It is a sin to write this. It is a sin to think words no others think and to put them down upon a paper no others are to see. It is base and evil. It is as if we were speaking alone to no ears but our own. And we know well that there is no transgression blacker than to do or think alone. ords no others think and to put them down upon a paper no others are to see. It is base and evil. It is as if we were speaking alone to no ears but our own. And we know well that there is no transgression blacker than to do or think alone.
— Ayn Rand, Anthem Blue Steel, Ferrari, Le Tigre?
They’re the same face!
Doesn’t anyone notice this?
I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!
— Mugatu, Zoolander
”Watch out for that thing!” Nicole screamed. I swerved to avoid the monstrous tour bus blocking Ninth Street and just missed a telephone pole. In the back seat, Nicole’s 13-year-old brother Matt covered his head and started to moan quietly. ”Jesus, the circus is in town,” I muttered, wondering how many live animals Arctic Monkeys had crammed into that beast. Something had to account that massive vehicle, for the line that stretched more than a block from the door. Lost in these musings, I didn’t notice the beat-up, unassuming van with Delaware plates sitting behind the bus. We parked on Spring Garden and hustled back toward the venue, resigned to pushing to get close to the stage. This time I saw the van, and I snorted at the thought of the Spintos and their tour manager packed in there like sardines while the Monkeys toured the country in style.
Just then, someone at the front of the line yanked me, quite literally, out of my reverie. I spun around, expecting some half-mad hipster wanting my blood and my ticket. I cried out in excitement when I realized it was Joe Moore. J Mo is a sweetheart, and quite possibly the Spinto Band’s #1 fan. Last summer he attended more shows on the Spinto/Bikini Car Wash Company tour than anyone, covering at least six states in as many days. Four nights later, he’d be brought onstage at the TLA, where Spinto was headlining, to accompany them on kazoo during “Brown Boxes” (he would also nearly hit me in the face with one when the band started throwing them into the crowd). Tonight, he had come in from Trenton and said he may have to skip the Arctic Monkeys to make his train. ”I was asking people in line what they sound like,” he said as we waded toward the stage. “Everyone looked at me like I was crazy.” ”You’d better be careful,” I warned him, glancing over at the knot of soccer hooligans gathered front and center and yelling back and forth in British accents. “Those kids from across the pond will probably stomp you for saying that.” He shrugged. The Spinto Band went on not long after, launching into “So Kind Stacy” for a somewhat indifferent crowd. With the exception of die-hards like J Mo, who rejoined us to dance, it seemed like the Spinto fans were bought out by those clamoring to see Britain’s next big thing. Despite a hideous mix — every strike of the kick drum felt like a nail being driven into my skull — the Spinto Band managed to get a good part of the crowd going. Incidentally, the new songs “Cat’s Pajamas” and “Alphabetical Order” are excellent. The wait was agonizing, but finally, high-pitched screams heralded the arrival of the one, the only… oh, is that what they look like? Interesting….
Without question, Arctic Monkeys put on a good show, but I just don’t get the Beatlesque mania. What I saw was an average band with an above-average stage presence. Almost everyone is saying it’s the band’s youth, it’s energy, that makes it great, but I’m not sure I buy it. I mean, think about the bands you would have listed among your favorites two or three years ago. The Strokes or Franz Ferdinand? At the time you probably meant it, but what about now? If I had seen Arctic Monkeys play the Darkhorse Tavern when I was still in school I probably would have loved it. Now, though, they sound to me like something I’ve heard, a million times over. So while the Monkeys are one of the hottest bands in the world right now, they may not keep. The Spinto Band, on the other hand, have been around for a while and they’re not going to just fizzle out and go away — not when there are people like J Mo who will drop everything to go to a show miles away, people who keep coming back to the band’s music because it’s something they love. At concert’s end, we stepped over discarded beer bottles and made our way to the merch table — the Spintos were manning it themselves. We introduced Matt, and they thanked him profusely for coming out to his first general admission show. Nicole bought Matt a t-shirt. Everyone signed it. ”Did you get a kazoo?” Thomas (Hughes, the bassist) wanted to make sure. Outside, the giant tour bus was nowhere in sight, but the van with the Delaware plates hadn’t moved.