Ume (back in 2008) ::: photo by Josh Lovseth
Pop quiz, hotshot. If you’re in a touring band, what is one of the most difficult days of the year to pack a venue? Christmas? Sure, I might give you that. As what can accurately be described as a Christian nation, our entire society shuts down on Christmas. Give thanks and praise for movie theaters and international food establishments or we all might be more bored than we should be on the greatest consumer holiday of all-time.
The correct answer? Apparently, it’s the Monday night after a Halloween weekend. Seattle, I know there was a lot going on last weekend. Shows everywhere. Parties everywhere. Scantily clad men and women, everywhere. As an admitted pleasure seeker, it’s hard to abstain from going all out during a holiday weekend that turns adults into children. That’s no excuse for the lack of attendance for a free show that features an awesome band from Austin, Texas. Ume was great and chances are you probably missed them.
The show started late. I got to the show late. In the music industry, we call that a “win-win situation.” Judging by the length of Ume’s set, I probably missed one or two songs. They played the Sunshower EP almost in its entirety. After every song during the set I felt compelled to scream out for them to play my favorite song off of that record, “The Means.” I got there late. I didn’t want to be that fan who is requesting a song that has already been played. That’s not very punk rock of me. I refrained from yelling anything at anyone this evening. I became very Seattle-ish and remained in my passive shell. Arms folded with my foot tapping to the beat. Smiling at others watch front-woman Lauren Larson work herself into a frenzy while somehow avoiding a catastrophic fall caused by her massive pedal board. For all you nerds out there, she’s got some good stuff. I was standing near two individuals who I’ll call “average dudes.” First rule of thumb, you never want to be average at anything. Be very good. Be awful. Never just be. Second, you never want to be an average guy. An average guy is a dude who will walk into Hooters and say “Nice tits!” to the hostess. An average guy is someone who constantly compares himself to Hugh Hefner or makes Chuck Norris jokes. An average guy thinks Dane Cook is funny. You don’t want to be, that guy.
As it turned out, I was standing next to two average guys. Shoot me in the nuts with a nail gun, how unfortunate. After every Ume song, the faceless men would coo and hoot. Let me describe to you the scenario that would unfold after.every.single.song.
Average Men: “Wooo! Yeah! Thank you….girl!” [whispered chatter: oh man I'd fuck the shit out of....yeah seriously..]
[Music starts back up. Song ends a few minutes later.]
Average Men: “Fuck yeah! Ow! Ow! [whispered chatter: my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard....]
OK. So those guys didn’t really quote Kelis lyrics at any point, but you get the drift. Gentlemen, Ume is playing some unbelievable new material and this is the best you can do? Cat call to the attractive lead singer? Never been done before! Trendsetter alert! One of you has a gut that is greater in stature then she is. I’d ask if you were in the third trimester but you are a man. Embarrassing. The other one of you is the size of a Pokemon. In a world where extremely short men get no love, what can you do? Perhaps you can buy all the merch Ume owns and be a touring band sugar daddy. You’ve got to aim high. After the show the two men went to Cowgirls to engage in more fruitless cat-calling. Maybe.
Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum were pretty entertaining, Ume was much more so. Great set. It was somewhat short and they didn’t end up playing The Means but I’ll survive. The band will have a new record out during the early months of 2011. Judging by some of the excellent new tunes, it’s going to be much better than the Sunshowers EP. I really like that record. Ume’s new album should be on your most anticipated releases of 2011 list.
The other musical act performing during Havana’s Rumble on Monday night was Yuni In Taxco. I’m not sure who made the executive decision to let Ume open Monday night’s festivities but it backfired in Yuni in Taxco’s faces. Hopefully it wasn’t any of the groups members. If you’re in a band that is playing with another band that is indeed better than your own, you can’t let them open for you. You must avoid this at all costs. Last time I checked, people don’t usually let strangers cover them in six feet of dirt for fun. It’s basically the same thing. Why dig yourself out of a hole if you don’t have to? Taxco already had that going against them, then there were the sound issues. The most insane and unnecessary reverb on the center microphone that the modern world has ever witnessed. If Taxco was actually Spinal Tap, the reverb knob would’ve been turned up to 259 on the amp. The guy from Wavves is jealous of your reverb. The sound guy went over to the P.A system after every song, literally. I felt bad for Yuni In Taxco. First, you let Ume open for you and crush you like little bugs. Then you have crazy sound issues that can’t work themselves out. Bummer. Their set got better as they went along but I wouldn’t call it impressive. There were times during the last few songs where I thought “Man, this part of the song is amazing.” Then of course as soon as I thought that, they’d stop playing it or it would disappear. Personally, I think this jangly guitar stuff is for the birds. Science tells me birds are dumb. Science is always right. There’s just so much of this shit in our country right now. I’m starting to think people just hang out on HypeM, then go to some metropolitan hipster bar and bait dumb, lazy musicians with a “Hey, let’s start a SuferBloodWalkmenStrokesFakeDavidByrneBritishAccentsGarageRockRulesHivesBand” proposition during $2 PBR night. Yawn. I’m not saying that is what Yuni In Taxco is, but why should I think otherwise? I want to see them again sans sound issues and the opening band crushing their faces like a mortar and pestle does pesto.