Thursday, August 20, 2009

FF in PHX (2002)

FROM THE ARCHIVES, AUG 20 - This originally posted on, 4/22/02.


One-man band Fast Forward drove from Los Angeles to Phoenix, AZ this last Wednesday for a rare live performance with Olympia, WA.'s one-man band Thrones. This drive, one eighth of the distance across the continental USA, consists of three parts; 1) a relatively painless stretch past the car dealerships and strip clubs of the eastern inland valleys, 2) a reverent stop at the General Patton Museum in Chiriaco Summit, CA, 3) 400,000 hours across the scorched and insensate desert. Seen along the way; 1) several cryptic groves of headless palm trees, 2) a billboard featuring a troop of marching cartoon ducks, reading United We Quack To Stamp Out Child Abuse, 3) one unmarked chrome container truck, reading only Inedible - Not Intended For Human Food. The band passed the state line at dusk, the only time zone in the U.S. one can cross without actually changing times. In Phoenix, banner ads were seen for the anti-tobacco proposition 200, reading Secondhand Smoke Kills! At various intersections along the route, smaller signs could also be seen taped underneath each banner with arrows pointing upwards, reading so do hot dogs!, and so do cars!, and so do cheeseburgers!

Joe Preston of the Thrones was already at the club. He produced a flyer for a show Thrones played with Unwound last month, their last. Both bands were listed on a tombstone. "They didn't have to list me on the grave," he said quietly. A young man in a horse poncho arrived. Some locals recognized Mr. F___ of Fast Forward as the guy who drunkenly found himself behind the club while looking for the men's room at a different show last year. A small beam of recognition crossed Preston's face. "Hey... I played here eleven years ago. This is where I poked a guy in the chest with my bass."

Fast Forward played at ten. A small bomb had been constructed with road flares and a stolen alarm clock. By 10:04 the set was over and Joe found himself stamping out a few pathetic flames on the stage. In the rush to exit the club, Fast Forward had scattered a stack of flyers which various concert goers silently picked up and returned to their neat little piles on the shelf by the door. The flares had filled the room with a thick sulfur stink. Later, during the Thrones set, Mr. F____ could be seen at the back of the club, hair mussed. “History,” he muttered, “will exonerate me.”