Ironic Mustache ... BINGO! 

Yes, friends, it's bingo. And it's too, too cool.

Unless you stagedive, instigate barfights, engage in games of "Pass the Dude," or spend entire Stork Club shows playing Ms. Pac-Man in the back room, rock concerts are not fundamentally interactive events. You pay the doorman. You acquire libations and consume said libations while staring at the music-generating individuals onstage. You clap appreciatively, hoot lustily, or boo. If you are an unimaginative douchebag, you shout "Free Bird!"

Otherwise, you pretty much just stand there. Particularly when the band sucks, but oftentimes even when it doesn't, this state of affairs can bore your shoes off.

Enter Hipster Bingo. Currently holding court at Catbirdseat.org/catbirdseat/bingo.html, Hipster Bingo joins the ever-flourishing canon of anonymous Internet gags. Modified concert-oriented Bingo games have enjoyed sporadic popularity for years; Down in Front associates are particularly fond of Guided by Voices Bingo, consisting of randomized song titles. It adds a whole new exhilarating dimension to those epic three-hour GBV shows.

Bob Pollard: "Alright, here's 'Goldheart Mountaintop Queen Directory!'"

You: "BING-OOOOOO!"

But Hipster Bingo innovates by gently bashing the young and ultracool, spreading a list of hipster fashion accessories randomly across a bingo card. The list, maestro:

An ironic trucker hat, old-school Pumas, a too-small sweater, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Miller High Life, a high-school sports T-shirt, a hoodie, a white-boy Afro, an eight-foot-tall guy, a four-foot-tall girl, a circa-1968 Mick Jagger haircut, old-school Chuck Taylors, an ironic mustache, old-school Vans, an über-hot Asian hipster (male), an über- hot Asian hipster (female), a "grandpa" (any hipster over thirty), a purse with a skull on it, a guy wearing a cabbie hat, a tattoo of a star, Parliament cigarettes, "that '70s ski vest," a blogger with a digital camera, and of course, chunky plastic-frame glasses.

Throw in the free space and you're ready to (indie) rock.

We've recently enjoyed splendid Hipster Bingo games at many fine Bay Area social engagements. As talking or interacting with another human would compromise the integrity of the rock journalism experience, these were solo games with a thirty-minute limit.

It's tougher than it looks.

Liz Phair at the Fillmore

Down in Front actually attended this show with a gentleman sporting a white-boy Afro and his roughly four-foot-tall wife, but that's cheating. Furthermore, both the four-foot girl and the eight-foot guy distinctions hardly qualify as "hip" -- these are genetic predestinations, not conscious efforts at coolness. But a four-foot girl dating an eight-foot guy? That's hip. Which leaves an extra space on the board for ... the visible thong? Camouflage pants? Or what about the concert T-shirt from a show the wearer is clearly too young to have voluntarily attended?

The youthful gentleman wearing the Pyromania-era Def Leppard tee will do nicely.

At first things go swimmingly. The chunky black glasses materialize instantly, as do the ubiquitous mesh-back hats. Liz Phair's drummer sports one, in fact; furthermore, her white bassist boasts a full-blown Afro and her guitar player is named "Dino." Upstairs there lurks a circa-1968 Jagger haircut, though the fact that it belongs to a fortysomething woman is slightly disconcerting.

Though uncomfortable with the subjectiveness of the über-hot Asian distinction, we discover a suitable male peeping the merch booth. We hover for a moment, silently hoping he buys the official Liz Phair hoodie ($30), scoring us a splendid two-for-one coup. Though he doesn't, he does emerge shortly thereafter with an über-hot Asian female on his arm. Excellent. They walk off into a virtual sea of Hipster Grandpas.

But here the trail goes cold. Pabst Blue Ribbon and Miller High Life are unlikely to be present, as they'll cost $20 a pull at the Fillmore. Cameras are not allowed in this venue, so the blogger is out. And what makes a mustache ironic, anyway? How does one sincerely wear a mustache?

Running out of time, we race outside to mingle among the smokers, hoping to catch a sight of Parliament cigarettes. But the packs themselves don't materialize for long, and we're hesitant to quiz people on their brand for fear of inciting violence.

Time expires. Damn.

Ruby Room/Radio on a Saturday night

Behold the dueling banjos of ultrahip Oakland post-rock-concert nightlife. First, the Ruby Room, where hipness pervades but the disadvantages are plentiful: not a lot of people, an ostensible smoking ban, and that creepy cavernous deep-red lighting that makes it difficult to see anything.

Still, immediately, the glasses. Hot Asian ladies are plentiful. There's a dude with a star tattoo on his elbow (he's got the glasses too). And a hot Asian dude looms over the pool table. (Actually, he looks kinda wan and sickly, but chalk it up to the weird lighting.)

And just like that, we're one away from bingo. Unfortunately, the missing piece is the digital camera-wielding blogger -- unlikely.

Instead, we focus on staking out the PBR tap and staring at people's shoes ... sociopathic behavior, but this is journalism.

No luck.

On then to Radio (travel time was deducted), which starts great -- a cabbie hat and the old-school Vans lurk right outside the door. Inside, the Jagger haircut reemerges, again on a chick. Staking out the PBR tap again, we're one away from bingo in three places ... all we need is the blogger, the high-school sports T-shirt, or the Miller High Life. But the blogger is no more likely to come here, few people are wearing T-shirts, and the bar doesn't even stock the beer in question.

Time expires. Fuck.

Lollapalooza at Shoreline Amphitheater

Eureka. A Utopia of white-boy Afros, mesh-back hats, hot Asians, and blocky glasses. Perry Farrell's here somewhere, and he's the prototypical Hipster Grandpa. Second-stage Southern rock darlings Kings of Leon supply both the Jagger haircut and a particularly ludicrous ironic mustache. And finally, a gentleman with a digital camera darts around targeting merry packs of young ladies; not sure what this dude's up to, but he has supplied us with ... BINGO!

Victory. Satisfied by our presence in the ultimate hipster enclave, we kick back and watch the Donnas.

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