Lyn-Z of Mindless Self Indulgence.
Hall, July 1
am no longer a rock star! I am no different from a homeless
man, and I will prove it,” announced Mindless Self Indulgence
lead singer Jimmy Urine in the middle of his band’s set at
Revolution Hall last week. He looked down at the sweaty, screaming
teens in front of him and demanded, “Give me 20 dollars! I
ain’t fucking kidding!”
Kids scrounged in their pockets and delivered any bills they
hadn’t already spent on band merchandise. “I got like 40 bucks
up here,” Urine bragged, adding, “You ain’t getting that back!”
Mindless Self Indulgence’s set wasn’t as much about their
music as it was about just being absolutely fucking sarcastic,
hysterical, insulting, over-the-top, completely awesome and,
sometimes, honest to a fault.
to the Mindless Self Indulgence hangover!” Urine declared.
Done up in a carnival-barker suit, his spiky pink mohawk darting
far over his head, he scolded the audience: “Why couldn’t
you be last? Nooo, you can’t do anything right; you had to
be second-to-last!” With two more dates left on the band’s
tour, it is certainly possible that MSI’s industrial-punk-shock-rock
circus may have been a little bit ragged compared to earlier
dates, but it was the haphazardness that made the band’s performance
so brilliant and twisted.
Urine used his showmanship to distract from his lack of interest
in actually singing, having fans fill in on most choruses.
But when he committed himself to his vocal performance, the
band soared. Meanwhile, guitarist Steve Righ? lounged atop
a speaker stand while playing his sharp punk riffs, bassist
Lyn-Z bounced and posed while rumbling out pulsing bass lines,
and drummer Kitty pounded her kit along to prerecorded tracks.
On “Get It Up,” Urine dueted with his wife, Morningwood singer
Chantal Claret. Like some fucked-up, new-wave Peaches tune,
the pounding electro beats propped up the pair’s sexy arguing
about why Urine can’t achieve erection.
The absolute greatest moment of the night came during the
now-classic “Bitches.” Urine, who had already stripped down
to his black boxer briefs, demanded of the crowd, “I want
to be a pretty, pretty princess!” Fans again found a well
of generosity, and quickly threw bras, skirts and dresses
onto the stage. Urine dressed himself in the fans’ garments,
then perched atop Kitty’s drum set. Like some twisted Statue
of Liberty, he donned the final piece of his princess getup,
a gaudy headband that functioned as his tiara.
As “Bitches” came to its conclusion, he decided to “summon
the demon of selling out,” offering up the “boring, straight-ahead”
almost-hit “Straight to Video” as a sacrifice. The crowd went
berserk, ignoring Urine’s warning that the song was mindless
drivel, and proving the point he had been trying to make all
night: Despite his cleverness, Urine is just one more cog
in the music-industry marketing machine, exchanging shitty,
brain-dead music for T-shirt sales.
It Isn’t So
Performing Arts Center, July 6
Oh my my. I think everybody wanted this to be a great show.
One of the first big shows in the Mahaiwe’s foray into popular
music, a big ol’ star, and a neighbor (Hall lives 30 minutes
away in Millerton, New York). Which makes the disappointment
all the more acute. And it was all so avoidable.
First, the sound. There was a massive monitor system on the
stage—significantly bigger, in fact, than the front-of-house
rig (the Mahaiwe’s a tiny, 700-seat hall). And that’s pretty
much all we heard: muffled, indirect vocals coming from speakers
pointed away from us, with no presence or definition. Hall’s
singing has a ton of nuance, and he works the microphone like
a musical instrument, but whenever he moved off-mic even a
little, his voice disappeared in the house. I imagine it sounded
And it wasn’t an equipment problem—the opening act, a sweet-voiced
folksinger with nothing to say, sounded superb through the
Second, Hall seemed to be trying to re-create his excellent
“Live from Daryl’s House” Webcast concerts, which feature
casual, acoustic sessions. He tried, and he failed. There
was a massive, hideous, and unnecessary stage set that looked
like the inside of a post-and-beam barn; one expected Miss
Kitty to pop her head through one of the second-story windows
and wave to the crowd, which would be pretty weird for a neo-soul
concert. But critically, Hall and his trusty sidekick, the
terrific T-Bone Wolk, played acoustic guitars throughout the
set, mostly while sitting on stools. Which would have been
fine, but nobody told the ham-fisted rhythm section to lay
back, and they played like they were in an arena, and they
were stiff. The result was a muddled, bottom-heavy din; T-Bone
appeared to be taking some big-statement solos from time to
time, but they were inaudible. The overall sound was monolithic
and annoying, a long way from the palpable intimacy of the
Which was all a damn shame, because Hall seemed lit up (at
one point I think he said “Hey, I shop at Guido’s, too!”),
in good voice (from the little we could hear), and ready to
play all night. Wolk is always on, and setlist was schweet
indeed, with minor ear-candy hits dominating: “Everytime You
Go Away,” “When the Morning Comes,” and an evening-closing
Too bad we couldn’t hear it.