Images, many rather blurry, ahead.
Behold my hair, jewelery, and makeup! A textual description of all of the below can be found here.
I also wrapped up my left knee, as it's been troubling me since moving to a greater or lesser degree, and it struck me that it would be the height of foolhardiness to go out to a concert that was likely to involve dancing without making sure to take basic precautions against injuring it further.
After carefully doing all of this and hitting BART and getting something to eat, it occurred to me with that I had left the ticket I'd so carefully printed out at home, right safely on top of the printer. D'oh. I texted Az with a heartfelt plea to help locate a nearby copy shop so I could re-print. By the time she texted me back (very confused as my number wasn't in her phonebook) I'd gone two blocks in the right direction for the show, but three blocks in the wrong direction for the copy place. I resolved to press on, as my heels were starting to develop blisters from the shoes. (Which, ow, by the way. They've popped.) I hit the club before the doors opened, and learned much to my relief that I had only to present my ID at the box office and I would be able to get my online ticket confirmed and gain entrance.
ataniell93 arrived as I was hobbling back to the line, and shortly thereafter they started letting people in. We ascertained that it would be OK for me to go up and sit with the dinner section; I just wasn't stamped for it. We chattered about this and that waiting for dinner and the opening band and jamoche.
The opening band was HUMANWINE (they were very careful to tell their audience that it was all-caps, and to give grief to bloggers who got it wrong; they're yeryerown on LJ). The first song was not in English, and was quite lovely. The following songs were English, and while they were technically all right on the instruments, and I really enjoyed the conceit of techno using an acoustic guitar and a cello (guitar for the rhythm), I was very much not into the lyrics, which were rather more left-wing than I typically lean. They did break out a pirate song towards the end of their set, and the audience visibly warmed. unwoman also joined them.
I was meanwhile taking notes on the general ambiance, because it was fascinating and fun, and I want to be able to re-capture it later, both for myself and in case I want to set anything in something like that.
Top hat with pheasant feathers. Little veils; burlesque outfits; black and white striped suit-skirts. Blacklight and vivid-colored filters on the instruments [stage lights]. Little dim incandescent bulbs up in the balcony. The waitstaff are in black with the club logo in red, stapled onto the shirt. Dreads in all colors with stripes and ribbons. Colored nail polish. Gilded goggles on the head. Frock coats. Fog billowing down. Lights merge in the fog, rainbow. Smell of juicy and delectable steak. The light guy is having fun! Brick walls. Barstools. Leather and greatcoats and crisp white shirts. Guy with something that's not quite either a ring or a glove, like silver scales covering most of his fingers and the back of his hands. Iron railings so intricate and suited to the era that has come inside tonight. The balcony is being shaken by the bass.
Finally (mercifully?) Abney Park (I'd link to something other than their MySpace, but their own-domain seems to be infested with something malicious right now) came on, and they came on with a roar and a rattle. They ultimately played 20 songs.
First up was "The Root of All Evil". The leader, Robert, cracked jokes about their impact being like a closing song, and made a comment about a waltz pit. I liked him immediately. Next was something with beautiful violin action, which turned out to be "The Death of the Hero".
Someone brought bubbles! I'd thought when I saw the bubbles that they were part of the venue, but no, they were from someone on the floor. The band commented on them, and the violinist, Nathaniel, requested some of those over there. (Some of them then made their way over.) Robert had his LED drum, which I thought was the coolest thing in the world. The other singer paraded her skirt, and her ass got a huge cheer, which phenomenon got jokes cracked at it.
The third song was "Sleep Isabella". The second singer was having wardrobe problems with her skirt; the audience did not seem to mind. Robert broke out the accordion. The next song seemed to involve "I get used" "and abuse". The fifth song was brand-new, and will be appearing on the next album; it seemed to be about someone building something in his back yard because he needed to fly away. In the setup, the drummer had a new toy (and something evidently didn't work); the new toy was a keyboard that strapped on (yes, a strap-on joke was made). Robert accidentally belched into the mic (hilarity ensued).
The 6th song was "Holy War". Robert cracked a joke about doing a steampunk cover of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (he said it would not happen. ever.)
7 involved lyrics about "royalty" and "shadow watch". The 8th song was another new one. Robert promised liner notes (!) for this one, explaining the story, which was evidently too sad for the club. The burden of this was stating that Victoria has been gone so long; why did he let her leave. (Ordinarily there are no liner notes, as this is extra money.)
To cheer us up, Robert declared that he could play the harmonica! Also, it was Renee's birthday (random woman from the audience who was surprisingly not drunk). Song 9 seemed to be about a paranoid airship captain going 10,000 miles to show us where it all began. Switching back to the drum, Robert blooded himself: this is real rock and roll. He'd hit himself in the face with his drum. (Oops.) The song started over, with the warning that if we saw blood dripping off him, we'd know where it came from. We didn't see it dripping, though. The 10th song was "Dear Ophelia". #11 was also new, and involved "I have never lost my grip" somewhere in there. This may have been the one where Robert declared, "And if I can figure out how to mix it so it sounds like that, you can buy it." I'm gathering that this one is not a certainty for the next CD. ;)
They declared #12 a song for jumping. I joined in the jumping. It was "The Wrong Side", which is one of my favorite songs of theirs ever. (They said that there was a prize for the best jumping. The prize turned out to be Robert's "sugar lumps", ahahaha, and also watching the ladies bouncing. The audience cracked up yet again.)
I could not make out a single word of the 13th song. I was trying! But I was just too far away to lip-read.
They declared that the show was over. There was much protesting. They took a booze break. (The band were drunk off their asses, yes.)
For song #14, they got Renee, the birthday girl, up on stage to hold the violin, as this is the one where Nathaniel, the guitarist/violinist with the awesome dreadlocks, has to play both instruments. And yes, that is "Airship Pirate"!!! We rocked the fuck out. Renee was returned to the audience; her friends were instructed to buy her drinks because she wasn't drunk enough.
The band solicited requests from the audience after that, and pretended to not hear the very audible requests for "Herr Drosselmeyer's Doll". Song 15 was "She". 16 was "Post-Apocalypse Punk". During #16, the other singer disappeared and sat down on the edge of the stage in shadows, and re-emerged in a tutu. Yes, it was time for "Herr Drosselmeyer's Doll" in spot #17! Fully functional! Anatomically correct! Stopping in the middle of the song for a windup!
#18 was "Love". They asked if we minded if they did a cover (not at all!) and played Radiohead's "Creep", very nicely.
The guys with the bubbles were still going strong. Evidently also someone named Peter has a steampunk night at somewhere called Clockwork on April 10th.
The final song involved the accordion, and it went on without injury. Nathaniel was instructed to not play at lightspeed, and I noticed that he was indeed wielding a mandolin (lightspeed mandolins are hazardous, folks, trust me), and we all roared along to "15 Men on a Dead Man's Chest". There was a thunderous ovation, and a DJ resumed music.
We exchanged shots of our respective outfits, including a proper shot of how my hair turned out.
jamoche dropped me off at the BART station, and I had an incident-free trip home, and returned to a nice not-too-cold apartment full of the wreckage of jewelery and makeup strewn all over.