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5/23/2003 12:00:56 PM

I ventured out to the Friendship House last night, a cool space in North Philly previously unknown to me. DAT Politics made it hop. Espers made it sleep. Lucky Dragons made it buzz and squeak. Nathan Michel made it chirp. Wrist + Pistols made it twang. There was much knob-twiddling and pointing and clicking. It was a long night, but a good one.

5/19/2003 12:28:00 PM

My roommates and I have found a rather nice apartment in South Philadelphia. We signed the lease on Friday. We will move around the end of June.

Friday night was unusual, to be sure, finding my Conshohocken cohorts and me receptive to the idea of following our friend Stan (or “Jason,” as he prefers) to a hotel sports bar in King of Prussia to hang out with people none of us really knew. It turned out to be karaoke night, and imagine our delighted surprise upon the discovery of the greatest karaoke selection we had ever seen. I did my part with favorites from the Bee Gees, Danzig, Cab Calloway, REO Speedwagon, and Iron Maiden, while others tackled Roxette, Billy Idol, Muddy Waters, Night Ranger, and more. There is actually talk of there being a “next time.”

Saturday afternoon, I visited the wax museum known as The Matrix Reloaded, which consists of about 140 minutes of mind-numbingly banal discussions, tempered by some meandering, boneheaded philosophical waxings, and occasionally (and awkwardly) interrupted by fight sequences that look more like dance sequences.

5/14/2003 12:25:19 AM

I did a stupid thing Monday night: I forgot to bring my camera when I went to see I Am Spoonbender. When one considers the fact that I was actually thinking about skipping the show, the forgotten camera is almost trivial, but, oh, the images I failed to document…

Needless to say, the show was amazing. Drums, synthesizers, samplers, telephone mics, and various unidentified electronic gadgets (analog and digital) were all manipulated live and fed through a laptop which distributed their pulses, pops, and blips as cues to the lighting and video system, whose subsequently colorful and ultra-precise synchronization with the music and movements of the band was rendered oddly organic. And that’s one of the things I really like about I Am Spoonbender: for all their kitschy space-age posturing, their electronic music does not dehumanize them.

After the show, I chatted for awhile with group founder Dustin Donaldson, whose status as a Thought Industry alumnus is what initially attracted me to Spoonbender. I learned from him that the show I had just seen was the result of about three months of coordination and rehearsals, and, as such, all of the eleven performances they are doing on this tour are virtually identical. The demands of their stage setup make it especially difficult for them to tour (setting up the stage routinely takes three hours), which explains why this is only the second time the band has ever played in Philadelphia. However, lucky for us, they expect to be back again in July. I won’t forget the camera next time.

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