are you gonna be my girl?
I admit it. Jet have been my biggest guilty pleasure of late. It’s not deep, it’s not original, and it’s literally *everywhere* – while in New Orleans a few weeks ago, we strolled by a bar to hear the above-mentioned song blaring out onto Bourbon Street, and I predicted that that would most likely be the song to suffer from overkill during our trip.
But, man, what’s not to like? As I described Jet to a friend a few months ago: “It’s like they woke up one day and decided, ‘Hi! We want to be Led Zep, AC/DC, the Ramones, and all of them at the same time, and AS LOUD AS POSSIBLE!”
So I went to the Moore Theater tonight to check out the Aussie Invasion Tour, Jet along with The Living End and the Vines. The Living End have been getting better reviews than anyone (which I guess I can understand, but so not my cup of tea. Enough ska-influenced rockabilly. But they were excellent musicians, I’ll give ’em that), and the Vines (whom I do not care for whatsoever) have been receiving consistently horrific reviews, hands down, everywhere. I didn’t care; I was there to see Jet, and anything else was gravy.
It was loud and obnoxious and the light show better suited for Madison Square Garden, and snarly and driving and full of attitude – hell, I would’ve liked more attitude (and a touch more energy, but it’s been a long tour, and this is the second-to-last date). The final verdict was – they didn’t disappoint. The pacing was superb. I even liked the slower songs. And the rockers fucking RAWKED. It was energy and chaos and screaming girls (and I literally mean, screaming girls, I have not heard screaming girls at this pitch and volume since Duran Duran in the heyday, and do not sneer at me, I have it on excellent authority that the Duranies are back in vogue right now, it is hip to like them – not that I like them, I just never hated them. Okay, I know, tangent). I especially liked how, when they let the crowd sing (most noticably during The Hit), that the girls were louder than the boys (and it was probably a 60-40 split in favor of the guys).
Yeah, there was AC/DC and there was Zep, but more than either of those was the presence of The Who. Windmills, Moon-like drum rolls, fantastic jamming and interplay – yeah, that was the Who circa 72 up there at moments. Fucking brilliant. And I swear that Nick Cester sounds like a cross between Paul Rodgers and Plant in his best moments (although the screams are stolen from Daltrey. No fucking contest there.) I get why the Stones asked them to open last year, I get why Townshend digs ’em too and how, at his request, they’re on the bill at the Isle Of Wight with him and Roger (yes I still refuse to call it ‘The Who,’ but that’s a discussion for another entry).
I totally got off on watching the crowd – I could’ve been in the first few rows in a heartbeat, but settled on seats in row H, just far enough back for good sound and great vantage point. I had worried about being the oldest one there (or at least the oldest one there not accompanying someone in their teens) but it was a great mixed crowd.
My favorite moment had to be the two girls who were two rows in front of me. They were just normal girls, jeans and t-shirts and sneakers, cute as hell but not flashing it everywhere. They weren’t not the blonde girls in the halters down near the front who security had to keep shining their flashlights on, as they climbed on seats to try to get the band’s attention; they weren’t the hipper-than-thou Hot Topic girls who kept winding their way through the crowd to get as close as possible; just two normal girls who had clearly waited for this show for weeks. They were besides themselves. They knew every word, and would sing it to each other, screaming and laughing and jumping up and down. They would shake each other excitedly as the first few notes of the next song would start. Watching them sing “Cold Hard Bitch” to each other, faces flushed, excited, and 2004 or not, I bet they felt slightly dangerous just singing that word out loud.
I stood there, watching them, and felt this odd pang. At first I thought it was jealousy, because that was me 10 or 20 years ago. I felt old. I felt left out. I felt sad. But then, Nick raises a tambourine in the air, and the screams start again – we all know what it’s gonna be – and they fly into “Are You Gonna Be My Girl?” Boom, crash, atomic explosion, blinding lights and those screams again, pumping fists, waving arms, pogoing down front, and I’m laughing and singing along and having the greatest time.
That was the moment that I realized: I’m still one of those girls.
As long as rock can make me feel like this, I’ll always be one of them.
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