Wow. Pics by Rebecca Smeyne, more below.
I arrive at around 7:30, just as Pink Eyes, our still-shirtless, phenomenally hirsute frontman and ringleader, is announcing that Fucked Up will play a couple more songs and then kick everyone out for a half-hour or so just to ‘air the place out,” which frankly is a fantastic idea, given that this joint now smells like a poorly maintained sauna that also serves Colt 45. “I can’t believe it’s only the halfway point,” he adds/moans.
So we mill around on the sidewalk for, sharpening our one liners. (“The crowd here is really random. It’s like half-CBGBs lifers, and half-Michael Cera.”) And when we’re allowed back in, things languish for awhile. The special guests are evidently slow to arrive. “We’re gonna do a song to fill time,” Pink Eyes announces. No kidding. Parenthood is playing on a large video screen for some reason. The Colt 45-swilling/-tossing crowd gets restless. Requests are angrily shouted. (“‘The Big Takeover’!”) A few dudes grab the mic and pimp their upcoming hardcore gigs — live spam! Intra-band squabbling transpires. (“This is your fault. This is your ego. Apologize to the scene.”) And finally, Tim Harrington, he of Les Savy Fav, arrives to save us.
This configuration, Tim and Pink Eyes on one “stage,” would seem counterproductive, two big men canceling each other out, like an Eddy Curry/Zach Randolph thing. But Tim’s manic self-deprecation is quite welcome right about now, screaming through a few Underdog covers and generally cracking wise. (“Who knows the lyrics to ‘Victim in Pain’? Hold on, I can get it off my iPhone.”) His cameo lasts 10 minutes, maybe, alas, and then we’re back to a huge lull, full of Pink Eyes’ enthusiastic ranting (“Everybody cool in pop culture has a punk-rock past”) and (another) epic version of Fucked Up’s own vicious epic “Year of the Pig,” which lasts somewhere between 20 minutes and two hours — “Pretend we’re Sun O))) or some shit,” PE advises.
More restlessness. Kickball Katy from the Vivian Girls is now grabbing Colt 45 cans from a nearby speaker and tossing them into the crowd. But then Ezra from Vampire Weekend arrives to save/confuse/elate us.
He is dressed defiantly preppily, as usual, button-down shirt buttoned all the way up, and, well, if you had Blitz’s “Someone’s Gonna Die” in the What Song Will Ezra Pick to Cover office pool, congratul — actually, never mind. No one had Blitz’s “Someone’s Gonna Die” in the office pool. It is nonetheless absurdly awesome. Ezra can scream, it turns out, and his tiny frame miraculously survives in the center of the seething, flailing, stage-diving, crowd-surfing maelstrom his screaming creates. He also does the Descendents’ “Parents,” which makes more sense, and is only marginally less absurdly awesome. The CBGB lifer half of this crowd is now forced to reassess their opinion of Vampire Weekend.
Immediately thereafter Pink Eyes leads us through a celebratory “Blitzkrieg Bop,” whereupon I notice a remarkable number of cops have accumulated near the front door. Given that I am also at this point basically a walking fetid beer-soaked gym sock, this strikes me as an excellent time to leave.