A Tale of Two Concerts
This past week, I attended two very divergent live acts containing “Kids” in their respective band names, the New Kids on the Block and Black Kids. They are at opposite ends of the career spectrum, but there are certain lessons that could be gleaned from each show.
On Friday, I saw NKOTB in full reunion tour glory at the HP Pavilion. Long ago written off as a joke, NKOTB had to wait 15 years for this stadium tour, which didn’t sell out, but which probably lined their pockets with enough dough to make their retirement even more comfortable. In my grunge, indie, electronica, Britpop filled teens and twenties, I had almost forgotten that at one time, the New Kids were the biggest act in the world. The fact that I knew most of the lyrics to their hits also reminded me that as a Catholic middle schooler, I horded their cassette tapes, bought Bop for pictures of Jonathan Knight, and even owned NKOTB fashion plates.
The lesson from the New Kids, is patience, patience, patience. These guys did not go on terrible druggy benders in their 20s, but instead settled down into either completely reclusive lives (in the case of Jonathan, who was always the shy one) or at worst, joined other C-list stars on the reality show circuit (Joey and Jordan), or took their hand at acting (Donnie, who was soon eclipsed by his little brother Marky Mark). For their late-30s, the New Kids were in remarkable dancing and crooning form.
While the New Kids were manufactured as a Boy Band back in pre-WWW era, around this time last year, the Black Kids picked up blogger buzz, with a very infectious song, I’m Not Going to Teach Your Boyfriend to Dance with You (which is currently iTunes’ free download of the week, a sign that it has crossed over to mainstream popularity). Despite this buzz, they are a young band, and their manager was a little too ambitious in booking them in SF this time around. In the spring, they split the bill at Mezzanine with Cut Copy, but their most recent show at the Fillmore was moved to the much smaller GAMH. The initial booking shows that their manager ignored the normal SF venue size progression (from small to big fan base): (1) Slims / Bottom of the Hill; (2) GAMH / the Regency/ the Independent / Bimbo’s; (3) The Fillmore / Warfield / Paramount / Zellerbach; (4) Greek / Shoreline; and (5) HP Pavilion / Oracle Colliseum. In the case of the Black Kids, it was definitely a bit ambitious to book the Fillmore, since they only have enough material to be a festival / split billed act (their set was only 60 minutes along, because that’s all they have to play, making for a short Monday night dance party).
 My favorite line from this song is still, “He’s got two left feet and he bites my moves.” One of my favorite versions is Kate Nash’s gender bending cover.