We’re Just Trying To Have Fun. (or, A Celebration of the Unencumbered Youth Explosion That Is Geocash.)

By Brian Whitney

In one particularly memorable passage from the book Moneyball, author Michael Lewis is interviewing Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane about his time as a professional player. Beane relayed this tale about future All Star Lenny Dykstra:

“Lenny says, ‘So who’s that big dumb ass out there on the hill?’ And I say, ‘Lenny, you’re kidding me, right? That’s Steve Carlton. He’s maybe the greatest left-hander in the history of the game.’ Lenny says, ‘Oh, yeah! I knew that!’ He sits there for a minute and says, ‘So, what’s he got?’ And I say, ‘Lenny, come on. Steve Carlton. He’s got heat and also maybe the nastiest slider ever.’ And Lenny sits there for a while longer as if he’s taking that in. Finally he just says, ‘Shit, I’ll stick him.’ I’m sitting there thinking, that’s a magazine cover out there on the hill and all Lenny can think is that he’ll stick him.'”

The anecdote is telling with regards to the makeup of a successful person: thinking, particularly overthinking, can get in the way of the successful execution of an idea. It is often more beneficial to simply get up and do something without thinking of the repercussions, or, in the words of the Butthole Surfers, “It’s better to regret something you have done then something you haven’t done.”

So it goes for Geocash, an up-and-coming duo of Milwaukee high schoolers who performed at The Vault last Saturday night. The pair had a very unconventional stage show that amounted to something of a mix between the harsh emotion and visceral percussion of Xiu Xiu and the blaring beats of Crunk, without really sounding like either of those things. The key point though, is that the band really laid themselves on the line without worrying what people thought about them, and this ends up being their greatest strength: the ability to do something truly different in the face of convention.

Their setup consists of a guitar through a tiny combo amp, a SP303 sampler, a Casiotone, and an iPod with preprogrammed beats running through a small PA and a half-assembled drum kit. You’d expect a band of two younger people with this kind of setup to be making some sort of distortion-free Juno soundtrack-style soft indie rock, but from the first note Geocash make it pretty clear that the stage is theirs. Within two songs the drum kit had already been dismantled and spread around the room, with cymbals being dropped onto the basement floor to create a jarring sound that acted in sharp contrast to the tightly composed drum tracks. Guitarist James Dolence rotated between playing his parts, dropping said cymbals on the floor in time with the beats, and dancing to the beat. Singer Andy Petr acted as though he himself was plugged into the amplifier, spending a good deal of the set rolling around on the floor in an Iggy Pop-esque manner, only it came across more like drunk fun than serious angst (They describe this element of their performance as “going buck”, which is the most accurate description I can think of.) Given the earliness of the hour (and composed nature before and after the set), it’s more likely that he was fueled by pure braggadocio than any substances.

The most interesting aspect of the performance was the between-song banter. The band continually asked everyone if they were having fun and enjoying themselves. However, this questioning didn’t come across as insecure, but rather as if they were aware of the extreme comfort that they felt with their own performance, and wanted to bring the audience with them, which is one of the hardest things for a performer to do. When asked about their perspective of the live performance, Petr says, “The live shows are really about energy and spontaneity. People usually don’t know how to react. What we hope is that the audience gets into it. Some do, some don’t. Either way, there’s usually a strong reaction. We’ve moved rooms and cleared rooms.”

What really came across in Geocash’s performance was pure confidence. It’s one thing to say you really don’t care what people think, and entirely another to do something that proves it. The band played to what could be described as an apathetic crowd, mostly interested in the more straightforward rock bands that were to follow. Petr and Dolence are taking chances where others prefer to tread water, and it is my hope that they will be rewarded for it.

For more information on what they sound like, when they’re playing next, or how to book them, check out their MySpace page here.

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One Response to “We’re Just Trying To Have Fun. (or, A Celebration of the Unencumbered Youth Explosion That Is Geocash.)”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    oh geocash,

    I swear you guys keep the monster company in business.

    nice tie-in to that book whitney, I just got done with it.

    e.b.c. dave

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