Saturday, March 28, 2009

Zen Arcade Fire

I first heard Grant Hart when I was a junior in high school reviewing an album for the Inawa. I abused the local record shop who had a deal with Great Falls High's journalism students that "rock critics" could borrow LPs and the store got coverage out of it. Zen Arcade's softer cuts turned me on to Husker Du via "Pink Turns to Blue," "Never Talking to You Again," and "Turn on the News." They were punk rock but something else going on that linked them to folk, perhaps in the chords or tunesmithing, on SST but seemingly a long ways from Black Flag or Saccharine Trust, bands that were driven by a, shall we say, straight aggression. Little did I know that Husker Du was family, two thirds queer in Reagan's nightmare, with roots in The Byrds and The Beatles, a lot like me.
A few days ago, as I walked along Polk Street one evening killing time before seeing a movie at The Lumiere, I stopped to read an Onion. On the calendar page, i see that Grant Hart is playing the Thursday Night rock'n'roll fag bar show at The Eagle. I drop all thoughts of cinema and walked to SOMA for a night with Grant.
Turned out to be just what the doctor ordered, a revelation over years with friends and familiars, but up close with all its lines showing. It was a fine night with a neglected queer genius songwriter who stuck to his punk guns and shot brilliant bullets; an unexpected bloody pleasure.

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