Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Carbon/Silicon at the Troubadour! Lordy!

Monday's Carbon/Silicon show was more heavy on the rock than anticipated (listen to some of the stuff off their website to gain a better understanding of this), and though certainly no Clash or Generation X, the Mick Jones-Tony James pairing is pulled off well when you've got a chance to see the differences in their mannerisms and styles. It was quite lucky that they managed a venue as tiny as the Troubadour, floor capacity 147, and while the show was sold out and rather packed with fans of all ages in black leather, it was also lucky that – save for one bastard who yelled out in inappropriate timing to “remember Joe Strummer” while Jones asked him nicely to quiet down – the audience was a polite bunch.

Mick Jones, to put it bluntly, comes off as a bit of a dandy; sort of a frail build, hunched shoulders, crows' feet around those permanently baggy eyes, delicate hand gestures to complement his speech. His teeth are dreadful and he's got white hair so high on his chest that it peeks up from under his shirt collar. He makes a cheap blue suit look even cheaper by pointing out that he's left in the pins, but somehow looks elegant and proper even when muttering up a storm of profanities under his breath and complaining about his irritating cuff links. Meanwhile, second guitarist Tony James (onetime London SS band mate and former Generation X bassist) has a thin crop of white hair all around his head, and sort of resembles a new age yoga instructor (though one that would get the ladies swooning, no doubt). He's the one in the band with the real looks, a smile like David Bowie's, pretty blue eyes, and a willingness to let his first couple of shirt buttons to go undone while he puckers and stands with his guitar over a bent knee. My mom dug him.

The band played a fairly short set, less than two hours and with no opener, plus they showed up late in the first place and stuck quite strictly to their set list, which contained no songs from either of their prior bands (and no, there were no Big Audio Dynamite requests). It was actually a refreshing change to see aging rock stars who didn't live in the past, instead opting to stick with what they'd started together in recent years. They're insisting with the music alone that they're not at all has-beens, and are a solid band in their own right, as Carbon/Silicon, which Jones pointed out as a solid 50/50 effort.

The show was also entertaining – Jones' voice hasn't changed a bit since his Clash days, and though he was a touch hard to hear during each song, except for the chorus of “What the Fuck?” during the band's encore, quite obviously, his nonsensical storytelling alone was worth the effort of admission. Stories ranged from “I was in Costa Rica and saw a yellow anteater” to “You know when you're on the moon looking back and you think, 'fuck?'” And then there was the one about being in another country with the Clash on tour and seeing all the food shops, somehow equating that to learning lots about other cultures. I dunno, he was an awkward speaker. But amusing nonetheless. And best of all, amid all the posing he and James did for what seemed every camera in the house, the two were smiling their asses off, showing themselves to be, quite possibly, the happiest band in the world.

Just added 12.12.07: Video clip! Video clip!

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