Sunday, March 12, 2006
You say you want a revolution? This was my Feb. 9th, 1964
Instead, it's young men from Sheffield (not Liverpool) on SNL (not Ed Sullivan) last night--March 11th, 2006. A president didn't just die...but the war's on. And the Bush Administration is currently as scary as it gets--breaking down a nation as much as an assassination might.
But that's not the point--not right now, anyway. The point is, the Arctic Monkeys played on American television--to their largest audience yet, last night on Saturday Night Live.
And it felt epic. (of course it did for me, but I think it transcended even my hysteria)
They played "Dancefloor," of course. Kicked it off weird, with a lyric change ("stop making the eyes at me" became "stop breaking the ties with me" huh?) For the second song they chose "A Certain Romance," which surprised me and Elizabeth--only because it wasn't the "next single." But, a brilliant choice, I'd say. Really showed what they are made of for the virgins that were hearing them and seeing them for the first time.
We had a time trying to wrangle up being near a TV and reception, for that matter. I knew I could see it later, but I couldn't *stand* the thought that the Lads would be playing their hearts out on American television and that I wouldn't be watching it. Live. Brutal thoughts. So, we had to figure it out. Neither Elizabeth and I actually have "TV" (no reception, anyway). We tried to rack our brains--who do we know that will be home? On a Saturday night? Fuck. No one, man.
Sports bars? They have TVs... Could we convince some bartender somewhere to put on NBC and crank the volume up for the entire duration of SNL? ...nah...
So, we tried our luck on Elizabeth's set (she asked me, "what channel was the Grammys on? that came in OK...") and... it worked!! And SNL was actually kind of funny! Kind of!
And then came the Lads. There they were! on TV! In their Regular Bloke Clothing. No rock star fashion, no matching suits, no skinny ties. Just jackets and jeans. Of course, drummer Matt had on some sunglasses...? Alex, guitar hanging so high on his chest, peered through his shaggy long hair and flashed his big brown eyes at the camera, and that was the only come-on we got. Sounding keen and maybe a little attitude-ridden, they ripped through "...Dancefloor," complete with a killer mini-pause coupled with a camera edit that had us scream like Beatles-smitten-teenagers.
"A Certain Romance" --with all those musical parts and changes of tempo! And those lyrics! Good un, boys! Show 'en what you got. Then there was "that man just yawned" quip with a point to the audience from Alex. Wha--? Insecurity? Were you pissed? Just fucking with us? No matter. A great little dose of spontaneity. At the end, Jamie threw his guitar down, towards an amp, not violently, but...effectively. And then they did the best thing they could do--they *didn't* just stand there and wait for the commercial break to kick in; they walked off stage, laughing. It was subtle and perfect.
One question: what did the "A B S O?" mean? On the drum kit, in tape? Any guesses?
And then. The end. The SNL Schmoozing. No one deigned to schmooze with the boys that aren't old enough to drink in the States. So, whaddthey do? Alex bit his nails. They hugged each other. Passionate embrace, even. Just being fucking 20-years-old. Just saying, "fuck you. you don't know who we are....yet."
Reminded me of this, written by Jim for the liner notes of "All For Nothing/Nothing For All":
"Bands always look stupid at the end of Saturday Night Live, hobnobbing with the guest host and cast members like it's one big happy school play, but no band ever looked so painfully out-of-place as the Replacements did at the conclusion of the January 18, 1986 [side note I must include: the fucking Lads were born in 1986, you know. Jesus!] show. Watch the tape: The regulars are shaking hands and patting backs, but avoiding the 'Mats like a four-part fart, which leaves our boys to turn tto/on each other for amusement.
Tommy pushes Bob, who looks wounded, Paul lights a cigarette, and Chris half-heartedly searches for someone to talk to. Finally, they all skulk off, looking very much like the white trash that got invited to the cool kid's party, and were dumb enough to show up."