The Journal of Paul Marino|
CMJ Showcase Review
11/11/2006 06:04 a.m.
On the evening of November 1st, 2006, Swearing at Motorists appeared on the Lower East Side of New York City, in the basement of Fontana's Bar (CMJ), for what may have been their second to last show for quite some time (see myspace icon). The venue was snug, and in the shape of an hour-glass. My date and I squeezed through audience members in rather dark lighting until we picked a spot left of center and three or four bodies from the stage, which was brightly lit. After several minutes of leaning against each other and listening to rap on the speakers, we saw a red-eyed Dave Doughman take the stage. To begin the night, he introduced an older gentleman to read an original poem entitled "Swearing at Motorists 5." Dave had said the man was a great poet and didn't lie, because I failed to register a word he said and still enjoyed the rhythm.
The poet exited stage left to a rousing ovation, and Dave walked up to the vacant mic. After one breathy but barely noticeable false start, he began to sing intensely and move like a slowly circling spider in-between lyrics. The song was one I hadn't heard on any Swearing at Motorists album, and contained a very unique line about a newspaper on a lawn, which made me reevaluate Dave's lyrics for the true poetry they are. I became overtaken with emotion during parts of the song, but in other parts, I was distracted by Dave's mannerisms. He threw himself onto the microphone, bared his teeth with the lyrics, and performed like a lead singer in a cheesy rock video. Regardless, I was completely absorbed by his singing and masterful stage presence--he owned the whole stage while gracefully maintaining his rhythm.
The song ended to another raucous applause, and Joseph Siwinski stepped up on stage and tucked behind his drum set, where he was introduced by Dave. As soon as Joseph's drums kicked in, and the band performed older songs like "I'll Only Sleep," and "Telford to North Main," it was the Swearing at Motorists I always pictured, playing in a living room in Dayton, with sound better than that of the stereo in my old Mercury Sable. Joseph and Dave "tore it up," as I predicted they would, when a very different Dave stepped on stage. I had seen Swearing at Motorists a few nights earlier in Providence, RI, where both Dave and Joe had appeared absolutely exhausted. This time Dave was excited, and Joseph rather pouty, which worked perfectly on stage as Joseph angrily banged the drums and Dave jumped and twitched with his guitar. Dave's over-exaggerated facial expressions were sometimes too uncomfortable to watch, so I looked at Joe instead. Watching Joseph drum made me gain new respect for the song "Not Tonight." I realized for the first time that "Not Tonight" was one of the most well-percussioned songs Swearing at Motorists has to offer.
In the end, Swearing at Motorists is memorable because of Dave's emotional expression and poetic essence, as well as Joe's very loud sound. The show version of "24, 40, or 65" has come to be my preferred rendition because of the very loud beginning. This performance was Swearing at Motorists as they were invented in my mind and always played out on my factory speakers; a beautiful explosion. At one point late in the show, Dave took a moment to tune his guitar and thank the audience for being so great the last "ten or eleven years." If this does turn out to be Swearing at Motorists' last hurrah, it was the epitome of a band walking away on top.
Editor & date-Sarah Mae Allard
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