Post Number 68: In Which the Critic Reviews His Own Band

When I started at Boise Weekly, the paper got a lot of flack for my music reviews being a little more “honest” than the city was accustomed to. See here for an example of what I’m talking about. And there was also a lot of  absurd hubbub that what is written in reviews has solely to do with who is friends with who, never on any principled belief in journalism or open debate. Half as a joke, and half to prove a point, Amy Atkins, the old BW A&C Editor asked me to review my own band. I don’t think she thought I would actually do it. But I did, and every bit as honestly as I would have any other. Moreover I did so at a show when I really wasn’t at my finest. Well played Josh. The review wasn’t ever published, which was a shame, because in addition to being a good meta-joke, I thought it was fairly effective in showing that it is not who is being reviewed, but what they are doing and what standards it meets or falls short of, that ultimately determines the outcome of a review.

I just rediscovered that review while cleaning up some files on my computer. So here it is. Notorious music critic Josh Gross reviewing Godcrotch, the one-man project by notorious music critic Josh Gross.

Godcrotch is a Jarring and Erratic Musical Journey Through Adolescence

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You probably shouldn’t expect much from an act that calls itself Godcrotch. It portends of juvenile boys giggling over songs about pee-pee and poo-poo, perhaps tossing around profanity like it’s going out of fucking style.

And for at least a third of Godcrotch’s set at Tom Grainey’s basement on Tuesday, July 5, that’s an apt description. The one-man act rapped about skateboarding and dog poo, occasionally berating the audience whenever a song or “joke” didn’t land properly with all the dignity and maturity of bathroom graffiti.

But the other two thirds were oddly compelling in their own way, even though rough.

Godcrotch’s act toggled back and forth between morose ukulele ballads about suicide and regret—and one Judas Priest cover—and a series of short raps laid over beats made via a series of instruments plugged into a looping pedal. One of the raps, a duet performed with a member of the Idaho Atheists, was particularly absurd, beginning with the lyrics: “I fuck God in the face on a regular basis.” You can guess about where it went from there. Both “rappers,” had to read from lyric sheets for that song, as they said it had been written just that evening.

Some of the beats were interesting, using beatboxing as the foundation, and then layering bass, guitar and percussion on top. But at least two songs contained live loops that were played slightly out of time, likely due to a general nervousness on the part of the performer. He said repeatedly that this was his first attempt to play live with this setup. It definitely showed, both in the roughness of the performance and the bizarre mismatch of the material.

But there’s something to be said for the pastiche of things that don’t really go together. Though it may have been jarring, it definitely wasn’t predictable. Besides being outlandish, it’s entirely likely that Godcrotch himself may not have had the first clue what he would do next. And that can be sign of good things on the horizon. However, if or when those things will arrive is anybody’s guess.

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