"I wish my girlfriend did coke," says Lamb, tonight's bromosexual, show-going buddy. He looks incredulously at the mess of goofballs filing into the Urban Lounge. "That way I'd fit in here." It's a dickish observation, but he really ain't far off the mark: Some middle ager with his shirt tucked in deep, the kind of guy who'd loiter in a 7-Eleven parking lot humming "Street Fighting Man," copping Steel Reserves for underagers, saunters by; A leathery gentleman with a long feather earring dances about like Beetlejuice; A bird in a baby onesie tugs downward on her skirt and a grip of kooks engage in that weird hippie dance—the one where they put their elbows at weird angles, raise their arms above their heads and shimmy like the world's collapsing in on itself.
"Maybe Brian Jonestown Massacre will get in a fight on stage though," Lamb says, a hopeful lilt drawing his voice into falsetto. "They're super dysfunctional." I guess when you have, like, fifteen people in your band, there's bound to be some disagreements. Ask Slipknot...or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. We've all seen the Youtube footage.
"That girl with a boy haircut, or vice versa, sure has a set of pipes," says Lamb. He's talking about The Blue Angel Lounge. They're a psych band named for the NYC club frquented by Lou Reed, the Velvets and Nico. It's ghostly, unsettling and plenty compelling—a wall of shimmering noise, rumbling percussion and an unholy vocal register falling somewhere between Ian Curtis (blitzed on keyboard duster) and a gregorian chant. The stage banter makes 'em sound British. My girlie says Swedish. The papers say Germany. Somewhere in Europe where they kind of sound like Americans but kind of don't.
Hardcore's screwed me up royally. I can't (won't) pay more than $10 for a shirt. Lamb's unaffected though, and cops a Blue Angel Lounge one. Izzat an angel on it? Clever. "You know, Brian Jonestown Massacre is named after the guy in the Stones who died in a swimming pool," he says, and waits for me to correct him. I don't.
Brian Jonestown Massacre takes the stage. All nine, ten or eleven of them. "I'm gonna stay back here," says Lamb. "I don't wanna get contact drunk." He's pretty clever if you don't analyze it too hard. I sidle forward, cutting through a throng of undulating hipsters and try to make sense of the faces I've seen in the Dig! documentary. Newcome's on the other left side of the stage, a shaggy dog mop obscuring his slender face. Carruther's on drums, looking a little bit bored. Some guy in John Lennon glasses, a beret and a Reckless Records crew neck rolls his neck back and forth. If I wasn't so damn classy, I'd mention his uncanny resemblance to a chubbier Andy Warhol. He clicks a stick count on a tambourine and an entire commune of bleary eyed musicians lurches into "Stairway to the Best Party" from the new album. If Lamb was here with me, he'd mention the song's laconic similarity to the Stones' "Paint it Black," but he's not, so I just think it to myself.