Damn you, Carson Daly and your subversive ways. After an excruciatingly long day at the office (yesterday was press day, you know, and I pinch hit for Grandpa Shikes, our managing editor, who plied me with a delicious pizza from Benny Blancos, allegedly made by one of the dudes from Forth Yeer Freshman), I made it home around 10:30 or so, in time to eat a giant bowl of ice cream and watch some smoking hot chick ramble on about something or another on Letterman.
That's the last clear thing I remember about last night. I slept through Conan, but woke up (sort of) in time for Last Call with Carson Daly. I sat through the segment about the beer bottle organ, and then drifted back off to a half-sleep while he interviewed Lonny Ross, but was roused when I heard something about Flobots being up next. "Stay awake!" I urged myself. "Stay awake!" Alas, though, the next thing I knew, an infomercial about buying houses with no money, yada, yada, and then becoming somebody's rich uncle was staring me in the face. "No! No! No!" I muttered.
So, damn you, Carson Daly, for being on so late on a school night. Flobots were the only reason I tuned into your blasted show, and then, because of your late programming, sir, I missed the whole goddamn thing!
Luckily, thanks to bh11222, who has already Youtubed last night's performance, I've had the chance to see what I missed, which, trust me on this one, was a hell of a lot.
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After being introduced by Daly, who holds up a disc you can barely see (good call by DeVotchKa's flacks having Conan hold up an album), the camera moves to the side stage where the kids are already waving their hands in the air like they just don't care. Similar to the DeVotchka clip from the night before, a wide establishing shot then zooms in on the viola player, the lovely Mackenzie Roberts, as she plucks out the opening strains of "Handlebars" (natch), before alternating between Jonny 5 and the transfixed crowd boisterously singing along with the ubiquitous hit. Not too many close-ups of guitarist Andy Guerrero, bassist Jesse Walker and drummer Kenny O, but trumpeter Joe Ferrone gets some decent face time. After his solo is when things explode. You can feel the intensity build as a rather subduded Johnny 5 assumes a more typical form, summoning his trademarked, awkward, thousand-yard gaze to go along with his rigid, robotic-like arm gestures, while Brer Rabbit, Walker and Guerrero headbang so vigorously it seems like their heads might snap off at any moment. By the end of the number, even on a two-inch screen, the dramatic tension the band has created is stunningly palpable.
On this night, Flobots indeed "kill" it, as my man bh11222 so eloquently put it. See for yourself below.
-- Dave Herrera