Monday, June 09, 2008

i love the flobots and i don’t care who knows it

The only problem with the Flobots is that I first heard them on KROQ. For those of you who don’t live in L.A., KROQ is basically the official radio station of every kegger party you wished you didn’t go to. They have sexist, racist, homophobic, mostly unfunny morning DJs (whom I listen to regularly for nostalgic reasons and for Ralph, the guy who does the showbiz reports). They only play rap by white guys.

The latest white-guy rap song in heavy rotation is “Handlebars,” a clever, toxically catchy song from the point of view of a Bush-like character: “I can take apart the remote control/ And I can almost put it back together…. I can hand out a million vaccinations/ Or let ‘em all die in exasperation.” (It’s no coincidence that the Flobots like to rap that they spell their name “F-L-O-No W!”) KROQ DJs have already labeled them a one-hit wonder, but AK was curious enough to go to their MySpace page, where we quickly discovered that they have more to say in one song than Kevin and Bean have had to say in two decades.

And then we found ourselves buying tickets to see them at the Troubadour and feeling a little weird about the evening: The only time we’d be venturing into West Hollywood during Pride weekend would be to see a KROQ show? Where we’d be a good eight years older than almost everyone in the room, Flobots included?

But we put our indie pride (which seems to be stronger than our gay pride) aside and enjoyed a great show by a group of kids who are still discovering their voices (and, incidentally, are not all white) and still blatantly wanting to change the world in way that’s raw and angry and inspiring, not Sheryl-Crow-fights-global-warming-ish. I was wistful for my own rawer, angrier years and also like, Fuck it, I can be raw and angry and 31. I can change the world with art and a nonprofit. Which is what the Flobots are doing. They also have a viola, which helps.

Some of the kids in the audience were true believers, some were true music fans and some were KROQ kegger boys who like things that are loud and new. It probably wasn’t so different from a Barack Obama rally, and I left feeling about the same: like I’d been whisked up in a revival tent, caught up in the rhythm and magic, and happily converted.

8 comments:

Tracy Lynn said...

Dude, I love that handlebar song.

Cheryl said...

Me too. I like that it's allegorical without being too on-the-nose, and genuinely chilling, and catchy as a cold.

Veronica said...

that sounds just wonderful. i'll have to check them out - and you know how i feel about music that appears on kroq.

Laura and the family said...

OH, was there a song???? (winks mischievously)

I was told by a friend that if there is a song that you like, it will always stick in your mind. As for me, I just made my own songs up in a car, then ended up being caught talking to myself when someone I knew drove by to say, "Hi." I have seen hearing people singing themselves in the car, so why not me? Am I normal??? :-)

Cheryl said...

V: They accidentally play something good every once in a while, which, in a way, makes them even more infuriating.

L: I sing to myself in the car all the time, and I can promise you I'm not much better than the average deaf singer. In fact, people might wish they were deaf upon hearing me. But for an audience of zero, I'm an amazing performer.

Laura and the family said...

I doubt. Whenever we get together, my boys can judge our singing. They will tell which one sing better: you or me. Actually, whenever I sing, Dylan always says, " Mom, you sing bad!" Ryan would join, "Yah, you be quiet!" That tells how bad I sing. Feel better?

thelastnoel said...

The Flobots? Were they into 70's television, like The Bionic Woman? The Fembots were characters I absolutely loved!

Cheryl said...

I don't know, but they seemed like they'd be into '70s stuff, from politics to hair. Even though they were probably all born in the '80s.