Thursday, May 03, 2007

Cuz I'm A Punkrocker

No I ain't.

But I've been to plenty of shows with very active mosh pits. And shows that deserved it too... X and Oingo Boingo (in the 80's, fool!); I was even knocked out at a Fishbone show. Don't challenge me in a Mudhoney pit. And I proudly wear my greenstick foot fracture from a Pixies show on my sleeve, er, foot, er... you know.

But people nowawdays will mosh/slam/stagedive to anything. Which means I guess I shouldn't be surprised by the fact that I was nearly taken out at a Teddybears show.

While the punkers of eras past were at the Patty Smith show across town, I was invited to the El Rey to see Honeycut open for The Teddybears. My friend Bart Davenport is the singer for this Bay Area band, which is comprised of SF superstars and well regarded musicians around the globe. These boys got together to play as a lark, but wound up becoming one of Quannum Records most successful acts and indie groove darlings on their own. Their debut (because I hope there will be a second release), The Day I Turned to Glass, is a trippy collection of soul psychedelia with an electronic beat and a big fuzzy heart and left leaning politics to go along with it.

They had just come from a sold out gig in SF at the Fillmore opening for Jarvis Cocker, who Bart said was "a class act. He even let me fix his hair before he went onstage!" But here they were, playing in oh-so-unwelcoming LA, and getting a $20 bill shoved at them by a happy audience member (he we later found out was the guitar player for the Teddybears.) But the crowd somewhat willingly danced along, and the boys sounded awesome.

Of course, they were the opening act. The place was soon packed with fanatical Teddybears fans, a Swedish act (with at least one member of the Ceasars in the group) which does that rock and roll electronica that Fat Boy Slim made so popular. Guest vocals and stuff. Guitars, keyboards, drums, bass. A real band, now that I point it out. Except for the drummers (there are 2), the Teddybears wear suits and giant bear heads on stage. "I put on one of those heads backstage," Bart told us. "I don't know how they can play - you can't see a fucking thing!" Well, I suppose if you practice enough...

The show was fun. The music was fun. The bear heads were mildly unsettling. The videos in the background were all clips from famous cult films (The Warriors, Spinal Tap, Clockwork Orange, Scarface, etc...) where the main characters in the scene had their heads digitally replaced with the Teddybear heads. That was kinda cool.

Now either the El Rey has the weakest stage security ever, or the Teddybears have the cleverest drunken fans ever, because people just kept getting up on stage. Usually, a security guy would escort them off, and then you'd see them back up a little while later. Everyone was rowdy and dancing. Then, a guy decided to stagedive. Because the Teddybears have a song called "Punkrocker" which features Iggy Pop, maybe? They weren't doing that song at the time, but maybe just the idea of it? I know I feel compelled to stagedive at dance music shows. Right.

Anyway, he takes his flying leap, right towards me & Raquel & Bart. Since the crowd doesn't really know what to do in this situation (and the guy was diving at a bunch of girls, and, well, Bart's on the small side) the seas parted and the guy hit the floor. Not before he kicked Raquel in the chest, punched Bart in the balls, and knocked me to the floor on top of a collection of bottles and glasses. Then he was gone. Thankfully my lip didn't get too swollen from the hit, and Raquel got some ice for the welt on her chest, and Bart could feel his nuts again by the end of the night (which was a bonus since he met a hot Brazilian girl).

But really - at the Teddybears show? I wonder how that guy would have reacted if he'd been dropped into a Germs pit circa 1978...