DNA keeps an audio archive, with streams of the shows for 2 weeks after. If you want to hear it, you can. http://cerebrum.dnalounge.com/archive/
Pre-show: Friday, sleep was problematic. Then I was absolutely not hungry after I woke up. I tried drinking a can of Dew, figuring that something sweet would at least hold me for a while, but couldn't finish it all. I dumped the rest into my half-empty water bottle. Then I had trouble getting out the door. I managed to forget the evening bag I'd packed with my lipstick and the little notebook. Argh. Parking was ass, but I arrived at the door more or less by 9. I was disoriented, and wound up on the wrong side of the street.
Tif met me with my ticket (I'd thought I could make it earlier, but apparently not) and I went in. I got myself a 7-up with a cherry, and then we found a nice cozy corner upstairs with a seat where I could soak in the ambiance without getting either stomped upon or straining my knee. It was an all-ages show. There were a couple kids around. One woman was dancing with a toddler. (Aww.) There were two little girls, somewhere in the seven to twelve age range, running around being adorable. One of them had wings on. (Aww.) There were a lot of really interesting outfits, as there was a door discount for people wearing costumes. So it was pretty much a steampunk convention. Corsets, bustles, goggles, black, brown, stripes, fascinators, top hats, lights. One guy had an adorable little LED lantern hooked to his belt. It looked like an IKEA candle lantern with a bit of cloth or paper to simulate a flame, and blue LEDs at the top under the lid, likely from an IKEA mini LED holiday light set, the sort with the battery pack. Tif wandered off to dance a few times, which was quite all right with me. I had the internet to keep me company! And some of my Twitterfriends were joining me, virtually, because of the webcast! Whee! During one of the interludes where Tif was off dancing, I noticed that some of the Goth-looking women standing in front of me were comparing how tightly they could lace their corsets. Now, my parents made sure that I had plenty of books in my childhood, and this included classics, so I grew up with girls vs. tight lacing, and hearing the same chatter in my actual real life was slightly surreal.
For my part, I had dressed spiffily, with my top with the pretty beaded neckline and the jabot I'd constructed from that lace scarf, the stripped twist-tie, the hairpin, and the old button; that lovely cameo necklace (my star fought for position with it and the jabot, so I hooked the star on my bra strap instead of having it around my neck), the black-and-silvery patchwork skirt, sparkly stockings, that denim thing as a second foundation garment, my standard black sweater-thing, dark lipstick, black eyeliner and sparkly white and pale blue eyeshadow, just a bit of powder, my hair up in a loose bun held by a velvet scrunchie, and my turquoise feather fascinator.
The opening bands were the League of Unextraordinary Gentlemen and Vernian Process. Unwoman is a simply lovely cellist. (Happily, Humanwine did not make an appearance this time.)
I finally became hungry once I was there, and got nachos. They were low on chips, and just had the tag-end nasty stuff, so the lady sent one of the security staff out for more. It was only a few minutes. I signed thank-you at him when he came back bearing chips, which reminds me that I really should learn at least enough sign to do the social pleasantries in fucking noisy environments.
Vernian Process covered "Start Wearing Purple", which delighted me, because that is one of my favorites. They had another song that suggested that it could be easily mashed up with "I'm On A Boat", which just amused me to no end.
Their set ended, and we headed downstairs to hit the bathrooms and see Abney Park up close. I wound up on the dance floor, and had no idea where Tif had got off to, but I figured that we would find each other at some point, and it was really too dense to move, and HELLO HOT BLOND WITH SCRUFFY FACE AND PONYTAIL AND GLASSES AND GOGGLES ON TOP OF THE HEAD, HOW THE HELL ARE YOU. Let's just say he could have been a character reference for Mike. ;) Then some pretty girl came up and greeted him with a smooch. I wound up dancing with another guy for a bit, but not responding to his subtle attempts to dance a little closer now.
Before Abney Park came on, there was a sketch with the Shadow Circus. Now, last year, they did a really regrettable act, I mean it was embarrassment squick fail bingo humor, with puppets. This year it was somewhat better -- the dinosaur-thing had gone to a frat party at Miskatonic U, picked up some reanimating serum, and pawned it off on his dorky buddy. Also there was fratboy Cthulhu. Yeah. There was some shriekiness with the mics, which made things a bit worse.
Abney Park came on then, to much cheering. I was not quite front and center on the dance floor, but I was pretty close. I immediately realized that I'd made a critical error in not coming with ear protection. I endured it for one or two songs, then realized that I really couldn't take any more, that I valued my hearing, and that I was a resourceful little Lunatic, with a pack of gum in my pocket and a piece already chewed into submission in my mouth. I quickly balled up the gum and gave it a lick to pray that it wouldn't stick to my actual skin that badly, and put it very carefully at the outside of my ear, not actually in the ear canal, because it's one thing to disobey the instructions with things that are intended to be used in the ears, and entirely another to do it with fucking chewing gum. The relief was immediate. (I did the right ear first because it's my best ear.) I repeated the process for my left ear. I'd done something of that nature at my first concert ever, Soul Asylum at the Blue Loon back in ... 98? 99? with banana Laffy Taffy. Lesson learned: I need earplugs, and I need to bring them with me for concerts, Just In Case.
Setlist, with much of the commentary from in between (thanks to the frickin' awesome streaming feed) and also what was going on with me:
"We're Abney Park, goodnight!" Captain Robert jested. (standing ovation) DNA Lounge is the loudest crowd ever.
Throw Them Overboard
Robert declared that they had so many awesome songs (cheering) so he'd be cutting down on the patter to get more songs in. "So I'll shut up now!"
Until The Day You Die
The new album is coming out in one week. "Mostly 'cause we're almost broke." (laughter) "That's not a joke! Would you guys mind if we play you some stuff off the new album?" They start into "Back in the Saddle", which is a Ranch Hand Robby tune. ;) Then they stop and go into the actual song.
[something new] (was it in fact The End of Days? Here's a video of that. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5AdekDGDV8 )
Captain Robert declared that they wouldn't have played this next one at all, except that someone had bribed them with pie. "And unfortunately for you all, they actually brought us a damn pie." Strawberry rhubarb. And it was GOOD pie. The woman who'd winced at the Shadow Circus coming on cheered: apparently it was her pie?
Robert with tears in his voice: "Seriously, the pie was that good! It was awesome!" (Nathan plays gruff chords. Robert: "He was channeling Rammstein for a second there.") They start Aether Shanty. K: "The hell? Cut!" Kristina suddenly calls a halt from her perch aboard the AWESOME FUCKING SYNTH. R: "Okay, just so you guys understand my life, when Kristina's pointing at me, it's never a good thing. Just want you guys to be in on that one. ...Whose fault was it, Nathan's or mine?" (Nathan points to himself.) "Me. She's still pointing at me. Here's another point about my life: Nathan's a really nice guy. He's not always right, but he's always really effin' nice." "Kristina, can I try it again? I'm going to try again. But so this time if I screw it up I want you all to point at Dan and boo. Let's practice." (Crowd points to Dan and boos, with giggles interspersed.) "So if I screw it up, you know what to do. If i don't screw it up, just cheer and move on."
"You guys mind if I do another one off the new album?" "Is this the first time we're going to do this one? So here's the thing There's clapping in this one. You guys will have to clap with me. But it gets really fucking exhausting trust me, so if you get tired, point to your neighbor and they can take a turn."
[New song] Chorus starts: "And so we dance, we pray, we fight, we run..." (Edit: Newbedouin. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7F-LH2CwuB4 )
"Last time we played in San Francisco, we learned from you fine citizens that mandolins were effin' metal." (Massive cheering) "So I'd wanna introduce to you a little instrument we like to call the banjo." On the difference between Goth and Steampunk music: "Name one damn goth band with freakin' joy-filled banjo in it." (cheering) "Not that Goth music isn't badass, but yes, there is a difference." [Abney Park used to be a Goth band.]
[new song] Victorian Vigilante (Edit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVUXz09WA2g )
Somewhere in here, I figured that I had better go sit the hell down. I made my way through the crowd and over to the seats along the outside wall, and found a seat next to Tif, who had in fact just texted me to let me know that she was about out of battery, and we should find each other, and she was shutting down her phone.
There was shouting from the floor requesting a song. "What was that? ... We stopped playing that a few days ago. ... Maybe if someone came along and put a Long Island Iced Tea in front of me..." (Someone does.)
"We were Abney Park. Goodnight." (Cheering, with "Play one more!" heard.) "Do you know what that means? I think that means we gotta play Airship Pirate." (screaming) "If we could get a volunteer from the audience...?" One of the two little girls who were running around all night wound up being the person, an adorable little blonde girl with glasses and an impish expression.
"And now I'd like to play a little song called 'Kristina please come back to the stage.' We do this about every other show. Kristina? ... Just so you guys know, we are now officially doing encores. So that part where I said thank you and goodnight? That counted for the part where we went offstage and pretended like we were really done playing before we came back on. Like I said, we're really almost out of time. And without further adieu [sic], here's a little song I like to call 'Airship Pirate'."
(I leaned to Tif. "I can hear him misspelling when he talks," I said.)
There was a tall and slender Caucasian person with long blondish hair in what looked like rather ragged braids, dancing very beautifully, with a complete disregard for the surroundings, and a generally amazingly spaced-out air. The person had a very nice top with decorative lacing on the back, and an androgynous presentation. "That person looks like a baby Dracaena," Tif said. At the time, I thought that she meant the little girl on the stage holding Nathan's violin for Airship Pirate. When we compared notes later, we agreed that both of them actually did, a bit.
I know the song well enough that when the violin solo point came, and I saw Nathan take the first note, and then another note partway through the first repetition, and then came in on the second repetition, I chuckled. That is the sound of a professional screwing it up, but covering very, very well. I approve.
(mad cheering) "So we wrote this song in the dressing room like 20 minutes ago! ... And weirdly enough it's going to be on the album we finished 2 weeks ago! Do you guys mind if we do another one? Do you guys mind if Erica [unwoman] joins us? Do ... you mind if I like screw up the words and mumble a whole lot? Just wanted to clear that in advance." [tuning] "Did you guys know that Erica was going to be on our next album? Raise your hand if you already knew this. Okay. Raise your hand if you read my blog. If you only raised your hand once, there's a real problem here." (He is robert_from_ap, and due to what was probably a date problem some years ago, his journal is perpetually two years in the future.) (the song has the longest name) " 'Letters from a little boy to himself as an adult.' Don't laugh, it's very sad! ... Thank you for feigning the sadness." (more fiddling about) "Tell me that doesn't sound sad, come on. It's a cello."
Letters from a little boy to himself as an adult
"OK, now it's test time. I'm going to ask a question, and you guys are going to shout the answer. Is everybody ready? Everybody paying attention, everybody hear me? Mandolins are:" (Fucking Metal!) "One more time: mandolins are:" (FUCKING METAL!!!!) "Nathan in a pleated miniskirt is:" (incoherent shouting, some of which was me hollering "FUCKING HOT!" " 'Wearing a kilt' also works," I whispered to Tif.) "Okay, we're going to play Under the Radar. We need mandolin in the monitors!" ("Mandolin! Mandolin! Mandolin! Mandolin!") "Wait, why's everyone yelling 'Ambolin'?"
Under the Radar
The change of surroundings gave me more attention to spare for the less-essential things around me, which did not immediately tie themselves to timestamps or points in the setlist. At one point, an employee came along and was mopping up spilled drinks off the floor. I noted this in passing. Suddenly, more employees came barrelling along, and burst into the mens' room. The door of the mens' room burst open again, and some guy (about 5'8", maybe 220, mostly muscle) dangled between two employees, not exactly limp like a really fucking drunk guy, but more flailing/struggling. A third employee grabbed his feet like the handles of a wheelbarrow, and they flat-out ran the straight shot from the mens' room to the front door (presumably to eject the guy, though there's a turn there so I didn't see the rest), knocking my cane over in the process. The employee who had been mopping spilled drinks returned the cane to me, and kept on wiping up stuff. There has got to be a story behind that.
"You guys didn't let me down though. When I screw up, point to Dan and boo." (Booing.) Jody: "Who thinks Dan's hot?" (cheering) [At this point there was some stage-hilarity, with Dan forcing a switch of his and Robert's place, to general audience approval.] R: "Mind if we do one more new one?"
The Wrath of Fate
(There is some self-deprecating na-na-na-ing from Robert.)
"Next time we do that song I might know the words. Maybe. Okay this is really the freaking last last song, because the club will close and they will set us all on fire. Like that last --" (laughter) "I've seen it before and it's ugly. So this is it. We're going to do a slow song with no jumping up and down. Whatsoever." (I know what it's going to be.) "'Cause those always have drum in 'em." [He is putting on his drum at this point.] [Commentary from one of the guitars, in the form of a few notes.] "Oh dude you are not doing that."
The Wrong Side (I'm right.)
"The only thing we're doing for the rest of the night is selling you CDs and T-shirts. My mortgage payment is due. Please come to the left."
I have been adjusting the earplugs all night as needed, either when they have fallen from their position sealing the ear canal, or to break the seal when things have gotten quieter. Now that things are over, I remove the makeshift earplugs, and note that I appear to have no adhesive residue in my ears, though one of my ears is somewhat sticky, as I had not quite chewed all the sugar out of that piece of gum. I wipe my ears with a napkin from my pocket, then place the now-gross gum in the napkin, to throw away when I find a trash can.
The costume contest winners get up on stage and get their prizes.
I find that I have all the albums except the new one that's to come out soon, so I merely hail the band, getting hugs from Robert and Nathan before wandering off with Tif to where I've parked. The car is nearly a half-mile away due to the assy parking. On our way, we encounter a building that appears to be having a fire alarm, as it is very loud and clangorous, and people are exiting the building at an alarming rate. We also encounter two very drunk young women trying to sing while crossing the street. Their boyfriends seem to think that the red hand means it's time to cross. A police car bitches them out.
Tif and I head more or less straight home, though I did detour to get something to eat. This would have been unremarkable, except for the guys who came up behind me in the drivethrough, on foot, giggling with each other. They may have been drunk, stoned, or both. It was fabulous entertainment, and I went home giggling. Cherry on top!