ditty bopped (9.12)

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Sunday, September 17, 2006
Pre-Show Dilemmas: Illness, Almost -Missed, Traffic and The Wrong Shoes

+ This evening started with some troubles. Martina really wanted to come along (she even had a ticket!), but her stomach said "not so fast, missy!" Blondie was a near miss -- she called to report that there was only a 50% chance that she would make it from her last job of the day to the venue in time. (fortunately, she did make it!) Bec had to fight traffic to come get me instead of the leisurely drive directly from work. My dilemma was wardrobe oriented: would I figure out how to reconcile the aqua fishnets and really great pleated navy silk skirt (goodwill, 7 bucks!) with my new jacket in time? Alas, NO. Shoes were the deal breaker (in addition to the creeping notion that maybe it was too much blue and I was starting to look like Violet Beauregarde apres gum), so I resorted to dressing for rock show 101 (jeans, etc.), even though this wasn't really a rock show. As it turns out, it didn't really matter and my feet were in a perfect state of comfort.

Venue Matters: Don't Take My Seat, Or There Will Be Glaring

+ I see lots of shows at the Aladdin, and through trial and error I have found my very much preferred spot to sit (for open seating shows, which I think every single show there is). I will say that it's in the balcony, but I won't say more than that on the off-chance that someone who does not already go to shows with me reads this and STEALS MY SPOT. I would then be forced to sit right behind these seat stealers and probably huff and sigh in a loud and annoyed fashion, and maybe bore through the backs of their heads with my Glare of Hate. I don't use it very often, so it is potent and you WILL have bald spots in the shape of my eyes, so don't even try it.

The Crowd: Certain Things Make Much More Sense Now

Crowd breakdown:

85% Lesbitarians and Middle-Schoolers.
15% Other
it was a really happy crowd, which is always fun. I didn't realize that the Ditty Bops had such a huge lesbian following, but now having seen the show (and their photo galleries) it does not seem too surprising. Ditto the middle-schoolers.

Misc: It's Not a Crisis, It's the Glorious Melding of Inner and Outer Grooviness

Blondie has added some fabulous funky edges to her already stylish self. She jokes around that she is having a midlife crisis, but I personally believe that she is approaching appearance ideal: the outside reflects the inside. (These deep thoughts brought about by a particularly interesting pair of boots.)

The Opening Act: How Sweet is Too Sweet?

Datri Bean was the opener. It was just Datri at the keyboard, and a drummer on a very small set of drums (with only brushes). I liked her stuff, although I think I would like her better in smaller doses. She was very sweet. (Like sweet tea, which she sang about.) She reminds me of a somewhat more whimsical down-home Norah Jones, although I liked her better than I like NJ. The sweetness was just a little much all in one shot. If there had been someone coming on every third song and performing a thrashy-trashy two minute punk rock number, I would have been more engaged.

I was inclined to like her because she came out in a blue t-shirt, a giant red petticoat (as skirt) and red and white striped tights. (I have an irrational weakness for red and blue together like this.) She sang songs about being lazy, lazy sundays, food, rain, booze, love, being in lazy and in love, swinging on the porch, tamales, etc. So, you know, good stuff! But it reminded me a bit of the Green Girl Studios, (a button and charm co.) which I also find adorable, but I wish that they had a little vampire mermaid charm or something to contrast with the cute a bit. Blondie got the Bean CD, maybe she'll let me listen to it and I can reassess. Overall, I would say she was a great match with the Bops, and I am just cranky.

Ditty Bops
Originally uploaded by Bike-junkie
Boptastic: There Was a Skeleton and a Prop Suitcase!

The Ditty Bops are doing their tour via bicycle! This is an interesting and notable way to travel, and they are raising money for charity... but I have also got to tell you, they were pretty tired by the time they rode to pdx! (although that could just be end of tour exhaustion, I suppose.) The stage set up was fun. On the left there was a flat panel painted and cut out to look like a pagoda -- almost like a puppet show stage. Behind this was the keyboard. Straight back (behind the Bops) was a larger panel that had their name and a big piece of art by Abby (the Quiet Bop/ Straight Man). To the right of the back panel was a skeleton! (take that Colin Meloy who tours with only a skull!) I don't remember anything particularly to the right of that, except for the area where the guy who played violin (fiddle? which is correct in this instance?) and lapsteel guitar sat/stood/sang. In the very front was a pedestal with a suitcase on it. Suitcase = full of props! The Bops came out looking exactly as they do in the picture above (since that picture was taken at our show). The first thing I thought is "Vaudeville!" and right after that I thought "Vaudeville scene in Singin' In The Rain!" Here's a picture... see what I mean? I guess they have different stage outfits that they wear as they see fit. (According to pictures I saw on Flickr, they had a Wizard of Oz theme in Kansas City, for example. Cops and Robbers, Pirates, Hula, Ghouls, and Underwear would seem to be alternate (and fun!) themes) Anyway, Abby, the Straight Man/ Quiet Bop stood on the right side of the stage with her really big guitar. Amanda (Vivacious Bop), stood to the left (in front of the props!) with her mandolin, which she occasionally switched with a washboard thing that she wore around her neck. The only other musicians with them were the keyboard/accordion player and the violin/lapsteel guitar player. They had a pretty big sound, considering.

There is a lot I like about the Ditty Bops. I like that they are well-versed with and love this era of music and style of singing. I like the harmonies, I LOVE how playful they are and how they don't seem to take themselves too seriously, but are still serious about the music. There isn't anything that I particularly don't like, except to say that for me it felt a little samey after an hour. It could have just been the order of the set, or that I was not familiar with a lot of their newer songs (I only have the first album), or that I was just tired... but I fell asleep! TWICE! (to be fair it did get kind of warm upstairs and they happened to be doing two sort of quiet songs in a row, probably to save Amanda's voice which was starting to go. And it was more of a really long blink than a nap... but still.)

All and all, I had a great time! There was audience participation (another reason to love the balcony), there was a viking helmet and a really sharp and evil-looking fake knife used to pop balloons, and much, much more. I am so glad that we decided to go! Eleven dollars isn't a lot of money for that much entertainment these days, and I would say we more than got our money's worth.
8 comments on "ditty bopped (9.12)"
  1. Reading this, I am so sad I missed their jaunty costumes and skeleton (which reminds me, have Leslie and I pestered you enough about the Day of the Dead festivities at Maryhill? With autumn approaching, I think it might be time to start again, but I digress...).

    I can kind of understand your long blink. I really loved their first CD (who would not love "Sister Kate"? It's so fun!), but what I've heard of the second (except maybe "Bye Bye Love") is taking a little longer to grow on me. I'm sure it would help if I actually owned it instead of being relegated to theiTunes Snippetland.

    Anyway, I am glad you had fun. I've only ever seen them perform on Conan and they were great, especially the fringed flapper dress Vivacious Bop was wearing. She made me want to go out and get cute 20's hair and a new to me vintage dress, which is always a good sign where these things are concerned.

  2. I'm sad you missed it too! Despite what seems when I read it over to be an awful lot of bitching, it was a fun show.

    Sister Kate was one of the audience participation moments -- they had about 15 people on stage bopping around. Mostly little girls and one wildly conspicuous old man doing the robot dance. he left the stage when a younger guy dressed in tutu made from a GARBAGE BAG (why couldn't I remember this yesterday!) came up and started dancing with Vivacious Bop.

    (Day of the Dead festivities sound good! is it in November?)

  3. This show sounds like it was a lot of fun and I can't wait to steal your balcony seat next time...

  4. Steal my seat?!?!? Did you not see the part about my Glare of Hate? it is SCARY! I wouldn't be so cavalier about it if I were you... unless you WANT bald spots in the back of your head. It's your hair, pal.

    (and it was a fun show!)

  5. Bald, schmald...I will see you soon.

  6. Day of the Dead at Maryhill!!!!

  7. yes to all that and i still say: a little too twee for me. (i will now don my viking helmet as the brickbats fly, and flee)

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