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Saturday, March 8, 2008

An Abuse of Analogy (pt. 1)

Posted By on Sat, Mar 8, 2008 at 2:54 PM

Before I begin, can I just ask: when did rock get so punctual? I have yet, in three days of Blowing it Out, to not walk in a band I came to see mid-set. Punctuality is just not part of the time-honored code I live by. When I roll I don't just roll DEEP, I roll tardy. Nothing crazy, just a ten- or fifteen-minute buffer so I'm not stuck waiting for anything. But the blowout has been all Swiss clocks and German-engineered cars this year. Precise. Guess I'll have to tie a string around my finger for tonight.

Anyway, last night for me was about back-to-back sets from Friendly Foes (Belmont) and Zoos of Berlin (New Dodge). There's history there between those bands and I saw the chance to see them both on the same night as a resolution of sorts. To a saga of contrast eight years in the making.

See, there used to be this band called Red Shirt Brigade. They were young, brash. The toast of indie town. Really smart but also really ballsy. I loved it and was sad when they broke up. They were always a group pulled between two horses of punk and art. So when they split, what came out of it were two more refined projects, better for it, and a settling of the disagreements in Red Shirt Brigade's sound. The brothers Ryan and Scott Allen formed Thunderbirds Are Now!, which started out as dancepunk but then went post-dancepunk (and kept on adding another layer of post- to their sound with each passing year). The remaining Red Shirts Trevor Naud and Daniel Clark spent of couple of quiet years working on an ambient project before forming Zoos of Berlin. At first, it was hard to believe that Thunderbirds and Zoos were really two halves of the same defunct band. But when I started to think of them as Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, it all made sense.

When Good Will Hunting broke out as an indie hit in 1997, it was sold on the buzz of the Affleck/Damon backstory. A tale of two regular joes from Boston who slummed it for years tweaking the film's script (which won them an oscar for screenwriting), and then pushing it through the Hollywood system. At the time, Affleck and Damon were essentially the same guy in the public's mind. Same mannerisms. Same tastes. Same story. Same career trajectory. And then... they started making movies with all that new pull. And the differences in their choices were drastic. Affleck always went bigger, louder, and was working all the time. Armageddon, Boiler Room, Pearl Harbor. He nurtured his independent roots with the occasional Kevin Smith vehicle, but he still managed to become a household name. He was half of Beniffer for crying out loud.

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