New York wasn't the only thing that blacked out Thursday.

You're either the life of the party, or you're not. This is not something you evolve into; it's something you learn in, like, second grade. You're either Andrew W.K., cock rock star, or Andrew D.B., columnist.

If you're the latter, it may very well be that the most macho thing you've done all week is (a) noting the sparse crowd at Graceland's Scissorfight/Playing Enemy show on Thursday, (b) sprinting to the bar every two songs to snatch a new screwdriver, (c) pouring half of each down your throat, half down your shirt, midheadbang, (d) spitting liquor into the air during Scissorfight's Southern-fried hardcore, then (e) playing bloody elbows with parked vans and brick walls. In select company (i.e., people who know you just well enough that you can't fool them into believing that you've ever been the life of the party), said behavioror what one remembers of said behavioronly equals bummertime. Just like N.Y.C., it's been 26 years since baby's last blackout . . . although my last time probably had more to do with being a zygote than wanton alcohol abuse.

The night after this meltdown, having eschewed a golden ticket for the sold-the-fuck-out Björk gig at Pier 62 in favor of a Hint Hint-headlined Argosy "booze cruise" at Pier 55, I predictably opted to discard the immediate past and further embrace behaving like an asshole in public. Approximately 100 of Seattle's loveliest seafaring hipster scumbags, five knuckle-dragging white hats from Redmond, and two uniformed officers agreed wholeheartedly.

Top deck: wobbly '80s dance party. Bottom deck: bands rocking out at the bow. Both decks: just one bartender and daunting lines for weak, pricey cocktails. While the presence of what my first mate, Jonah, dubbed "the Gestapo" demolished the cruise's orgy potential, in-john, um, nose powdering went unchecked, and a valuable lesson was learned: No booze cruise, rock show, or for that matter, day on Earth should go by without bare-chested nipple biting. As Ferris Bueller might say, "It is so choice. I highly recommend it." Oh, um, my badthere was live music, too. Just back from tour, Hint Hint unveiled a stellar selection of brand-new, cowbell-heavy dance-punk jams as the skyline loomed larger and larger in the backdrop.

As the Hint Squareds would surely attest, it's great to be young and not suck. In rock and roll, there's no difference between being 40 and being 95, bedridden with Alzheimer's, an oxygen tank, and a catheter. R.E.M. New Order. Prince. Depeche Mode. These gods of the '80s have lapped their creative primes so many times that I feel obligatednay, destinedto see each one's hit parade in person before they croak.

In no small part due to my misguided "solo project" on Thursday, I ended up eating a +1 for Mode frontman Dave Gahan's $48 (?!) Saturday set at the Paramount. Trudging in alone as the lights went down, I didn't expect an Olympian display of mike stand twirling, and I mean Jennifer Beals' Flashdance leg kicks plus Steven Seagal's Out for Justice cue sticks. I mean what Trent in Swingers would refer to as "twirly-whirly shit." I didn't expect jumping jacks. I didn't expect the guy sitting in front of me to impassively knead his girlfriend's ass cheeks like wet clay while she did the ex-Goth/current receptionist arms-overhead dance of the dead.

I did expect "Enjoy the Silence," and after each of Gahan's acceptably dark newbies, psychotically voiced my expectations aloud to nobody with, "OK, now how about 'Enjoy the Silence'?" Dave did at least deliver "Walking in My Shoes," "Personal Jesus," "I Feel You," and "Never Let Me Down Again." Plus: even more jumping jacks!

Sunday was possibly our last blast-furnace-hot day of the summer, a perfect day for decompression and mindless bitching about live rap. And when I say mindless, I mean mindless. I see hip-hop acts perform to tape, and I get pissed; I see hip-hop acts perform with live instruments, and I get pissed. (Not as pissed as I got Thursday, but hey.) Despite Talib Kweli's hella ad-lib, "Fuck George Bush! I'm not a Dixie Chick; this is the Liquid Mix," the insanely cheap ($10 for N.E.R.D. and the Roots at a shed? Boss!) Sprite Liquid Mix at White River Amphitheatre was a nonevent.

At least I finally lost my backstage virginity, sampling chicken wings, green beans, watermelon, and, oh yes, Sprite (ribs were a no-go, reserved for "Sprite executives only"; goddamn this fuckin' journalism degree!). No alcohol, thoughthe venue was inexplicably booze-free. So, yeah, the Roots' populist space jamcovering everything from Nelly to Salt 'n Pepa and featuring a charming cameo from a 5-year-old drumming prodigy barely taller than a bongoand N.E.R.D's sassy cred (fuck Ashton Kutcher; Pharrell brought the trucker hat back) were both super. Raising up to "Lapdance" is nice foreplay. But running into inanimate objectsthat's orgasmic.

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