I'm still thinking about North American Scum's final show last Saturday night in the crowded back room of El Rio on San Francisco's Mission Street.
Thinking is an abnormal activity, more so when you pay money to see an LCD Soundsystem cover band, then drive back to your Oakland apartment, have a seat in your living room recliner, open your phone's film-streaming app, find and re-watch the first half of the Creators Project documentary "Shut Up And Play The Hits" and hear Chuck Klosterman ask James Murphy: "When you start a band, do you imagine how it will end?"
Murphy's answer: "I didn't start a band, I made a record and then we had to, people were asking us to play, and it seemed like a cool opportunity to go to London and play this cool gig. I mean, we were always calling ourselves, we were the LCD Soundsystem cover band. We were the best LCD Soundsystem cover band in the world. Because we were doing essentially what a cover band does. There was a record made and then we would listen to it. In fact, I was very adamant about it: I will never tour, we will never do the bullshit that like, go away for a really long time and then tour. I didn't want to. It seemed stupid. There was no conception of we were starting a band."
I had a blast. I ran into a woman who was a great bartender at my Eastlake neighborhood dive. I ran into a design and user-experience conference planner who doubles as a karaoke junkie. I hung my leather jacket off the room door's top edge, tied my sweater around my waist and stood a foot or two inside, catching the breeze when people would come in or head out to the bar. For some reason, I didn't drink.
I listened to the between-set DJs spin like actual humans, with a just-off-the-beat-matching style that fit the room and the band: Teddy Pendergrass' "You Can't Hide From Yourself," The Bucketheads' "These Sounds (Fall Into My Mind)," Kano's "I'm Ready," and newer stuff like Shit Robot's "Do That Dance" and The Rapture's "House of Jealous Lovers."
When I say I'm a journalist, I think of my job but also other stuff I do, how I choose to behave. When I say I'm a blogger, I think of what I used to do regularly at my own domain and now wind up posting on a variety of platforms. When I say I'm a musician, I think of the songs I write and sing and play, and the live bands and the DJ sets I get to enjoy. When I say I'm a fan, I think of people I meet who proselytise and pulpit-pound for particular, individual choices, objects, experiences, views and stances.
Nights like last Saturday, I get lucky and get pushed into the Venn diagram overlaps of these roles, the same feeling I get when I go out and sing karaoke, or go out in public and busk, or go to a tech or some other kind of industry panel presentation or discussion, or have a really good conversation with an Internet friend or a co-worker.