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    Stereolab at The Belly Up

    Stereolab at The Belly Up, 1999.
    Laetitia Sadier handles the vocals.

    Solana Beach, California
    November 19, 1999

    Stereolab: They came, they saw, they played, and everything was just fine and dandy…until the end of their set, that is. As the band retired backstage and the Belly Up began to defecate most of its patrons, I leaned over the front of the stage and peeled one of Stereolab’s set lists off of a monitor. As I gazed nonchalantly down upon it, I noticed in my peripheral vision a hirsute ogre, who had been tearing down sound equipment up on the stage, lurch forward in my direction. Not exactly a respectable ogre of ancient myth or fairy tales, this specimen was of your ’70s burnout garden variety: 40 or 50 years old, complete with a shaggy mop, a full beard, and enough wrinkles, meth-pocked skin and bad breath to fill a million Camaros.

    Stereolab at The Belly Up, 1999.
    Sweet Home Alabama!

    Unconsciously assuming the ogre was about to pick up a cable or some such object off the front of the stage, I kept looking at the set list. Without a word or warning, he suddenly plucked said list from my hands and tore it up into a million pieces right in front of me. The ogre then gingerly released the paper flurries, causing them to cascade down upon the stage in a slow-motion snowstorm of cruelty. This random act of supreme dickness was so unexpected and caught me so off guard, I was struck speechless. The ogre promptly returned to the back of the stage and continued his tedious chores as I sauntered away completely baffled. But, it didn’t take me long to figure it out. Just because your rock star dreams got crushed a dozen times over and you’ll spend the rest of your life as a lowly, frustrated stagehand doesn’t mean you have to take it out on me, Mr. Ogre. Why don’t you set your sights a little higher, like maybe get a job at Guitar Center, where you can be grumpy and mean to the public with all of the other failed rock stars–and get paid more for it!

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