In this line of work, feeling a little old on the job is an occupational hazard. Still, few times have I felt more disconnected from the concertgoers around me than I did walking in during the last two songs by critically despised teeny-bopping post-hardcore act I Set My Friends on Fire, wherein the singer interrupted his screamo growl to make a joke about a booger, much to the delight of the crowd. It was that kind of night at Modified, where humorously profane female rap trip Millionaires headlined a show with ISMFoF and Cash Cash.
Millionaires are a MySpace success story and -- unlike ISMFoF and Cash Cash -- don't have major label backing, but they were definitely much more on the ball than their tourmates last night. Taking stage in their usual clubby attire, the girls performed to a playback that had all their music and many of their background vocals while a shirtless, shaggy-haired blond kid who reminded me of a young Perez Hilton pushed the "DJ" buttons. Millionares might be a little silly -- and I certainly wonder about the parents who dropped their kids off at the "Just Got Paid, Let's Get Laid Tour" -- but they're doing something a little new and different.
While there's no doubt their lyrics encourage all sorts of undesirable behavior, from binge drinking to thinly veiled prostitution, I chose to believe they're making insightful satire on contemporary culture on tracks like "Martinis and Mixed Feelings" and "I Like Money," rather than honestly espousing the opinions they voice so convincingly. Either way, though, it was fun to watch.
Cash Cash, on the other hand, was pretty insufferable. Starting with the soundcheck, wherein they yelled "check, check" through the mics at least four dozen times through 10 unending minutes, they took themselves entirely too seriously. The New Jersey quartet is clearly heavily influenced by Fall Out Boy (they even mention an important trip to Pete Wentz's NYC club in their bio) but, since that look and sound has already been done, they're grasping at straws, and seem to have latched on to MGMT, adopting a milder form of the influential band's bandanna-and-torn-neon-clothes look. Sonically, tracks like "Electric Hearts," are just half-rate FOB fare, with a few electronic tinges tossed in to up the '80s factor that seems to sell so well nowadays.
"Party in Your Bedroom," the song that got Cash Cash signed, is pretty catchy, though probably not catchy enough to get them much further than they've gotten. Nothing would be a better conclusion to this '80s revival thing than seeing a bunch of wanna-be-rock-star college dropouts working at the new millennium's version of Guitar Center, like those they've idolized. Who knows? But, as an old-timer, I've seen many a better band meet such a fate.
Last Night: Millionaires, Cash Cash, and I Set My Friends on Fire at Modified
Better Than: The bands were at least better than Tokio Hotel at Phooson. At least these bands are borrowing the style of bands worth borrowing from. Millionaires are, for my money, much better than Peaches.
Personal Bias: I'm 28.
Random Detail: The Millionaires' tour T-shirts, which had a condom for one of the O's on the front must cause quite a stir at local high schools.
Further Listening: Millionaires' "Alcohol," which they closed the show with. It's a truly great little piece of pop-rap.
By The Way: If I were the sound guy who had to listen to Cash Cash singer Jean Paul Makhlouf bitch during that soundcheck, I'm not sure I could've contained myself.