Saturday, August 30, 2014
Digital Digging for YouTube Gold When the Curtain Calls for You
The original name for this "place" was intended to be Rain on Tin, after the Sonic Youth song of the same titling. That name was already taken. It seems to be a dead link in the Blogger world, but I'm glad it was unavailable back in 2006.
The name in the address bar here comes from an EP by Jonathan Fire Eater. They're a band that years later still has some odd hold over me. Flamed out by the time I'd just become musically conversant on my own, they manage to maintain an existence in a vacuum.
YouTube existed for years before any evidence of their live performances ever showed up there. And when they did...all was underwhelming. But this video above, recorded at the Globe in Milwaukee on November 14th, 1996, is exactly what my mind imagined as the potential for this band.
The music starts perfectly at 1:49 with Paul Maroon attacking his guitar in a manner unseen from him before or since. Each subsequent band member enters the stage and the musical fray one at a time...a simple yet tension-building technique that always serves the larger good. The drum beat on this song, "When the Curtain Calls for You" is one of my favorite to ape whenever I sit behind a kit...so to SEE it played here, without two sticks on the snare (as I had always envisioned) is that weird sort of revelation that seems to happen less and less in this digital age.
Just hearing songs from Wolf Songs For Lambs in a quasi-embryonic state, seemingly before they were committed to tape...for me it feels almost obtrusively voyeuristic as that album is pantheon to me. Doesn't mean I won't listen and doesn't mean that it's wrong. And the tangential between song ramblings by lead singer Stewart Lupton? Both tantalizing and cringe-worthy.
The Kills have covered Fire Eater's "The Search for Cherry Red" and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs folks personally told me that as they found their footing in NYC, they were directly inspired by strides taken by this band that's considered. Jonathan Fire Eater is a band who's immediate importance was almost non-existent but who's influence continues to be felt more than fifteen years after their implosion. And for me, it's still inspiring today, in little bits like this that show up every once in awhile. And that keeps me happy and continually searching.