In The Venue
with Foxy Shazam and Semi-Precious Weapons
The Sounds’ Living in America was a random find at Graywhale when I was in Junior High. The album opened my sheltered mind to a new music world, even if it did lead to a strong distaste for The Sounds from the other kids in my carpool who knew the words to “Hit Me!” whether they liked it or not. I fell out of touch with The Sounds until I found out they were on tour with a new album Crossing the Rubicon. I guess it was about time to fulfill the wish of my 14-year-old self to see the Swedish rock stars live.
Sadly I missed all but half of Foxy Shazaam’s last song. This included a baldish man with a large beard smoking three cigarettes while crouching on top of a keyboard. I don’t even think I heard anything before I realized it was over. From surrounding people I was able to find out Scooby-Doo made an appearance on stage. That alone would have made it worth seeing. Oh well. Better luck next time.
Next was Semi Precious Weapons. First off the name didn’t seem to fit all their “fellowesse” antics. Maybe a name that could incorporate cocaine-thongs as merchandise would be more fitting. As for their show, it was quite entertaining—especially the homophobic squirming of the fellow standing with his girlfriend during the first few high kicks of lead singer Justin Tranter. Tranter was appropriately dressed in silver high heels, a short net top and tan tights, which granted viewers access to what could have been a purple thong—I was pretty far back so the cut and style are unknown. Other than that the exaggeration of their “let’s be sexy” music was quite dreadful. The beats were a little dancy, but with loud chanting lyrics it was hard to really get into it. The words “I can’t pay rent but I’m fucking gorgeous” were the highlight of all the repetitive lines. Though there was four band members the only other guy that really stood out was the bass player (Cole Whittle) who chose to wear a poncho, which looked very heavy and sweat inducing. The rest of the time Tranter kept the attention in his direction with a wardrobe change on stage and then a rock star step onto the crowd barrier for a last minute hurrah of “look at me I’m gorgeous.” A little cheesy but I’m sure they would throw the best sex parties ever.
In between bands I spent my time avoiding the zombie. Real or not, I was not taking the chance of getting too close on this night before Halloween. Luckily The Sounds made it on stage quickly and zombie man made his way to the front. The set included a good mix of songs mostly off the albums Living in America, and Dying to Say This to You. The crowd was normal for such a large show—meaning lots of pushing and shoving. Dancing became difficult until I found a nice roomy space to throw my hips about like a maniac. Aside from being scoffed at by a large woman who, like many, seemed unaware that it’s okay to move your body and not just jump up and down with fists in the air. I was quite happy about the evening. Even the cheesy low blue lights and lit cigarette performance of “Night After Night” didn’t sour me until lead singer Maja Ivarsson had people take out their cell phones for the arm swaying. These are the things that make me dislike technology. I’d rather risk the possibility of injury from a lighter than the glow of phones. By the end of that I was all clichéd out. After very little cheering the band returned for an encore featuring an overdone amount of crashing until finally Ivarsson jumped into the crowd to end it all (hopefully no one lost an eye on her gladiator high heels).
Now I’m sure I would have appreciated the show more if I was still 14, or on drugs and dressed as a zombie, and I’ll probably check out the new album someday, but after so many clichés, the armpit wipe (and flick), and the cigarette throw into the crowd, the fantasy of sexy sophistication of this Swedish rock band is gone.