Monday, August 22, 2005

DEVO Concert and DEVOtional in Cleveland

Aug. 19, 2005

Much to my surprise I'll get to attend the annual DEVOtional services after all.

That's at The Lime Spider in Akron, a nice bar that has sponsored DEVOtionals and also devivals before. Here's the blurb on the DEVO fan site:

And tonight, in Kent, Ohio, Mark Mothersbaugh's traveling art show opens. I guess Wei and I will go to that as well. It'll be the first time I've ever actually been to Kent.

Princess Wei and I bought the expensive floor tickets to the DEVO show at the last minute, by email, went to the outdoor Scene Pavilion, met Rev. Chris Lee and Rev. Prostata Contata, as planned, and also encountered many other SubGenii, the more insane WCSB DJs, and otherwise devolved friends and acquaintances, including the ubiquitous Rev. Steve Scynic.

The show started on time and, what can I say, it was a DEVO concert. I've seen about ten of those, and the main thing that distinguished this one especially for me was that everyone in the band is ten years older and fatter. Performancewise they were the same young spudboys, which is exactly what DEVOtees want.

For the first half they wore the classic first-album yellow radiation suits, then they tore those off to reveal their new black T-and-short-pants minimalist uniform.

They noticeably stuck to songs from the early albums. A stagehand who was a Princess Wei admirer gave her the actual filth-besmeared set list print-out after the show:

(DEVO Concert Video Overture)


There were no big changes to song structures, no weird versions, although "Freedom of Choice" began with an "America the Beautiful" intro and a sarcastic rant about the current state of American politics.

Throughout the whole last half of the show I was wondering what Mark had stuffed in his crotch that made it bulge cartoonishly. It was a giant sack of multicolored marble-sized SuperBalls, which, during the climactic number, he emptied by bouncing handfulls of the balls all off the stage into the audience.

For me a high point was when Gerry Casale addressed the crowd to say that de-evolution has turned out to be, if anything, much more real than the band had suspected when they were young. He declared, "I'M SORRY WE WERE RIGHT."

After the show, partially thanks to his nephew, we found our friend Rev. Michael Pilmer, the DEVO archivist who is now in their employ. He was handing out decal stickers with pictures of Energy Domes that you can punch out and plaster everywhere. "Spread 'Em Like a Virus," it says on there.

Holy shit, I just now noticed the credit line on this sticker: copyright 2005 DEVO Dome Illustration by Krk Ryden

Well I be damn. Rev. Krk Ryden (brother of Mark, also an illustrator) just joined the Church this year.

We met the band's new drummer for the first time. I asked DEVO guitarist Bob Mothersbaugh how his kids were, all grown up by now, and he said, "See that blond woman in the red shirt over there? That's my daughter Alexi, she was on the Shout cover," and I realized, I had met her when she was a 6 year old! We kept her up too late filming the R. U. Experienced? video. (She's the little girl sitting with a little boy when the TV explodes -- the little boy was Dr. Tim Leary's son.)

Much to my great horror, Gerry Casale now looks YOUNGER than me by about 15 years. He must have struck a deal with The Elder Bankers or the Gnomes of Zurich or somebody. Satan maybe. Mark Mothersbaugh, thank god, looks his age. In fact he and Rev. Bleepo Abernathy could now pass for twin brothers. I got to introduce him to Princess Wei. The last time I saw Mark, I was married to someone else. Unfortunately, he won't be at his own art opening in Kent, nor will any of the current DEVOs be in Akron for the DEVOtional, because COMMERCIAL MUSIC PRODUCTION CALLS. They have to run back to Mutato in L.A. to do a commercial or tweak a movie score.

I didn't see Rev. Bob Casale after the show, darn it. He's the only member of the band who actually PAID HIS $30. His wife Lisa is duly ordained too.

Much to my own ego gratification, and as heartening examples of continued DEVO-SubGenius crossover, six or seven people who were complete strangers to me approached and said nice things about the Church or The Hour of Slack. Three DIFFERENT complete strangers -- handsome young studly fellows -- approached Princess Wei and asked if she was "the space princess." One of them said, "Weird how the Internet can make you famous, huh?" This prompts me to envision dozens of studly young men happily wanking to digital photos of Wei on computer screens. Disconcerting. SHE probably thinks it's "COOL".

Anyway, hordes of newly-discovered Wei-stalkers aside, I was gladdened to see DEVO playing to a nice healthy-sized arena crowd, obviously making good money, while inspiring the geeks, abnormals and Beautants to resist surrender for another day or year. And in Cleveland, yet.

We will join our fellow enhardened DEVO fanatics at the DEVOtional geek-in on Saturday. But we won't be there until the evening; there's a street-wide mass yard sale on our street during the day, and we have several previous lives and families worth of excess material crap to get rid of.

Today I hope to edit an 8X-Day teabagging conga-line video. Yes, an 8X-Day teabagging conga-line video. For, NOW IT CAN BE TOLD -- WE'RE ALL DEVO!

By chance I have started reading "Guns, Germs and Steel" by Jared Diamond, which comes to the same basic conclusion that a DEVO concert does: de-evolution IS real.



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