Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Hear This 

Like punk rock conga lines and dissing Moby? This show's right up your alley.

Wednesday, Jan 21 2004
The most frequently asked question people have after an encounter with John Ruskin, aka Nardwuar the Human Serviette, is "Is this guy for real?" A DJ on college radio since 1987, Nardwuar is an enthusiastic supporter of the underground music scene in Vancouver, B.C.; the founder of his own label, Nardwuar Records; frontman for the band Thee Evaporators ; and a journalist best known for his guerrilla-style interviews with rock stars and celebrities that have been broadcast on MuchMusic, Canada's cable access music show. With an impish grin, a fondness for vintage plaid apparel, and an arsenal of obscure tidbits of info, Nardwuar's idiot-savant-on-Ritalin persona elicits mixed reactions from the famous and the almost famous. In the "Best Of" video retrospective shown prior to his band's performances, Nardwuar is seen presenting Moby with a copy of the techno artist's tour rider (it seems he requires 10 pairs of clean underpants for each show) and reciting postings from to an annoyed Jack White of the White Stripes that describe, in detail, the Detroit singer's alleged sexual prowess. Nardwuar is either the world's most offbeat interviewer or history's most successful celebrity stalker.

And then there's Thee Evaporators. Comprised of a trio of veteran musicians from the Vancouver scene and Nardwuar, who sings and tinkers on keyboards, the band is like a cross between the campiness of Alvin & the Chipmunks and the manic joke-punk of the Dickies. With self-explanatory song titles such as "(I've Got) Icicles on My Testicles," the group's material is as fun and warmly irreverent as anything by '80s novelty-song paragon "Weird Al" Yankovic. But the real joy in seeing the band perform is watching Nardwuar entice audience members to do silly things during each song -- like forming a spastic punk rock conga line. More often than not the crowd participates, possibly because the singer's man-child spirit is contagious, or perhaps because there's a little bit of Nardwuar in all of us.

About The Author

Bob Cantu


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"