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April 6, 2004

Unicorns run circles around Ponys, Beans

Libby: Hi, Jenn.

Jenn: Hello, chuffster.

Libby: Jenn, my wife, what did you do last night?

Jenn: Something magical. I ventured into the nether-regions called the Logan Square Auditorium. It's an interesting place for a concert, kinda like a high school auditorium. It seems like a lot of people don't know about it. And they have cool concerts. Like Mum (pronounced Moom).

Libby: I happened to be there as well. And what did I see? But Unicorns of course! And Ponys and Beans. It was a veritable festival of creatures. Beans aren't creatures, but we'll come back to that later.

Jenn: It was like a food chain, because the Unicorns were the supreme animals of the three, and Beans was the crappiest.

Libby: Unicorns do not eat ponies, nor do ponies eat beans. But continue with your analogy.

Jenn: Who are you to point out mistakes like that? I think sometimes in their lyrics, the Unicorns get themselves confused with centaurs, like when they say "We're the unicorns and we're people too." You're fuckin' not, says I.

Libby: At any rate, we're here to report back that the rapper Beans was weird and crappy. Like a rapping Wesley Willis, replete with strange fits and elbow juttings. I just couldn't get into his music and I couldn't tell if the crowd was cheering him out of actual like or pity.

Jenn: But regardless, the Unicorns took him along for part of their tour, so there must've been something good going on, maybe.

Libby: Let's get away from this bad memory. What about the Ponys? I thought the girl was cute. She had pigtails. In fact, every band member was cute, but the songs weren't terribly interesting. It was the kind of show that reminded me of other shows I would much rather be at.

Jenn: What other shows did you want to be at?

Libby: The Unicorns. I wanted to skip ahead a few hours and have them come onstage.

Jenn: Let's just skip ahead a few hours. The rest is just kind of not important. But first, can I nostalgicize? So, the Unicorns played at the Fireside Bowl sometime during winter quarter. It was really fucking cold. The point is that while my friend was trying to park the car and not get a parking ticket, I stood outside in the cold waiting for her. And there was this really little 12-year-old boy there, waiting outside with me. But I suck and I did not say hello to this little boy. Said little boy ended up being the blisteringly sexy lead singer of the Unicorns. Let's just say massive regret was had.

Libby: But, said little-looking hot lead singer person was selling CDs at this concert. I like it when famous singers sell their own CDs. It brings the music home to the peeps.

Jenn: Yeah. Like when Phil Elvrum of the Microphones sells CDs in the basement of a Mexican restaurant after his show, and I am too nervous to say hi.

Libby: Yes, no hellos were said to members of this band. However, later onstage the Unicorns portrayed themselves as quite the assholes. They told the audience to kill every heckler after the show! And whenever someone left they said, "Cool, now the show can really get started because the losers have left." That's not very nice.

Jenn: I really liked when their reasons for how the main heckler (who looked like an illustrious jock) found out about this show. Like he overheard a conversation in Tower Records and wanted to be a hip indie kid too, who goes to "underground shows." Maybe he thought it was a ham and bean dinner and got confused. Like he sees a sign for a show and says to himself, "Oh, Beans!"

Libby: Yeah. Anyway, I want to talk about why I'm glad the Unicorns are not typical indie rock. They make fun of songs about breaking up with girlfriends. They're right, that's just not interesting any more. We need more songs about ghosts and hating each other. That's what the Unicorns sing about and that is cool.

Jenn: Do you think they sing about such things because they are from Montreal? Does that city have a ghastly history? You just went there; you must be the expert.

Libby: I don't know. It's old. And cold. I hate you.

Jenn: I hate you, too.

Libby: I hate you.

Jenn: I hate you.

Libby: I hate you.

Jenn: I hate you.

Libby: And then they started wrestling, and that was funny. But a little too drawn-out. I felt like the skit-and-joke portions were not icing on the cake, but rather like finding out that the cake is hollow and it's already midnight and you have to study for a Latin quiz, and you've just wasted all this time digging into a hollow cake.

Jenn: But to be fair, the cake was not hollow, unless you are thinking of the pre-cake of Beans and Ponys. A cupcake? I'm hungry now.

Libby: All I'm trying to say is that, yes, ghost stories and teasing hecklers are fun, but let's get to their amazing music.

Jenn: There's four instruments and only three people. Guitar, bass, drums, and synth. That's interesting. They were switching all the time and it made me feel like I got what I paid for. I also felt like I got what I paid for because one of the singers was wearing just a little pink vest, with no shirt under it. And he looks like he's 12.

Libby: He lost his shirt. As another band member said, his loss was our gain.

Jenn: Indeed.

Libby: How would you describe this music, in case anyone would want to check out these awesome animals who can only be touched by virgins?

Jenn: Fun, poppy, piano-basedÂ…I guess involving a keyboard?

Libby: Synthesizer, very good there. I like how their songs tend to change a lot mid-song. And they're all about ghosts and dying. Oh yes, and they played a lot of new songs. They were good. It wasn't a study in how your favorite band is going downhill.

Jenn: That's so true. I'm usually disappointed when bands display new material. And there was even one song by the 12-year-old boy who sang by himself. That was cute. A little solo action. Libby, what's your favorite Unicorns song?

Libby: I like "I Don't Wanna Die." "We don't want to die in the ocean!/We don't want to die in our sleep!" For some reason I like when boys sing really high. But those are lies because they actually do want to die, or so they admit later in the album.

Jenn: I don't know about you, but I didn't mind that they finished up with "I Was Born a Unicorn," although they were a little lacking in the Unicorn department that evening. At the Fireside Bowl they had not only a pink dancing unicorn but also a gorilla, and they made love onstage. And it was tender. I think that's the only way the show could have been better.

Libby: I don't know about that making love onstage. I don't think that musicians should be permitted to exhort us to fuck or do drugs or kill, all of which they pleaded with us to do. Not with them or anything. Just later, after the show. That makes me uncomfortable. Especially when the band is named after a pure creature such as a unicorn.

Jenn: I want to touch a unicorn.

Libby: You can.