Friday, April 15, 2005

Party Like It's 1999

Once upon a time there was a little idiot who went to New York to seek her fortune. It was a long ago time, when Paris Hilton was merely a luxurious hotel situated minutes from the Eiffel Tower. When September 11 was just...Saturday. And a small nebbishy bald man with horrible teeth and an even more horrible stage name was the great white hope of the future of music. It was September 1999. The little idiot was me. The orthodontically-challenged maestro was Moby, and oh how I loved him. Such strange and lovely music, like nothing I had ever heard before. It was new, it was exciting, and the best part was nobody back in my little suburban enclave had heard of him. Moby was my wonderful, avant-garde, oh-so-hip, New York secret.

Then about three weeks later Moby licensed every damn track on his CD to every commercial, WB teen melodrama and movie that came down the pike and traded quite a bit of his street cred with it. It was hard to be the vanguard of hip when your "art" was being used to sell shit at Nordstrom. The last time I saw Moby, when he was the uber-successful darling of the music scene, the concert hall was populated with somnambulant hipsters looking quite disinterested in the affairs, rather than the amped-up dirty hippie kids (read: fun people) at my first show.

Not easily daunted, I carried the Moby torch for quite awhile, but time, geopolitics, and something resembling maturity drew my attention away. When once I was going to Moby shows every three months or so, I recently discovered that I had not seen him perform in over four years. When he was to appear at the 9:30 Club in DC this month, I decided to buy tickets, but with a healthy share of skepticism. It couldn't possibly be the same. I was no longer the wide-eyed college freshman of yore, but a bitter old executive assistant. I doubted that I could heed Moby's poetic call to "rock the body, rock the body, uh-huh."

Oh but rock the body uh-huh I did. Alas, Moby is no longer as in vogue as he once was. But the fun people are back. It was like a convention of short geeky chicks with their tall boyfriends jumping about like mental patients. Many a Napoleon Dynamite shirt was to be seen. Everyone -- Moby included -- seemed happy with the proceedings. The critics hated the show, harping on the performer's fall from grace, as it were. The New York Post reviewed his show there with the headline "Moby Commands Geek Nation." I was delighted. I donned the blue eye makeup and waited for a (non-forthcoming) autograph as in days of yore and happily staggered into the office the next morning on too few hours sleep and a club stamp on my hand.

So much for maturity. So much for being on the cutting edge. So what?