THE CLEAN, LIVE SAN FRANCISCO 6/19/03....
Last week I plunked down for the best ticket in town, a free set by New Zealand pop legends THE CLEAN
at my local record emporium Amoeba Music
. If word hasn't yet reached you about Amoeba, it's worth booking an open-return ticket to San Francisco for -- a former bowling alley converted into several miles worth of new & used CDs, records, DVDs and the like. The year-old LA store even one-upped the two SF Bay Area locations by adding an upstairs and packing in an even more ludicrous amount of music. Needless to stay it's a frequent haunt, but the icing is the odd quality free show they'll bring in from time to time. Thus, The Clean
, who were playing three nights out here supporting Yo La Tengo
. I saw them a couple years ago & it was pretty revelatory -- the old stuff sounded like it had just been written, and they played just about all my faves save "Billy Two". As I propped myself on a stack of Orchestre Baobob CDs for a better view, I marveled at how this
time the real eye-opener was how fantastic the new stuff sounded; I mean, I'm
jaded enough; wouldn't these fellas be sitting back on their founders-of-kiwi-pop laurels and milking it a bit
at age 40-something? Not a chance. The new, post-"Getaway"
material chimed and floated with all the whimsy you'd hope for & was underpinned by David Kilgour's shrieking wall-of-surf guitar. Only a 35 minute set or so, but I reckon that comes with the territory for a free in-store. Some great hero-worshipping was spotted in the stacks as well; as the brothers Kilgour loaded up their arms with merchandise pre-show, they were accosted by a small army of Kiwi-heads and pop fiends. Nice to see, as they likely couldn't get arrested in the US 10-15 years ago & are beginning to receive their just rewards now.