The Dollyrots at The Note

This is going to be my second post in row where I gush about a live music act. But just like the Wolfmother show, this one is completely justified. There’s a little trio out of Los Angeles that go by the name The Dollyrots. They played last night at The Note here in Chicago’s famous Wicker Park.

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I think I first learned of the Dollyrots about three years ago. My pal from the band The Tallest (aka. Sherman Yorkshire) brought back their first album after playing with and befriending them while The Tallest were on a west coast tour. I listened to it once and fell in love with them immediately. First of all, Kelly’s voice is as soothing as a ride on a four mile slip ‘n’ slide down a gradual incline on an eighty-four degree summer morning. I don’t know about you guys, but that happens to be one of the most relaxing scenarios I can imagine. The amazing thing is that one wouldn’t normally expect the lead vocalist of a pop-punk band to have a soothing voice, but she does. It almost defies explanation.

Now couple that with her ability to turn a phrase like the following from “New College” off the first album, Eat My Heart Out, and you’ve got a superstar band in the making.

Julia spent all her money powdering her nose
She’s not letting go
She’s stripping, at Pleasures
For her upper habits that her tiny scale will measure

But I think my favorites off Eat My Heart Out come down to two songs:
1) “Goodnight Tonight” — a listful lullaby that would make a Joan Jett and Joey Ramone love-child drift off into sweet slumber and sleep soundly while having wonderful dreams that might include something like Frank Black tap dancing all over the face of Phil Spector.

2) “Wreckage” – It’s hard not to hear this song and want to jump around. I love blasting it from my car with the windows down while driving aimlessly around the city.

But really, the whole album is sensational. In fact, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention their great cover version of The Ronnettes’ “Be My Baby.”

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But now they’re out on tour in support of their new album, Because I’m Awesome. At the risk of sounding really, really dumb, the album really is awesome. Sorry, there’s not many other ways to put it. The title track was actually featured on the TV show “Ugly Betty.” They also had two songs (“Goodnight Tonight” and “Kick Me to the Curb”) featured on an episode of “CSI:NY.” An episode in which they actually also guest starred.

I’m convinced that this band is bound for stardom. As far as I’m concerned, though, they’re already stars. In fact, it was really a weird experience seeing them play last night. I’ve been such a huge fan for the past three years that I sort of felt like I used to when I was in high school and a band would come through town. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed that my enthusiasm for catching my favorite bands has waned a bit. Don’t get me wrong, my passion for music hasn’t diminished in the least. In fact, it’s probably grown. But as we get older I think we lose that spirit that we used to have when it comes to going to see great shows. I mean I remember in high school when bands like The Cure or Depeche Mode came through town, my buddies and I would get so excited. We couldn’t wait to get out. But I suppose with age comes that lame “been there, done that” mentality that sort of takes the fun out of life.

Last night, though, I felt like a high schooler again. It was cool.

And remember how in my last post I mentioned that I shook hands with Wolfmother lead singer Andrew Stockdale? Well, eat your hearts out world, because last night I not only met and chatted with Luis, but I also got to meet and chat with Kelly. But wait! Not only that, I actually got a goodbye hug from Kelly! That’s right, suckers. We hugged. It’s true. I told my beautiful girlfriend that I couldn’t be sure, but I’m pretty sure Kelly grabbed my ass. Kat responded by saying that if I wanted to believe that Kelly grabbed my ass, than she’d believe Kelly grabbed my ass. But I’m pretty sure Kat doesn’t really believe that Kelly grabbed my ass, mostly because I know that Kelly didn’t grab my ass, therefore, I can’t actually believe that Kelly did grab my ass.

I sort of thought that if I wrote the phrase “Kelly grabbed my ass” over and over again that it would make it true. It didn’t. But at least now if I Google “grabbed my ass,” I should find my way here pretty quickly.

Seriously though, I have to thank Sherman for introducing me to Luis and Kelly. It was clear that the two of them were glad to see an old friend from an old tour, and they were both incredibly sweet and gracious. Kelly even gave me a Blackheart sticker (“Because I’m Awesome” was released on Blackheart Records) which is now secured firmly and proudly to my own bass case. But I did buy myself a Dollyrots hoodie, which I’m actually wearing as I’m writing this. I’m for sure the coolest kid on my block now.

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Anyway, I really can’t believe there weren’t more people at the show last night. I sort of thought that I might be screwed by not buying tickets earlier. But it was a Sunday night I guess. I just can’t wait for them to pass through town again.

The other cool thing about becoming a Dollyrots fan is that I’ve found a bunch of other cool bands a result. For example, Go Betty Go is an all girl band that the Dollyrots frequently play with in L.A. I’ve seen them listed on bills together on their MySpace page and decided to check ‘em out. As a result, I bought both their EP and album. And the Dollyrots are also featured on the compilation album, “Shiragirl’s All-Girl Stage Crew, Vol 2.— Not Sold In Stores.” There are a handful of acts featured on this album that I’ve grown to be a fan of as well. It’s definitely worth checking out.

What can I say, I’m going through an extended girl punk-band phase. Not long ago I even bought an album by The Donnas on vinyl.

But the headlining act last night was a Chicago band that also happen to be friends of the Dollyrots called Bang! Bang! They were equally fantastic. As a guy in a band, it was almost hard to watch these two bands on stage knowing I didn’t have the same stage presence that each member of both The Dollyrots and Bang! Bang! had. They both put on great shows.

If you see this Kelly, Luis, and Chris, it was great to meet you, and in case you can’t tell, I very much look forward to your return visit. And Kelly, the crayon written note you wrote when sending me stickers and buttons so long ago remains one of my prized possessions. Thanks for a great show experience.

Everyone else, do yourself a favor and click here to buy their CDs.

For the Love of the Haiku

I’m not going to say that I’m the biggest fan of the haiku, but they are fun to write. I once wrote a really dirty haiku on the wall of the men’s room in Tavern 33 on Lincoln here in Chicago. But I’m not gonna post it here. But if you’re in Tavern 33 anytime soon, feel free to copy it down and post it in a comment.

But what I will share with you are some other haikus I’ve written lately. These are often just left as random messages for friends via email or other random forms of communication. And I’ll write a few fresh ones, as well, simply because I’m in a poetic mood today.

Are haikus supposed to have titles? I’m not sure, so I’m not titling these.

Remember always
In the pants of the hairy
Strangeness lingers thick
(Posted for my friend Deb on her MySpace page)

Words, like bees, can sting.
Fly away, little words, fly.
Now fuck off asshat.
(Posted for my friend Matt on his MySpace page)

I just thought of an idea. Maybe it’s stupid, I’m not sure. I’ve got my iPod on shuffle right now, so I’ll write a new haiku inspired by each random song that comes up. So those will sort of be the titles for each of them. Yeah, this is stupid, but it’s fun for me.

“The Band In Hell” by Electric Six
In the devil’s house
The kitchen reeks of onion
And the grill is broke

“Well Well Well” by John Lennon
Five shots in the back
Don’t want to think about that
Plastic Ono Band

“Everything Counts” by Depeche Mode (from DM 101, Disc 2)
Sanjay’s favorite
It’s a competitive world
Parking lot anthem

“A Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy” by The Kinks
Is he Ray Davies
Or is he now Ray Davis
He kept changing it before

“Resigned” by Blur
Richard M. Nixon
Nelson A. Rockefeller
Spiro T. Agnew

“Crazy Angel” by Kill Hannah
Psychotic with wings;
Halo and a straight jacket.
Think I dated her.

“Still” by Lionel Richie
What was I thinking?
This song makes me want to puke.
That explains Nicole.

“Sa Prize (Part 2)” by N.W.A.
I’m just a white boy
Who likes some good gansta rap
Makes me feel bad ass

“Radio, Radio” by Elvis Costello
One of the best songs
With “anesthetize” in it.
Uncle Jim digs him.

“Tummy Tum Tum” by The Dollyrots
Dollyrots rock ass
They’ll be at the Note May 6
I’ll be there watching

“Sail On” by Lionel Richie
Oh God, please, no more.
All I wanted was “Hello,”
Now I’m stuck with crap.