You heard me right. I went with the ex-wife, who has–and who doesn’t?–a major crush on Jakob Dylan. Why, I have a man crush on him myself. Still, there’s a big difference between loving a man–there’s no shame in that–and going to see his band, which may well be the unhippest group this side of Maroon 5. Why, even admitting you listen to the Wallflowers–much less that you love them–is grounds for commitment in 35 states. There are some things you just don’t do, like make love to a fish. I love Counting Crows’ “Mr. Jones,” but you don’t see me going to see them play live. Yet anyhow.
But I went, because the ex asked me to, and the truly horrifying thing–the unconscionable, impossible, unforgiveable thing–is that I loved them. They rocked the house, which was full of women who were obviously there because they love Jakob Dylan every bit as much as my ex-wife does. Their guitarist had major chops, and their keyboardist leaped around like a dervish filling out the sound, and they were LOUD–loud and raucous and not at all wimpy like their dopey and forgettable records.
Sure, lots of their songs sound the same, but stretched out the way they were with guitar solos and intricate keyboard work it just didn’t matter. They transformed the material through the alchemy of volume, and played it tight and hard. “Sixth Avenue Heartache” was a revelation, with its major accordian break, as were the rest of their dubious songs, and the secret was volume–volume and crack musicianship and a guitarist who played like his life depended on it.
Anyway, I’ve now seen a band even lower than my previous low–that would be England Dan and John Ford Coley, whom I saw at an amusement park way back in the mid-seventies–and learned an important lesson about myself. I have no taste. Either that, or the Wallflowers are the greatest unhip band in the world. I hope it’s the latter. But that’s not likely, because I also went to see the Doobie Brothers–the lousiest band of the late seventies, easy. Twice. And liked them too. Of course, I have drugs to blame for that, and last night I was on nothing stronger than tonic water. Still.