Stop me if you've heard this one-most likely from me-but why is the capital of Ireland the biggest city in the world? Because it's Dublin every day with drunken morons whose biggest import is future generations who end up here celebrating some inane heritage where privileged douchebags get to complain about being "white niggers" and forcing a holiday upon us where, for one day, everyone gets to be equally pathetic.
I'm reminded of that classic punchline as the marquee at B.B. King's Bar & Grill proclaims that the Commitments are coming to us from Dublin for their big St. Patrick's Day concert. Most likely coming to us from that proud Irish tradition of hunger, too, since it's hard to believe that shtick is being milked without benefit of a Commitments X: Drunken R&B'ers in Space.
The crowd still looks pleased to be attending the live-action cartoon of their favorite film from 1991 that didn't feature a singing candlestick. There's plenty of dopey green touches in the sea of old people dining to take the edge of their drunkenness. That's kind of disappointing, since I was hoping to see an alcohol-fueled riot. Instead, it's more irritating moments that always plague me through this most unholy of days. There isn't even a brawl when two aspiring hooligans tell each other to fuck off when they pass each other in their competing soccer jerseys-although I'm tempted to McHulk out since neither of them even has a goddamn Irish accent.
I'm not around for too long after the Commitments take the stage. My taste in fictional bands leans more toward that group David Hemmings goes to see in Blow-Up. I'm also not charmed when the burly lead actor informs the crowd that they've performed earlier today at a lunch for President Bush. He instinctively responds to jeers that don't occur, before adding, "To be fair, he puts on a spread." To be further fair, he's the president who quit hugging the terrorists who might exterminate this lug's ass one day while he's drowning his sorrows over how his set list was firmly established over a decade ago.
Besides, I'm only killing time before heading over to Patrick McMullan's big St. Patrick's Party at Spirit-which, as I recall, from years past, is a perfectly normal event that doesn't play up any Irish heritage. I'm less sure about my own addled Irish memory when there's a bagpipe player outside the club. I get inside to find the place looks like a St. Patrick's Day sock hop at a particularly affluent junior high school. There's green food and giant shamrocks and dancers on stage who look like escapees from that Lost in Space episode where vegetables tried to turn Dr. Smith into a celery stalk.
I leave quickly enough to miss the raffle that you enter by kissing the Blarney Stone at the entrance to the club. Not that it matters, since I declined to play once I saw the freaks who were planting their lips on that rock prior to my invitation. Call me a hypochondriac, but I've worked hard to avoid oral herpes simplex. I further recommend never making out with girls who wear black lipstick.
This allows me to make it to Irving Plaza in time for the big Slint show. The only Irish connection here is that this crowd makes the Commitments' audience look so cool-and a daylong drinking binge might explain the dazed look of all these sad aging hipsters. Everybody looks seriously troubled as they gather to see this justly forgotten band that was a major big deal in the fanzines of 1989 and 1991. These suckers almost turned this into a three-night sold-out stint, so you'd think there'd be some sense of merry camaraderie. Instead, it's like going back to 1979 and attending a Quicksilver Messenger Service show in San Francisco.
Maybe it's dawning on everyone that they wasted time adoring a supposedly hip act that was ultimately so much droning prog-rock. Consider that this band's big musical heritage would go on to be the For Carnation. At least Slint seems properly ashamed. The lead singer is facing the side of the stage, and the other guys are keeping their heads down. The lights are down and there's no talking during the long, awkward pauses between songs.
Even members of the audience are being sharply shushed if they start speaking. Maybe everyone's mourning their lost youth. I'm suddenly perfectly happy to spend the rest of the night amongst a raucous crowd at Arlene's Grocery for Cathy Cervenka's Loser's Lounge franchise-this time celebrating the music of U2. Yeah, they're Irish, but Bono acts genuinely happy about meeting our president. We're better off with Paul Wolfowitz running the World Bank, though.