Saturday, March 8, 2008

An Abuse of Analogy (pt. 2)

Posted By on Sat, Mar 8, 2008 at 3:06 PM

(Had to do this in two parts cause the blog editor is being naughty.)

Damon, on the other hand, took it slower, didn't do anything mainstream for a while. He made All the Pretty Horses, Rounders, The Talented Mr. Ripley. Stuff like that. Eventually he stumbled into the Bourne franchise, but that was out of the norm.

In this fable, the Allen brothers are Affleck. Their sound is louder, more immediate, full of spectacle. And they've found widespread popularity and toured the world. Whereas Naud/Clark took the road Damon traveled, looking for a way to make Pop and Art be friends and keeping a low profile. But in the eight years since Red Shirt split, I think the projects have come full circle in a way. Thunderbirds, who used to get over on sheer energy alone, found an extra level of musicianship and maturity to tap into while keeping their show a ritual of punk shamanism. And Naud/Clark, to whom experiments and texture-over-volume came naturally, managed to form a really raucous five-piece band that likes to crank it. Of course, I didn't bring this up to talk about Thunderbirds, but about Friendly Foes, the band Ryan Allen started while Thunderbirds take a much-needed break. Like Affleck (I'm going to milk this analogy for all its worth), who has recently reformed his gambling, womanizing ways to experiment with family life and smaller films, Allen confessed to me last year that he started Friendly Foes out of a wish to do something simple and song-based, that wouldn't necessarily take him away from home 9 months a year.

So how did this all come full circle last night? For starters, Friendly Foes made good on Allen's promise to me of a Pavement-style, primary color rock. They were so solid it was sick, and I felt a little embarrassed that Lizzie Wittman (bass) and Brad Wittman (drums) were unknowns to me. They're a banging rhythm section. Apparently I'm that out of touch. And Zoos of Berlin. What can I say about the band that I haven't said before? I've used up all my metaphors. What stood out about their set last night was that it was easily twice as loud as any previous show I've attended. What could I do but close my eyes and take it in the ears? Yeah, it hurt a little, but it was a good kind of abuse. Think of it this way. If Ennio Morricone started a band and its members used to play in a Neutral Milk Hotel cover group and by day ran a tattoo parlor that only inked Dadaist images... wouldn't you be willing to stand front-row at their show and take a little abuse too? Zoos are that strange. That good. That worth it.

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