On the riverside last night for the final Lado w Miescie at Plac Zabaw featuring none other than the glorious Deerhoof. I did idly wonder how Lado ABC / Plac Zabaw could book a band like Deerhoof for a free show on the riverside and lazily speculated on how to finance something like that for future Too Many Fireworks plans and schemes. I was reminded though that Lado ABC released the last Deerhoof record in Poland and they’re all mates. So that explains it. Sort of.
As we sat in the sunshine, eating chips and discussing football and the moral obligation to support the underdog, my friend Michał suggested, while we wait for Deerhoof, we walk along the river to Grunt i Woda to the Bobby the Unicorn show, before making our way back later. Walking along the Wisła in the dusk has its own jeopardy. Bugs aplenty and the warm, moist environs of the human mouth are their (admittedly unintentional) destination. Thankfully I avoided any major incidents though I do wonder – with a shudder – if any are still nestling in my hair as I write this.
Live, Bobby the Unicorn’s music is not as twee as I had previously expected. There’s the name, of course, and I’ve heard some of the recordings but largely I had expected something a little more fey due to the performance at our most recent Scores event. What we got though, was vaguely reminiscent of new wave indie rock. I heard a little of the Cure and a little of Interpol in there and there was a lot of harmonised / octaved guitar soloing which was pretty cool. All in all, the 3 songs we caught before returning to Plac Zabaw were fun.
On our way back to Plac Zabaw, we met Kayax-er, manager of Swiernalis, and ex-IndieTalk panelist Paulina Jarysz. This was the first of several moments of recognition embarrassment of the evening. Now, this is not to say I didn’t recognise Paulina. She and a friend emerged from the darkness along the riverside and I heard only “Hi Neil!!”, passing them as I did so. We turned around and my eyes fell on Paulina’s friend and the momentary panic of realising I didn’t recognise the bearer of these greetings began to set in. Thankfully within a fraction of a second I realised who was with this unknown face. Sadly, and with some regret, we had to tell Paulina we wouldn’t be coming to Swiernalis’ gig at Cud nad Wisła as, y’know, Deerhoof. Paweł Swiernalis is another live show I must see sometime soon. Of course, even this led me to the deepest depths of embarrassment as momentarily flustered, and scuppered by an earlier conversation with Marta where I pretended not to be able to pronounce “Swiernalis”, my brain decided to shatter my image of an erudite, knowledgable man about town and delete any memory of how one might pronounce this slavic name. Next time, Paweł, I promise I’ll get it right next time.
Off to Deerhoof we went. It was tremendous and certainly the busiest show I’ve seen this season at Plac Zabaw. The last time I saw the band play was in 2005 so my levels of excitement to see them – albeit through a jungle of heads and shoulders – were peaking just as the band hit the stage. A lot of noise, a lot of energy, and one of my all time favourite drummers in Greg Saunier. Fantastic. And they played Dummy Discards a Heart, my own personal favourite.
And here we now enter what I like to refer to as recognition madness pt. 2: The return of recognition madness. I had earlier told Wieczorek that Dummy Discards a Heart was my favourite Deerhoof song, so when this began, and I felt a tap on my side, I thought it was my good friend recognising this. I looked up to see another face staring back at me, one I didn’t recognise, and he was extending his hand. I had no idea who this man was, and the baseball cap didn’t help (I believe in his autobiography, John Peel wryly observed that the decline of human civilisation began when non-American men – although to be fair, I think he wrote British, but I’m in Poland – started wearing baseball caps, outside of the baseball field). So in an effort to give myself a moment or recognition, I offer my own hand to his for the standard Polish greeting of a sturdy handshake. He recoils slightly. I persist though and as our hands shake, it dawns on me, he simply wants to get past. We both awkwardly finish our handshake and he walks by.
And I will never hear Dummy Discards a Heart again without cringing at this memory.