My Rock&Roll Weekend
I had a killer weekend — the most fun I've had in quite a while. Here's the rundown:
As previously mentioned, on Friday I drove down to Ventura with friends to hear The Get Up Kids on their final tour. The show was just brilliant. They played a really long set — easily two and a half hours, with the three encores. And the even threw in some tunes from the lead singer's side project, The New Amsterdams. They managed to hit pretty much all of my favourites, including Ten Minutes in the last encore, a song I couldn't help but sing at the top of my lungs. Apologies to anyone standing in my general vicinity.
The Ventura Theater is, as promised, a really great place to see a show. It reminded me of The Warfield in SF, although much smaller. But the place looked great and there was lots of room. And the floor was stepped, so we snagged a spot at the rail just behind the soundboard, for an unobstructed view and the best possible mix. Which, it turned out, was kinda muddy, but it’s hard to know if that’s the venue’s fault or the band’s.
Actually, The Get Up Kids played a pretty crunchy show; they sounded more punk* than I was expecting. Which was fine by me — I have every record and know all the words by heart, even if they’re being screamed unintelligibly. But it made the music a little less accessible to my friends who aren’t such dedicated fans. At least, less accessible than the albums are.
The opening act, Limbeck, was pretty solid. Mostly up-tempo alt.country. They sounded to me like a less-polished version of The Jayhawks. I’ll probably try to get their CD. I should have just gone to the merch table, but I didn’t feel like waiting in line.
Saturday turned into a completely unexpected throw-down of epic proportions. My college friend, Tommy Trouble, was in LA for the week and drove up to SB for a show. Funny thing was, Tom was convinced that I lived in San Diego. So there he was, talking to Jason on the phone, apologizing that he wouldn’t be able to hang out with us because he had driven up to Santa Barbara rather than down to San Diego. But after Jason sorted out Tom’s limited knowledge of California geography, we met at The Press Room for the relatively tame beginning of what became a very long night.
Beers at The Press Room segued into dinner at Zen Yai, which led into more beer at Elsie’s, then over to The Blue Agave to meet Tom’s friends, who took us us into the Nerf Herder show (they’re local SB boys, by the way) at Velvet Jones where Tom, ever the badass, talked our way through the door without tickets. When the show was over and the bar shut down at two o’clock, I got shanghaied into a trip to SpudNuts with Matt and his friends, and then cabbed it back to Aron’s house on the Mesa where we rallied in time to catch another cab to the after-party at someone else’s house downtown where some kind soul made me a hotdog with mustard and then eventually gave me a lift home in time for me to crash into bed just as the clock ticked over to 5:00am. I don’t do this kind of stuff every weekend (thankfully), but my buddy Tom is a freakin’ rock star. So you just gotta go with it.
The Nerf Herder set rocked. I only have one of their records, so I don’t know all of their stuff. But they put on a great show for a small but energetic hometown crowd. And they played the Buffy theme! How cool is that? It’s only about 60 seconds long, but it’s something I never thought I’d hear live.
Sunday, obviously, was mostly shot. I was supposed to be working on a freelance website project for another friend, but I couldn’t really manage to focus on the computer screen for any longer than 2 minutes at a time. So I’m going to have to pick that up tonight.
But I took the afternoon easy, so I was feeling mostly human by the time evening rolled around. I went to see Cinderella Man, which was only mediocre. And kind of cloying — I mean, even more so than usual for Ron Howard. But even if the movie wasn’t great, the company was excellent. So it all worked out.
* As my buddy Kirk would no doubt point out, on the grand scale of punk rock these guys don’t even rate — so let’s just say they were leaning toward the punk side of emo.