Rimshots: Dead Nation's pigeongate; Kid Sister's new video, and Neu! is coming to Chicago

July 27, 2010

You may have heard by now that classic-rock wannabes the Kings of Leon cancelled their show at the Verizon Amphitheatre in St. Louis Friday night after playing only three songs because pigeons in the rafters above the stage kept pooping on the group—everyone’s a critic!—and bassist Jared Followill almost caught a mouthful.

Said the band’s manager Andy Mendelsohn: “It’s not only disgusting—it’s a toxic health hazard.”

There’s a metaphor in here somewhere: The Verizon Amphitheatre is, of course, a Ticketmaster/Live Nation venue—the promoters are offering a refund—and that mega-company dumping on fans and artists alike certainly is nothing new. But, really now, you have thousands of people coming to your venue, having paid top dollar for tickets, convenience fees, and parking, and you can’t figure out a way to clear the joint of toxic-hazard pooping pigeons?

Opening acts the Postelles and the Stills faced the same bird bombs, but made it through their sets, and I was struck by a comment that Stills bassist Oliver Crowe made to Eyeweekly.com: “The venue f—ed up big time. At the place we played in Chicago [the First Midwest Bank Amphitheater] the next night, they take high-powered hoses [to clear the rafters of pigeons]; other venues call in a hawk guy to chase them away. If you run a venue and there’s that much money at stake, you should really do that—it’s not that expensive.”

Anybody who ever has been to the First Midwest Bank Amphitheater, previously the New World Music Theatre, and originally the World Music Theatre, has got to read that and think, “How bad does this St. Louis joint have to be for that dump in Tinley Park to compare favorably?” Or maybe it’s just that Ticketmaster/Live Nation Chicago is harsher on any living entity trying to crash a show without having paid for an overpriced ticket.

In any event, all of the turmoil the newly merged company is facing of late would almost make you feel sorry for it—if it wasn’t, you know, evidence of Satan here on Earth. Even normally staid business reporters are dropping any pretense of taking the company seriously; I love the way reporter Cody Willard calls it “Dead Nation” when discussing its money woes in this clip.

 

KID SISTER, "BIG N BAD" And, speaking of amusing clips, hot on the heels of last week's video from Rhymefest comes a new one from Kid Sister, a fun, high-energy take on "Big N Bad" directed by Rik Cordero around and about Chicago (geographic highlights include the Markham Roller Rink and Superdawg) and featuring cameos from fellow travelers A-Trak and Flosstradamus. Enjoy!

Neu! (or half of it, anyway) hits the autobahn and comes to Chicago

Over the last two decades, Neu!, the German duo of guitarist Michael Rother and drummer Klaus Dinger (who died in March 2008), have emerged as one of the most influential of any of the Krautrock bands of the early ’70s, with echoes of their waves of mysterious guitars and metronome-precise motorik rhythms heard in bands as diverse as Wilco, Sonic Youth, Stereolab, and Radiohead, to name but a few. The pair recorded three albums between 1972 and 1975, all of them entitled “Neu!,” and they’ve been reissued several times in recent years.

Now, to celebrate the most recent of these reissues—from High Wire Music on CD and Groenland Records on vinyl—Rother is taking the name of the band’s signature track and hitting the road as Hallogallo 2010 with Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley and Tall Firs guitarist Aaron Mullan to play tracks from those three beloved Neu! albums as well as material from his solo releases and his collaborations with Dieter Moebius and Hans-Joachim Roedelius in Harmonia.

UPDATE: This key info somehow got eaten by the blog software: The show is at Lincoln Hall on Sept. 8; tickets are $20 available here.

Yes, there is a God.