Sold Out and Unrocked

Rocket from the Crypt
with Creeper Lagoon
The Starfish Room
Vancouver, B.C.
Friday, August 7, 1998

Review by Dorothy Parvaz

Oh, this show was so sold out.

As in, if you were to call the Starfish Room to ask what time the opening band was going on, you'd be asked if you already had a ticket. And if you were to smart-assedly ask, "Why, would that change what time the bands start?" you'd be tersely told that if you didn't have a ticket, no one would bother to answer any of your questions because the show was sold out.

That's how sold out it was.

Wow, what a hot ticket.

Wow, what a dull show.

I'm not sure what it was, but there was nada excitement in the air. Sure, Creeper Lagoon played a decent set. They were fresh from working with the Dust Brothers and putting out I Become Small and Go, so I was expecting great things from the San Francisco band, but they didn't do anything too terribly memorable. Nice vocals, though. There was this wall of drums and these J. Mascis vocals. The only truly stand out tune was "Claustrophobia." So much for that.

And so much for Rocket from the Crypt. About 15-minutes into RFTC's set, it started to sound as though the band actually had one song that they played in two different tempos. Of course, this isn't true. They have something like seven albums (not counting re-issues), and the number of singles they've released probably beats the number illicit amorous encounters Clinton has had in the Oval Office. Okay, they don't have that many singles out, but you get the idea.

Tonight they pretty much hit all the high points of their new disc, creatively titled RFTC. Let's see, there was "I was Made for You," "Break it Up" and, of course, the Desperate Lover Anthem #1,993,892, otherwise known as "Your Touch."

Front man, err, I mean, "Romantic Lead" Speedo even gave us a cool tip: Stage Diving is "out" because they do it on MTV, but shaking one's butt is still cool. That's right. Because there is no butt-shaking on MTV. Maybe the whole butt-shaking thing was a ruse to distract the audience from noticing how the band's horns were criminally underused.

There's an element of nostalgia to RFTC's music, and I can't quite say why. How or why an RFTC song can remind you of your high school days (even though you never listened to them back then) is a bit of a mystery. Maybe it's their juvenile treatment of romances, or those arrangements that sound so much like the bands that you did listen to back then.

Gotta hand it to the fans, though... I'm talking about the die-hard fans who were just bouncing up and down the whole damn time (shoulda seen them go nuts during "On a Rope" -- guess most of the rest of the crowd were relatively new RFTC fans). They certainly got their money's worth, but judging by the number of people catching the encore from the coat-check area, I'd say that I wasn't alone in feeling that something was missing. There was this "This is RFTC....they rock..." (insert uncertain pause here) "Right?" sort of vibe.

That was the rub; that was the big letdown: I really wanted to have fun. I wanted RFTC to rock my world. But my world remained tragically unrocked... maybe it was my earplugs. Maybe they were filtering out all the goodness. Time to switch brands...

[Editor's Note: This show was so sold out because a fight out behind the club a few nights before made the Starfish paranoid about their capacity. So, though it was sold out, there were fewer people than have been for other shows. And it meant there wasn't any room on the guest list for our photographer... sigh...]

First published in Drop-D Magazine on December 5, 1998

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