of absurd, character-driven trash all the way from “Florida.” By their own account, they “held a trucker at gunpoint for 72, really intense hours,” to get to the show. With bayou-hick voices, these guys sang songs with titles like Alligators are Dangerous and Disneyland Ain’t What It Used To Be. All of them were just as hilarious as you would expect. Add to that a drum set made out of cookie tins, a cardboard box and a bottle and you’ve got the essence of shitty. Despite all this, though, they crowd was into the set. Personally, my face hurt from the laughing. The Shitty Dudes are so good at being bad.

Shitty Dudes

The Shitty Dudes, fixin' the "Drum Set."

As you can imagine, the drum set was less than cooperative throughout the set and the guitar cut out several times, but the characters filled the gaps with little one-off comments like, “hey, stop playing…the song’s already over, man,” and “that’s it, we gotta get you a store-bought drum set.” Between songs, they tried to share with us their love of Jesus and snake handling, which you might be able to make out in the video above. There were a few “praise breaks” that involved talking in tongues and handling rubber snakes, which, according to them, “aren’t as good as the real thing,” but okay in a pinch. It was hard to tell what was scripted shit, and what was accidental shit. The show was entertaining, and that’s what counts.

After the Shitty Dudes came The Fabulous Downey Brothers, whom I have talked about before. As far as I know, this was their first show without “J” so there was a little less dancing involved. Still, the show was what you would expect from the FDBs. They played tight, and there was only a hint of drama towards the end of the set involving their metronome. In my personal opinion, it’s not cheating to use a click track for a live show (I’ve done it). Anyway, that story is not worth illustrating.

As an aside, I would like to point out that the sound man for Comet was totally on it for this show. I mean, he had to mic a cardboard box! Beyond that, though, his balance was great, and I could actually understand the lyrics sung by all the bands. Great job, guy. Ok, back to the bands.

Eric From Ubik

Eric, the Tenor Bass player in ubik., wearing his specailly-dyed labcoat.

Next came my coworker and fellow show blogger’s band, ubik. Michelle, the lead singer, was apparently the main brain behind the bill. Of course, Eric, my coworker, campaigned for the Fabulous Downey Brothers to be included. He even dyed his labcoat blue for the event, as seen in the photo.

ubik., spelled with a lower case “u” and period at the end, has been around for a while and draws an interesting crowd. A lot of the people in the crowd were faces from other Seattle bands like 7 Year Old Blind Girl. Michelle apparently knows everybody and everybody knows her. I’ve picked Eric’s brain about it a little, and even seen the Michelle effect in action. She’s great at politely stopping on the street and having brief conversations with people about upcoming shows and other pleasantries. I’m not sure if she remembers everybody’s name, but she seems used to people coming up and randomly talking to her. A veteran of the scene, if I ever saw one.

ubik. has a science theme about them. Eric’s lab coat and extensive arsenal of pedals might have something to do with that. Musically, they are a head-bobbing, mechanical chugging sound with metal tendencies. There was some appropriate moshing. ubik. does a great job playing with rhythm and breath in their music. GOD DAMN IT! I hate how they format their name, though. I’m sick of starting sentences with it. Anyway, the stringed instruments play with marionette spider fingers that scream time-whore and technical proficiency. The drummer, Tyler, is tight and precise. That said, ubik. is not so mechanical that emotion falls by the wayside. Listening to their music brings to mind an image of an industrial assembly line putting out uncanny humanoid robots that systematically turn on their creator, rioting until their mother is nothing but twisted metal. I hope that image is brutal enough for you. Word is, they have a new album on the way, so look for that. All in all, they seemed a little out of place for this bill, but nobody seemed to care.

Speaking of out of place, Airpocalypse ended the show with their colorful lip/finger-sync air explosion. For those that don’t know, Airpocalypse is an “air band,” meaning the only instruments they play, are in the collective imagination. Their choreography is tight and they can pump up the crowd. With no instruments to distract people, they choose instead to peacock their looks into over the top rock star styles that include tight leather or spandex pants, long hair, makeup, mohawks, beads, sparkley things, confetti and wigs. With the surplus of stage space afforded them by a lack of amps, the crowd was invited up for a dance. It was a short set mashed with a few of the most popular audience pandering karaoke songs you can imagine. It worked, and the only reason it worked was because they pulled out all the stops with their showmanship, singing into a comb, dancing around, synchronizing their movements. Like any self-respecting band, they obviously practiced. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any good photos to share because my camera phone is no substitute for anything. It is at this point that I would have posted the video of them competing on America’s Got Talent, but it has been removed within the last 24 hours for copyright infringement. Dick move.

So, I hope you got a good view of the Flaming Lips after you finally stopped your nose and wallet from bleeding yesterday. I had a great time sipping cheap beer and watching 4 absurdly wonderful local acts perform for $6. If I had the choice again, I wouldn’t have done anything different.

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