Sunday, March 05, 2006

MUSIC: The Subways + 'O.C.' Marketing + Stage Theatrics = Kindergarten at the 9:30 Club

THE FORMULA IS QUITE SIMPLE: Mix in an English rock band from Hertfordshire, a prominent appearance on Fox's ultimate marketing vehicle, "The O.C.," and expect a youth-filled spectacle at the 9:30 Club. That's what happened early Saturday evening at an early show at 815 V St. NW. featuring The Subways.

As I approached the club, I noticed that there were numerous people there who were considerably younger than me, many who were getting both hands branded with a huge stamp indicating they were not old enough to drink. That didn't matter to the kiddies, they wanted their Billy Lunn and Charlotte Cooper, though they probably didn't even know their names (I certainly didn't know their names, nor that they were featured on "The O.C." prior to arrival.). But when you're talking about "The O.C.," name-recognition doesn't matter. It's all about the music featured on the show. (In this case "Rock & Roll Queen" and "I Want to Hear What You Have Got to Say.")

MR. LUNN AND MS. COOPER were certainly pleased by the big turn-out, considering the early show, which started around 7:30 p.m., opened by Hives-esque Los Angeles-based The Shys (who weren't all that bad). Simple, modest "Thank you, D.C., you're wonderful!"s from Ms. Cooper eventually turned into crowd pandering by Mr. Lunn, who would later be seen leaping from stacked stage speakers to the 9:30 Club's balcony. By the end, these tactics to energize the crowd started to work. I'm surprised he didn't break his ankle jumping down to the stage, but many of the kids there ate it all up, probably thinking that all indie rock shows involve "impromptu" stage theatrics such as balcony leaping. But maybe all of Mr. Lunn's energy is actually genuine. And maybe Ms. Cooper's voice isn't as shrill when it isn't being amplified across a music hall.

I DON'T THINK I can ever respect "The O.C." until Rupert Murdoch forces the show's producers to fuse the plot line with that of "24." Then The Subways can make a return appearance playing "Oh Yeah" as Ryan and Jack Bauer save Marissa and Summer from terrorists trying to blow up Orange County's San Onofre nuclear power plant.


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