Sunday, October 4, 2009

dana b's RAT OPRERA report (10/3/09)

We couldn't make it to the debut of the Rat Opera at Churchill's, so dana b. was kind enough to take some mental notes and fill us in on what we missed. All text and video by her.

So, we wanted to go see Shitstorm play at a house party, mostly because we wanted to go to a house party. You should write a blog post about how house parties rule and there should be more of them. Oh yeah, you should also mention that Sleeper made those projections for Space Voodoo Crystal.

Anyway, instead we ended up going to the Rat Opera at like 10:30. When we first walked up a guy at the door handed us a program reading, “Hearing Damage aka The Rat Opera,” with a picture of Rat coming out of a bleeding ear. Inside, we saw a set by that dude Alex Diaz and Eric Lopez (isn’t that Tee Pee?) and some drummer who I really liked a lot but didn’t catch his name [the video below reveals it to be Ed Wilcox...this trio has been killing it lately - Ed.]. He played the drums with his elbows. They seemed like they might be just jamming, but it was cool. Tee Pee played the saxophone and Alex Diaz played some sort of noise making knob object.

The Opera was a loose collection of anecdotes and pantomime punctuated by short songs expanding on the stories. There are two things about the Rat Opera that immediately stood out to me. First, the band sounded like a Guided By Voices cover band singing about Rat. Second, it was short. The whole thing probably only lasted about an hour and a half. We were out of Churchill’s before 1AM. Usually when I see Rat at Churchill’s it sounds like a-tonal screeching, it’s at like 3:30 in the morning and lasts forever.

I counted five people dressed like Rat Bastard in sunglasses, black beanies and Guided by Voices t-shirts (six if you count Rat). I also counted three people wearing cowboy hats. That reminds me—we were about half the age of most of the audience. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I saw anyone I knew there the entire time. It kind of added to the cool uncoolness of it. I imagined that all the people were Rat’s contemporaries and “real” friends. I think I was probably right.

Preceding each Guided by Rat Voices song, someone came up on stage and said a few words about Rat. Each person would either recite a personal experience or read from a letter that would dictate the content of the next song. Sometimes there were projections of Rat’s face and people acting out the story in the background. They talked about Ratcapella, Rat sleeping during recording, Rat falling off of airplanes, etc.

The whole production wasn’t exactly what I would called “narrative.” Some pieces were better than others. My favorite part was when they talked about the Squelchers. After the anecdote, the Squelcher girls and a Rat impersonator imitated a Laundry Room Squelcher’s set. The accompanying band included a little squelching noise part and afterwards someone in the audience yelled “MORE NOISE!” The other super sweet part was when Scott Putesky (aka Daisy Berkowitz of Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids) talked about recording with Rat Bastard in the nineties. He looked way different than the mental image I have of him, but he was in freaking Marilyn Manson and JackOffJill!

A life-size cut out of Rat was placed near the stage for the entire performance, but it really didn’t need to be there. Rat himself was probably the most enthusiastic person at the show. He stood in the front filming/taking pictures the entire time. Calling him “enthusiastic” might be a stretch; it wasn’t like he threw his underwear on stage, but I think he was certainly honored and amused by the whole ordeal.

Overall, you probably would most enjoy the Rat Opera if a) you love Rat Bastard (or you are him), b) you love Guided by Voices, or c) you want to relive your youth at the Kitchen Club.


tom said...

So you're a cooler than thou ageist, talking smack about people 10-15 years older than you, and then you herald the glories of Putesky, who did the least entertaining thing that happened all night? Why? Because he was in a freaking lousy Broward band 15 years ago before they made it big? Just watching that clip made me pass out at the keyboard.

And the band sounded like the Pixies, not Guided By Voices.

sara said...

she's allowed to have an nice. life is short, relax. have a tequlia shot on me.

roofless records said...

An age joke at the end, yes, and some gushing for Berkowitz, but it's an overall positive assessment of the night, no? Plus the most elaborate comment on age/demographic (reposted below) is more than anything an endorsement of the event as legit. I could see you getting stuck on "cool uncoolness" but take that as synonymous with, I dunno, "cool uncle"...everybody loves their cool uncle.

"That reminds me—we were about half the age of most of the audience. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I saw anyone I knew there the entire time. It kind of added to the cool uncoolness of it. I imagined that all the people were Rat’s contemporaries and “real” friends. I think I was probably right."

sara said...

does anyone know how the shitstorm show was? house parties are cool.

roofless records said...

not sure! i think dana didn't end up going because it ended early. house parties are definitely my favorite, but (as you probably know) cops in miami can be pretty cranky, which makes it difficult to have them on the regular. nothing beats that perfect balance of central location and affable neighbors.

sara said...

yes good tips on house parties..but what helps is to a to invite the neighbors over-give them free beer/food.if you do that no cops will come. you can even tell the neighbors the band thats playing is kind of famous, they fall for that everytime. one group of cool neighbors came to one of the parties i threw b/c they heard two words "single ladies". :) just try to party responsibly, and put any fires out and all is well. remember everyday is a party. you guys have a good night.