The penultimate concert of my epic November occurred on Saturday, when the Minkus and I went to see The Bloody Beetroots at a smallish venue called Arena. I initially balked at shelling out for yet another concert, but come on, it’s The Bloody Beetroots. Also, Laur saw them last week in Strasbourg and informed me that I should not miss out on this opportunity. And she always gives me sound advice. Since this year abroad is all about doing awesome things, and I have no idea if I will ever get the chance to see these badass Italian mask-wearing musicians again, I couldn’t say no. Those particular adjectives are all displayed prominently in this photo, except maybe for the Italian part:
They actually wear these masks all the time, at least for performances. I’m not as sure about daily activities like showering or going to the grocery store to pick up milk or waiting in line at the bank, but I like to think that they are wearing these masks for at least %98 of these mundane tasks.
We got to Arena at about 11:00, thinking that this would be early and we could weasel/charm our way to the front. Apparently the Beetroots were the first set of the night, for some reason, and there were a bunch of afterparty sets going on after that, so we got actually into the venue just as they were starting with a version of “Warp” (Steve Aoki worked with them on this, so clearly it was epic). We eschewed the horrifying coat check line, opting instead to weave our way right into the thick of the mob. This turned out to be a terrible idea, since my cumbrous winter coat resulted in me having a less solid grip on my purse. The thronging masses literally ripped the bag off of my shoulder – it wasn’t any individual act, but some cosmic vacuum formed by the seething energy of the crowd just sucked it out of my grip. And then it was gone.
My first thought, naturally, was “Oh shit.” I had my cell phone in there, and my wallet, which contains basically my whole life — the bank card that I just got. My credit card. My Sackville Public Library card (irreplaceable!). And my work permit for Austria which, considering the bureaucratic bullshit I had to wade through the first time I got it, I probably actually wouldn’t have been able to replace for months. We broke out of the crowd and had a brief moment of panic, but I was surprisingly calm. I mean, I was still getting to see the Beetroots this whole time, and I figured I’ve had a bad enough week and the universe can’t hate me that much.
Luckily, when we ventured back into the crowd Mink found my bag shoved against the wall. It was unmolested and uninjured: nothing stolen, nothing broken. It was kind of incredible. Since the whole crowd was riotous and basically frothing at the mouth by this point, we decided to chill near the back and drink cider to celebrate the bag’s swift return.
A few words on the Beetroots’ performance: much like with Ratatat, I’d been listening to them for a while but had never really considered the musical talent necessary to create these tracks. I just kind of assumed they were all being produced from a keyboard or something, and then smushed together by a couple of dudes with turntables. It was actually three guys and they all swung deftly between multiple instruments, never faltering in their performance. And one of them consistently killed it on bass.
The highlight of the concert for me was when they played the theme from 28 Days Later, a legitimate zombie movie. (But then, I love zombies, so I am
probably definitely biased in this opinion.) But their rendition was beautifully eerie, and this speaks to their talent as musicians in general. Here’s a surprisingly steady video of the movie theme and the transition into “Cornelius” (at the 2:24 mark) from a different concert. There’s a bit of “Warp” thrown in there at the end for good measure. They had a similar transition when they played in Vienna:
If anyone has a hankering for some Beetroots lovin’, I cannot recommend Romborama enough. It’s not the best album cover ever, but awesomeness can’t always be embodied in someone/thing as aesthetically pleasing as the lead singer from Interpol, amirite?
Romborama has been my go-to public transportation album for the past year and a half. There’s nothing more satisfying on the U-bahn than maintaining an inscrutable countenance for your fellow travelers whilst listening to the opening 30 seconds of “Cornelius” and knowing that the bassline is going to detonate your brain with awesomeness. Metaphorically, of course.
We waited around for some signs of a setlist, but I don’t think they had one. The mustachioed giant acting as security wasn’t giving us any leads, at any rate. Luckily, I had purloined this poster at the Steve Aoki concert, so I wasn’t too disheartened to be going home empty-handed:
(And by empty handed, I mean that we stole a couple of other posters anyway, as per usual. Our apartment’s looking pretty trendy these days.)
We ran into this guy named Greg and his girlfriend whom we’d randomly met at the Ratatat concert, which made for a fun reunion. And then we wandered off, so I’m pretty sure we’re never going to see those two again. But such is the ephemeral nature of the concert friendship. We soon found ourselves in a tiny room where some DJ group called “The Shit is Coming Home” was playing and they were excellent, despite their questionable ability to name themselves. We ended up dancing there for a solid hour, and then met some friends at a bar downtown called the Funky Monkey and danced there until close – which happens to be after 4 am in these parts. I finally flung myself into my bed two hours before the sun came up, exhausted but happy.
Alas, the string of concerts has to end at some point. And what better way to round out the month than by seeing M.I.A. tomorrow night? I just hope we’re ready for this…