What we witnessed, on August 26th, was not so much a show as it was a “happening.” I am reminded of stories about Lou Reed in his post-Velvets days, holding court in his New York loft, with scenesters and downtown illuminati surrounding him.
He stood in the middle of the living room, kids crowded in all around him. No microphone. None of us used one at the time. The kids screamed every word to every song. A pit broke out. More than once. I swear to God, at one point, the crowd picked Erik Petersen up and passed him over their heads. This is an acoustic show. In a living room. On a Monday night.
As casual consumers drop off into streaming service-style fandom, diehards are finding their way to longer and stranger trips on thick slabs of black plastic. Here are eight songs that stretch pop music’s unspoken boundary of time.
The Messerschmitt Pilot’s Severed Hand, one of three albums released by Thee Headcoats in 1998, is a jumping half hour of nasty, quick and dirty blues-based punk rock.
In plain English, Elton Motello’s “Jet Boy, Jet Girl” is the story of a fifteen year old boy who gets caught up in a homosexual relationship with an older man. The lyric leaves little to the imagination, making the single’s failure to chart understandable. The song has been covered and reinterpreted numerous times. Here, Brook lists ten remarkable versions of Elton Motello’s “Jet Boy, Jet Girl.”
In December 1977, “Ca Plane Pour Moi,” the only hit from Belgian punk singer Plastic Bertrand was released, going Top Ten in a dozen European countries, and hitting number 8 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Despite being composed of nonsense lyrics written in a language that is notoriously difficult to sing, “Ca Plane Pour Moi” has inspired dozens of cover versions in varying genres.
Peace and a sense of belonging belong to Get Lonely’s narrator in a future he can’t yet see. The character who “went down to the gas station, for no particular reason/heard the screams from the high school-it’s football season,” on “Moon Over Goldsboro” could very well be the same sick lover who shouts, “I hope I never get sober,” on “No Children.” His future, one where his footprints are alone in the sand, unburdened/unaided by his former accomplice, lies dark before him. He wanders around town for no particular reason, other than that it hurts to sit still.
Pill sound like Hall and Oates, if Hall were trying to sell you coke and Oates were trying to talk you into a threesome with them. They are sexy and cool and abrasive and danceable and dangerous. All at once. And when Brook saw them at Union Pool, a few weeks ago, he felt like his skin was coming off in sheets.