The first time I went to a show, I had no idea what I was getting into: Sonic Youth at the Living Room in Providence. I walked in and stood right in the middle of the audience, with a perfect view of the stage. The moment they broke into "Mary Christ", the crowd erupted, and I found myself in the air above them. I distinctly remember being able to see the band perfectly...and stepping on someone's collarbone.
Eighteen years later, I'm off to the Echoplex to see CSS. Again, no idea what I'm getting into. I had been to the Echo before (on Election night), but never to the Echoplex. The club was painted in standard red and black, but was much bigger and cleaner than I had expected. The crowd was a sea of Members Only jackets - exactly what I expected on that front. We came in late for the opening act: Natalie Portman's Shaved Head. They were halfway through their set and loud as hell. They reminded me of Ima Robot's quirky brand of pop, but when they broke out "me plus yr daughter", Ursula and I decided to check out the sequined action. The rest of the set was great, finishing up with "Sophisticated Side Ponytail."
CSS was off to an energetic start with "Meeting Paris Hilton", complete with a masked Lovefoxx riling everyone to get moving. The crowd responded, about a dozen twenty-something girls in stilettos and legwarmers bouncing around slumber-party style. But by the time the band got to "Music is my hot, hot sex", things had slowed down. The only action really going on in the audience was six people capturing footage on their phones and cameras. I didn't really check back in until the encore - "Let's make love and listen to Death from Above" and "Alala". I'd probably see CSS again, but it would only be a sure thing if Natalie Portman's Shaved Head opened for them.