A white guy in a kimono is playing out his best Morrissey impression on stage with a Britney microphone snaked around the right side of his face. A crowd of faux Harajuku hipsters (read: white girls in eight inch Go-Go boots, sweater dresses with the word MEOW knitted around their cleavage) cheers him on while he swirls his hands around in a rehearsed manner a la Stevie Nicks. I see him selling merch later. His Barrytown haircut and the dearth of Warby Parkers on his face (along with the fact he was standing alone by the wall) tells me he probably spends the latter hours of the night rearranging his cassette deck and over-analyzing the PC Music catalog.
I am standing alone by the wall, too. The A/C starts to drip on my shoulder, so I move a foot to the left when I bump into something. Alas, a Mortal Combat arcade game now assumes the spot of the hole somebody punched in the wall during a Naomi Punk show last year. I shepherd my way through gay couples in matching Vassar sweatshirts to make it to the bar, but see some people I don’t want to run into. I step out for a cigarette instead.
My only friend at this show is the security guard. We collectively shake our heads in disagreement when a drum-and-bass version of a Michael Jackson song seeps through the opening glass doors. A girl named Katie joins us for a smoke. As she bends down to keep her backpack on the floor, she exposes her peace tattoo which is captioned by a Comic Sans “eat my dust”. Seriously. She calls up her friend that I’m presuming is going to join her to see Kero Kero Bonito later. She doesn’t get his joke because her parents didn’t allow her to watch the Simpsons as a child, even though they watched Seinfeld reruns over dinner. She knows that doesn’t make a lot of sense, but she rationalizes their motives: her dad does work for Disney after all.
I crush my cigarette butt under my boot, decide to walk back in and give the show another shot. I did take two trains to get here after all. “Princess Nokia” is barely singing over her own pre-recorded voice. It’s ok, she did crowd surf for the entirety of her ten second instrumental break. She breaks up her set because she sees some guy is giving a girl unwarranted attention. She asks all the girls to come forward. I can’t tell whether this trend is more of a marketing tool than it is a social movement. I know it shouldn’t matter, but this bothers me the way people who claim to be vegan chow down chicken on occasion, and just shrug it off when you call them out. Ten seconds later, I am pushed and shoved by three wispy Mischa Bartons, who now stand vertical before me, cocking their blonde heads towards each other, blocking everything but a speck of pink light. I decide to walk back to my corner by the wall, but then Ms. Nokia starts playing a song titled “Bikini Weather”, which samples a Bollywood song. I am torn between a wince and chuckle, but her prolific cultural indifference (try wearing a bikini in India and get back to me) sends me out the door again.
I am staring at my Twitter feed, watching everybody live their lives on their computer screens voyeuristically when I see a familiar face a few inches away from me. I introduce myself to one of my favorite contemporary writers–he is surprised and flattered (though he’d arguably not admit on both counts). We talk about the piece he wrote on Phil Varone and his newfound career in Swinger Porn last year, “a deep cut”, as he says. He walks in a short while after he introduces me to his girlfriend. This is the longest interaction I’ve had all night.
I stay for one Meters-inspired Kero Kero Bonito song before I give in and leave. At least, I guess, I saw the headliner.