last saturday, elaine made a pancake in the shape of iceland. we were cooking breakfast, and there it was, bold as day, staring at me from its warm place of rest on the griddle.
now, under normal circumstances, i wouldn’t be able to make an assessment about the shape of iceland, or any other island country, for that matter. if the pancake in question had been born another day, i might have suspected it looked like bali, or perhaps one of the Hawaiian islands. maybe even one of the bahamas. i might have even just thought it was a tasty little pancake, ready to be drowned in butter and maple syrup.
but this particular pancake arrived at an auspicious time…
saturday followed last thursday, and last thursday, we went to see gus gus at Bimbo’s 365 club in North Beach.
so why would a pancake remind me of gus gus, or vice versa? well, gus gus hails from iceland, and their latest CD, which i purchased two weeks ago, has some nifty artwork i admired that shows an outline of iceland sitting in the middle of a large red dot (buy the album – you’ll see what i mean). so there you have it – the iceland-pancake connection.
i didn’t really know what to expect from the show. a no-name act was opening, and i had no idea whether there would be a crush of gus gus fans swarming the club doors like visigoths at the gates of Rome. maybe gus gus was past its prime, and i, being a die hard fan, was the only one eagerly awaiting the show.
we got there just as the doors were opening, not to a gaggle of rabid fans, but to about six people yawning mildly – ‘oh, they opened the doors? cool.’
concerned about the paltry seating at Bimbo’s, we walked calmly (not wanting to appear too eager) in search of seats. we were faced with a sea of empty chairs and tables, their empty surfaces beckoning to be filled with posteriors, drinks, frivolity, and maybe band propaganda.
it was then that the first happy accident occurred. we were circling two tables like vultures, along with another couple, trying to decide which offered the best view, which had the right ‘vibe.’ we both settled on the same table, as it happens, and so decided to sit together (since all tables were for five). joy and kevin (and soon after, their friend Nikki) were just what the doctor ordered in terms of table mates – real, nice people. friendly, interesting, funny, the right side of kooky, and just the opposite of pretentious.
so, with cool companions in evidence, we were ready for the show. the opening act, balligomingo, came out shortly after 8pm – two women to sing, one shaved-bleached-blond-tattoed man to twiddle knobs, and the blandest video backdrop you could imagine (think blue, think ‘balligomingo’ in white text, and put them together). they could sing, they could stalk the stage, and they made nice music, but it was all just foreplay.
gus gus took the stage at 9:30pm, and from the first beat, we were enslaved. all songs save one came from their latest album (Attention), and without exception, they remixed the tracks so they sounded shiny and new. no need to blather. the lights were right, the beat was right, the video was right. the house had filled, and everyone swayed and bounced and joined the gus gus euphoria.
what more to say? great show and new friends to boot. next stop – amon tobin and dj food.
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