Geek Rock
Digby went down and nobody was there.

By Sarah Tackett

Let me explain that the words nerd and geek are not synonymous. A nerd is the smart kid, with snot running out of his nose, who always rocks the spelling bee and persistently asks you what mayonaisse is made out of, along with other stupid questions you can’t answer. He’s the guy that does the double arm pump/overbite when excited, and usually it doesn’t take much to get him excited. Geeks are pretty much everybody else. We all have dorky habits that come out when we are really being ourselves. Basically that is what geek rock is, music played by people who are no image and all themselves.

Last Thursday my nerd-friend, whom I absolutely adore, invited me out for a night of geek rock at High on Rose. What the hell, right? So arriving late (greeted with a single arm pump), I walked into the pleasant noise of the Jimmy Carter Experience who was just finishing up their set. It was like the kids I used to babysit had bought guitars and started a band. The lead was dressed in boarding school gear reminiscent of Harry Potter, and they were singing about shadow puppets. Hardcore is right. I was totally amused, and realized that there was no place I’d rather be when, to top it off, the bass player moved out into the audience and gave me the rock equivalent of a lap dance. I looked around to see if anyone else was having as much fun, and noticed that I was one of the only people in the audience who wasn’t being paid to be there.

I was even more surprised when no one trickled in to see the main act. Digby, from nearby Louisville, can’t possibly be unknown in our fair city. But they might as well have been a monkey with a tambourine from Idaho, because nobody showed up. So I settled in for my personal performance, imagining that they must be quite terrible for nobody to be there. The band themselves seemed less than pleased with the turnout, and set up their equipment with all the enthusiasm of rubbing one out.

The lineup looked decent, actually better than average. They were five deep, informal, and when they started to play their sound was complete. They took over the room with little effort and big resonance. The beer-drinking bass player sent chords through the floor that bounced rings in my beverage. The keyboardist was all over the place with his humongous hands. Everybody was backed by the hyperactive drummer, and the vocalist turned into highschool-hearthrob making love to the mic. Looking through his glasses into the floor he seemed like the shy-type, but maybe he was just the pissed-type because nobody was there. Unfortunately the lyrics were pretty much unintelligible. I caught an occasional chorus line but that’s about it. Afterwards, I looked the lyrics up on their website. There were references to poetry worth hearing. Too bad you couldn’t hear them.
But what caught my attention, what really set Digby’s sound apart from every other geek rock band, was the lead guitarist. He was playing with the feedback and distortion effects that made me think, cool. He was psychedelically understated at some points, and rocked until his neck veins popped out at others. He brought Digby’s music together and made it sound distinct.

Digby was a professional jeans and t-shirt band, with a polished sound, appealing to geeks of all types. They seemed to have fun playing despite the crowd, or lack thereof, and deserve a double arm pump/overbite. Shame on you Lexington, for not checking them out.

This week you have a chance to redeem yourselves. The X-Ecutioners are playing at the Dame Thursday, June 10th. These turntable vets have been spinning records since the days of Atari, long before your momma bought you your first No-friendo. They promise clean routines and complicated beats that will either make you stutter or leave you breathless.

The Festival of the Bluegrass is going on both Friday and Saturday which should be worth moving your buns outside. And check out our cover on Los Lonely Boys who are playing, Monday the 14th. There is plenty of stuff going on to keep you out of Applebee’s crappy corporate happy hour, so actually read “The List” go and make merry.

Also in A&E this week, I want to congratulate the newly elected officers of the Lexington Art League. President Charles Stone, Vice President Germaine O’Connell, Treasurer Larry Isenhour, Secretary Bill Hagan, and Member at Large Amber Scott. May you have a totally fabulous year, and remember, we will be watching you. n