Girls Against Boys, Clockcleaner

July 22, 2007

“Let’s party like it’s 1995,” a fragment of eavesdropped conversation while in line at the Bowery Ballroom for the Girls Against Boys play Venus Luxure No. 1 Baby show. 1993 would be a little more accurate, but the point is well made.

Clockcleaner played the opening set to a thin but growing audience. Their music fit into the theme of the evening, and has been compared to aggro-noise rockers (and GVSB labelmates) The Jesus Lizard and other post-hardcore Touch and Go artists, with dark aggressive sounding riffage and partially appalling partially humorous lyrics.

A certain amount of respect is due to a flying V and frequent expectoration-high-kick combos. Throw is some rumbling 5-string bass action, growling back-ups and a drummer brutalizing his kit, and you get the picture. But after the singer says something to the effect of, “Show me all of the women. Show me all of the white women,” I’m not sure if the audience was ready to cheer or protest.

Girls Against Boys opened (obviously) with “In Like Flynn,” and the nostalgia was quick to set in. The fourteen year old songs sounded surprisingly fresh, and for a band on some sort of semi-permanent hiatus, they sounded (and looked) about the same as when we last saw them. The band sounded most vibrant on longtime favorites, “Let Me Come Back” and “Bulletproof Cupid,” and though the concept was to play the entire album from start to finish, requests were frequently shouted (hopefully in jest).

While the aging process has been kind to GSVB, it was slightly unnerving to take a look at the crowd. It was the first show in quite a while that I didn’t feel like one of the oldest people in the room, and it’s not like I’m headed to see Justin Timberlake every week. I was surprised everyone could get babysitters, and thought maybe on-site daycare would have been a good idea.

With the release of Play, an indie-rock children’s record available on DeSoto Records that features artists like Channels (ex-Jawbox), and major bands like Fugazi on hiatus for personal reasons (read: domestic family responsibilities), I feel a midlife crisis coming on. Do the indie-rockers break down and buy little red sports cars too? (Or do they just get the band back together?… I thought that if you had an acoustic guitar, it meant you were a protest singer…)

Back at the show: at the completion of Venus Luxure No. 1 Baby, GVSB broke into “Tucked In” and “Cruise Your New Baby Fly Self” from Cruise Yourself as an encore, and momentarily I thought they might play the entire record. “Kill the Sexplayer” proved once and for all GVSB can out sexy-sleaze even Greg Dulli. So, if you missed them, fly to LA and catch GVSB tonight.

(Don’t Look Back wish list : Fugazi plays Repeater. Quicksand plays Slip. Helmet plays Meantime. Jawbox plays For Your Own Special Sweheart. The Nation of Ulysses plays Plays Pretty for Baby. Pavement plays Slanted and Enchanted. R.E.M. plays Murmur.)

Listen: Clockcleaner – “Missing Dick“, Channels – “Always Check For Holes” from Play, Girls Against Boys – “Let Me Come Back” and “Super-Fire
http://www.clockcleaner.net/

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