Blur & Rentals Better Than Sex (Well Almost)

Blur and some unidentified friends.

ATN San Francisco correspondent Clare
Kleinedler attended
the Blur/Rentals show at the Fillmore Auditorium Monday night (Jan.
29)
. We
must warn you that the intensity of the show, combined with Ms. Kleinedler 101
degree temperature (she has the flu), clearly warped her perspective. This is
particularly obvious when she compares Blur to Oasis at the conclusion of the
review. As we all know, there is no question that Oasis is the superior
band :-)
Yet Ms. Kleinedler, caught up in the excitement of the moment, forgot this
basic truism. Oh well. Keeping all of that in mind, here is Kleinedler’s
report:

Orgasmic, it was, and I am not lying when I say this. Whoever says
that pop music can’t completely rock needs to slip on that condom and pay
attention. The Rentals did a superb job with the foreplay, opening with the
machine love song “The Love I’m Searching For.” Rentals frontman (and Weezer
bassist) Matt Sharp was all over the place, and backing vocalists/Moog players
Cherielynn and Tanya couldn’t keep still for more than a second. If you think
The Rentals are just about looking Russian and acting frigid, you need to see
them live. The friends of “P” thrashed through “Naive” and “Please Let That Be
You,” but toned things down for the “woe is me” love songs which included
“These Days” and “Sweetness and Tenderness.” And of course, they played that
“P” song. Even through a bit of taunting from the crowd (“Play Buddy Holly!” to
which Matt played a three-second version of the Weezer song), Sharp and Co.
kept the audience satisfied, and got them hot and ready for the
headliners.

Blur walked on stage around 9:15 to a screaming crowd of
twentysomethings, most of them trying desperately to look “British” with their
Adidas sneakers and Puma shirts (get a life). Singer Damon Albarn immediately
took over, said “hello” to the sold-out crowd, then plunged straight into
“Tracy Jacks.” The band was incredibly in key and performed with profound
energy, with Damon climbing up on to the eight-foot tall speakers and diving
off onto the stage.

Guitarist Graham Coxon, who has a reputation for being
an introvert, was amazingly vital as he pumped out ferocious licks for songs
like “Mr. Robinson’s Quango” and the massively appealing “Parklife.” Drummer
Dave Roundtree pounded the drums with unusual force (and that is a good thing
in case you’re wondering) and the two-man horn section added a thick quality to
the songs. The crowd roared as Damon displayed unbelievable elasticity,
grinding and leaping around like a madman. Resident bad boy and bassist Alex
James stood still most of the night, but his oh-so-sexual hair tosses and
naughty grins kept the girls in the front row gazed in lust.

The crowd was
all in sync as they sang along to a surprising number of songs, including “To
The End,” “Charmless Man,” and “End of a Century.” Damon even pulled a few
audience members onto the stage, letting a very lucky girl sing the chorus to
“Girls & Boys.” The charismatic singer ensured his acceptance by the crowd when
he sincerely announced that “San Francisco is like our second home, if we were
to have one.” And when the band played a little bit of the Oasis song “Roll
With It” (the song that was defeated by Blur’s “Country House” in the Blur vs.
Oasis deal in the UK some months back), the whole house shook with knowing
laughter.

When we all thought it was over, Blur came back for more, playing
two encores which, to everyone’s amazement, included the infamous “There’s No
Other Way” off the Leisure album. They closed with an extraordinary
version of “The Universal” and it was like God. There’s just no other way to
describe the feeling of seeing over 1,500 people waving their arms screaming
“IT REALLY, REALLY, REALLY COULD HAPPEN, WHEN THE DAYS SEEM TO FALL STRAIGHT
THROUGH YOU, WELL JUST LET THEM GO!” like they really, really believed that
something amazing was going to happen. Hands reaching, tears rolling, lighters
waving, the whole bit. Truly, truly orgasmic.

I hate to get into the whole
Blur vs. Oasis thing again, but it was almost one year ago to the date of the
Blur show that Oasis played the same venue, and there just is no comparison.

Three words: Blur kicks
ass.