Nevermind the noise-punk venture they’ve got going, No Age guitarist Randy Randall and drummer Dean Spunt are just two skate rats at heart. We know this because there are countless interviews with them discussing their love for skateboarding, including this one, where Spunt recounts devotedly waking up at 5am in order to skate to school in the dark, and also because they performed on the half-pipe at Williamsburg’s KCDC Skateshop on Friday, which doesn’t seem like something a non-skateboard loving band would do. A few things stuck out about the show:
Bambi on ice
You know how every other winter you decide it would be fun to go ice skating, so you gather together your best pals, put on your favorite scarf, and then repeatedly fall flat on your face, caught between trying to play it off and laughing self-consciously… sort of like the people who were cued to climb to the top deck of the half-pipe (I learned it’s called a “deck”) to make room for the crowd. Girls in boots kept sliding down on their stomachs.
If you look for them, No Age’s records are packed with moments of clarity parting the static chaos. In a 45-minute set heavy on early material, Spunt pauses three-fourths of the way through “Teen Creeps,” leans even further over his drums, let’s Randall’s guitar become the focus for a beat, then continues to bang away. If you blinked, you would’ve missed it.
Mini mosh girl
Things were mellow, almost to an awkward extent for a band who’s known to feed off their audience’s energy. Leave it to a 5’2’’ girl in a skirt and tights to rile things up a bit, forcing her way to the middle of the crowd to jump around and get sweaty. It made me feel happy, for girlhood.
The new third guy looks like Joaquin Phoenix if he were in the CIA
On songs like “Fever Dreaming,” No Age’s new effects guy added enough layered texture to justify his being there but not enough for it to offset his weirdly stern presence. Cool shades though.
They played “Eraser” but almost forgot
They really wanted some tacos from Endless Summer
I overheard at length a discussion between band members about whether they had time to swing by the taco truck before the show started. See? Just a couple of skater kids from Cali… who happen to be in a band, who happen to be signed to Sup Pop, who happen to receive continued praise from Pitchfork and every other bigwig music pub out there.
Air of insuperiority
Speaking of which, arguments about whether their recent live incarnation lives up to the rawness of previous tours and whether Spunt can actually carry a tune live (it’s arguable) has picked up steam on blogger comment boards with the release of Everything in Between. Whatever your thoughts on the band, let me say this: Though the show was sponsored by skate-gear company Altamont, I can’t imagine it made them a ton of money (the show was free, as was the one later that night at Don Hill’s). At the end of the day, there’s something to be said about a band who seems to be care about their fans and makes them feel like they’re all just hanging out on a Friday night. No co-opting of culture. No indie-rock smugness. It’s beginning to be an unfamiliar feeling in little ol’ Brooklyn.