THE PLAN See the Constantines open for the Tragically Hip in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire, at 8 pm. Set ends 8:45 pm. Haul ass to SPACE Gallery for Sontiago, Dilly Dilly, and Kid Koala, beginning 9:45 pm.
8 PM Enter Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom as Constantines begin set. Security needlessly elaborate, metal detector wands included. Strange venue. Multiple bars, groups of long cafeteria tables on periphery filled with aging Canadian rock fans. Equal number long-haired men and women. Inordinate number of hockey jerseys.
8:30 PM The Constantines rule. Five-piece Ontario band appear to have no agenda aside from making the tightest, tersest rock music possible. Bryan Webb’s gravelly, forceful vocals add bluesy grit. Occasional bits of arena-rock grandstanding (clap-alongs, hands raised in the air) are perfectly goofy, because what’s up with this venue? Band would be life-altering at the Asylum.
8:45 PM Band end on time. Rush to car. No car key. Dropped upon weapon check at entry. Ask surly entrance maiden if she found key. Denied.
9-9:45 PM Repeat key-search process three times, with pauses to call AAA (denied), convince friend to pick us up, walk around Hampton Beach (not recommended). Final trip to Door Nazis: new person working; key has been sitting in a box all along. Bastards.
10-11 PM Haul ass to Portland. Miss Sontiago and Dilly Dilly. Blame Canada.
11 PM-ONWARD Kid Koala drops jaws. Live camera feed projected onto stage proves Kid is for real and arguably the best mixmaster in the game. Set is seamless and incessantly danceable. Kid oozes charisma through sheer politeness and hard work. Mix of obscurities, club-bangers (Kanye West, Outkast, M.I.A.), and unlikely indie/rock tracks (White Stripes’ “Blue Orchid,” Bjork, Rage Against the Machine, Arcade Fire, Godspeed You Black Emperor!(!!!)) is exhilarating. Highlight: a transcendent remix of “Moon River,” Kid gliding between string samples until a crowd of 300 melts in deference.