By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
By Roy Edroso
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
By Zachary D. Roberts
Guitar in hand, Shepherd accosts the crowd"What's fucking up?"to renewed cheering. Some girls close to the front whisper to each other and point. It would be nauseating if it all weren't so appropriate. ET:11 has all but engineered a true rock concert.
"We like to do it that way," Shepherd says later, "and besides, it's so much different than all the other bands." He's right, too. Some of the other acts appearing on the bill, like Kill Holiday and Boy Sets Fire, downplay their own performances to the extent that it seems they're embarrassed to even be here. Shit, Artie Shepherd is known more for mimicking Robert Plant's demeanor than Eddie Vedder's. You got a problem with that?
It's been a year of mixed blessings for Error Type:11. Five tours, most notably this summer's jaunt with their label mates, carved the band into the hearts and memories of young emo-rockers across the country. "I bring the arena wherever I go," says Shepherd of his uniformly haughty stage presence, be it in a club, bar or basement in the middle of nowhere.
A few months earlier they supported a successful European tour for the veterans of Samiam. This sort of traveling, though it is the backbone of any self-respecting young rock group, can take its toll. But what did not ruin Error Type:11 has only made the band more determined to be rewarded for their efforts. And Error Type:11 remains in on the joke. "We don't play shows for industry people," Shepherd says as he and the boys prepare to play a big industry show this night. "We pay shows for kids who want to see us." If, of course, they can get tickets.
Opening the set with two proven crowd-pleasers, "Take a Bow" and "Adventures in Conversation" (both from ET:11's self-titled debut LP), is another clever move. The faithful can't help but sing along. The crowd shouts the verse: "Set 'em up, knock 'em down," and Shepherd's microphone becomes superfluous for the rest of the song. Eric Matheu strikes a nearly casual pose behind the drums, while guitarist Phil Hanratty and bassist Adam Marino remain on their feet but seem equally relaxed.
Shepherd, meanwhile, comports himself like a true headlinerthat is, were he headlining over, say, the Rolling Stones. At times I wonder if the people around me, many of them ex-hardcore scenesters, actually get the point or if they mistake his arrogance for some sort of faux-pas. "I don't care," he says. "The spotlight's on me. I'm the star. Everyone else can fuck off."
"I Hope All Your Dreams Come True" is announced as the last song. It's the very first song Error Type:11 ever wrote together.
"Do any of you guys own our first record?" Shepherd asks, drawing the obligatory cheers. "This is the last song on it. We're retiring this one after tonight."
Minutes later, the last line is sung: "I never did anything wrong." Now you dispense with being humble and just rock-the-fuck-out, well...how could you make a mistake? Artie Philie
THE SICKENING TRIUMPH OF MIKE 'SPORT' MURPHY
As I watched the sun rise from my seat by the windows of Long Island Jewish Medical Center's ER, it occurred to me that Mike "Sport" Murphy's show at Thread Waxing Space was much like the bout of food poisoning that I was being treated for. It was intense, painful and riveting, with moments of humor and touches of out-of-body otherworldliness that I had never experienced before.
Feeling drunk before 8 p.m. is never a good omen. Feeling drunk before 8 p.m. when you haven't tossed back anything stronger than Diet Snapple all day is even worse. I should've turned around when these thoughts crossed my mind last Friday, but disembarking onto the sidewalk on lower Broadway was no small feat, considering I was already starting to see double. While I waited on the line for CMJ badge holders, a kid with spiky hair the color of Granny Smith apples laughed at my obvious discomfort and joked that my face had turned the same shade as his 'do. I wanted to chuck all over his platform Doc Martens, but I didn't want to get booted before checking out the acts that I'd already suffered so much to see.
The evening offered five bands representing Kill Rock Stars, a small Washington state label that dabbles in the fringes of numerous genres. The company's roster is so diverse that it's impossible to define a KRS sound, but there's definitely a KRS feel: a guitar-oriented earnestness that gives its wide array of acts an art-for-art's-sake genuineness that's nearly impossible to come by these days.
Sixties girl-group heroine Ronnie Spector and punky popsters Bratmobile were the headliners, but my reason for being, former Skels frontman Murphy, had just hit the stage when I made it up to the second-floor performance space. Because the entrance to the room is actually behind the stage, the first thing that hits you is the glare and heat from the stage lights. The second thing that hits you is the realization that there is absolutely no air conditioning in the joint. That winning combination forced me to spend the first two numbers of Sport's set in the ladies room, in a failed attempt to keep nausea at bay. Rationalizing that since I was already presenting the symptoms of a wicked hangover I might as well drink, I downed a $6 can of tepid Rolling Rock and settled into one of the folding chairs at the back of the room.