We’ve wound up playing unintentional house shows in the past and it’s usually bad news. In this case it worked well for us. Very well. I’d dare say it was the most fun I’ve had playing in Longview since our Halloween show of Rise Again fame. The story is a bit fuzzy, but about a week ago we discovered that Reid’s Pit Stop wasn’t ready for our show so we put the word out that we were looking for a venue. Our main motivation was getting long time friends The Secretions and their tour mates The Bugs a show since both were far from home wanting to avoid a night off. A few hours later our friend Joel (former guitar player for BXF and the owner of the second 800 Octane tattoo ever) offered to put us up in his garage/bar/party pad known simply as “Thunderdome”. Mission accomplished. The show got off to a late start but wound up being pretty fantastic. The Bugs sounded solid and won me over with a song called “e-mail from a she-male”. There weren’t a ton of people for their set, but by the time The Secretions started people really started to roll in. We’ve seen them play many, many times and I gotta say they rocked the hell out of the garage. The guitar players jumped on tables, couches, the bar, people and anything else available to walk on, stand on or jump from. I never thought I’d see someone dislodge a mirror ball from a ceiling with their head, but only a band like The Secretions could accomplish this task. Unfortunately the night took a brief turn for the worse. As we started to load in and tune up I heard the phrase we had been dreading, “dude, the cops are outside”. Right on queue two cops came in with flashlights looking for the owner of the house. Initially we were pretty bummed that we drove up there, setup and wouldn’t get to play. However, it had been a fun night and the other bands got to play for people, which really was our main goal. We loitered around for a bit and debated unloading and then Joel decided the plan would be to wait 20 minutes and then we’d bust through a 20 min set. His thinking was that the cops would leave, we’d play and by the time they returned we’d be done. Looking back the logic was a bit flawed, but it sounded like a good idea at the time so that’s what we did. We closed up the doors, packed people in and played a quick, fast, loud and sweaty set. The thing that made it really cool is that we knew pretty much everyone in there. Most of the people have been coming to see us for years, so it was definitely a different vibe that usual, more like a kick ass party than a show. I don’t know what it was like for the people watching but for me it was amazing. Looking out seeing familiar faces crammed in singing along is still sticking with me a day later. If you were there you most likely saw a version of ‘Day Of The Dead’ with Justin on bass and Dave sans instrument. My favorite moment however, was being egged ino a version of ‘Astro Zombies’ with Danny Secretion and pretty much the whole room singing. I can’t even express what a good time I had playing. There was one small spoiler to the evening though. Literally half way through unloading the cops returned. Joel wound up getting a $250 ticket which pretty much sucks. If you see him around buy him a drink and thank him for taking one for the team. Many thanks to The Bugs, The Secretions and all the familiar faces who stuck around late. Sorry again Joel, we owe you one. Perhaps even 250 of them.
We tried to play in Roseburg 2 years ago and we had to cancel due to the van breaking down. We tried last year as well, but had to cancel due to an unexpected trip out of the country for Dave. The third time was a charm as we actually made it to the show and even got to play. So was it worth the wait? Well … uhhh … errr … uhmmm … kind of. We showed up way late, which given our recent track record was no surprise. We were however, very surprised to find the show was running almost 90 minutes late. This was good because we weren’t rushed on stage but at the same time trying to take in 10 band bill is damn near impossible when people play too long or take too long to setup. I would dare say the people in the crowd just looked worn out. We caught the tail end of an acoustic set by someone who’s name I didn’t catch and most of It Prevails before we took the stage, or rather the floor. I think we played well but after seeing hours and hours of bands before us the energy level was definitely a little low for the remaining spectators. Of course, you could argue that people went nutty for the band before us and the band after us, so perhaps we weren’t that impressive after all? Either way it did feel good to play even if only a handful of people really appreciated it. Predictably there were some challenges, most notably the smell of burning plastic and smoke pouring out of the right PA main at the midway point of our set. We’ve wrecked some gear before but I’ve never seen a smoldering speaker before. I will say the experience is a whole lot cooler when it’s not your own stuff. The dead main did mean our last few songs only had half vocal volume but we muddled through it. American Me was up last and played a pretty bad ass mix of hardcore and got everyone moving. I will say I’ve spotted a new trend in the world of hardcore and its athletic shorts cut above the knees. I haven’t been to many hardcore shows as of late so this may be old news, but I think it’s safe to say there were so many white kneecaps bouncing up and down that it felt like we were watching the 1977 Celtics. Anyway, those guys seemed awfully cool, got the crowd moving and ended the show strong. Thanks to Erik for hooking up the show, the few familiar faces that had seen us before and to all the new bands who we met tonight.
Go figure that the best Portland show we’ve had all year (well, except for that Guttermouth one) would be in someone’s living room. There was a lot of stuff to take in so I’ll keep it brief. The Seditionists were up first. Brash, snotty, fast, sloppy, low-fi punk rock. I would dare say quite enjoyed it. We Play Quiet was up second and featured a saw. Yep, saw as in “I bought this at Home Depot to cut things” kind of saw. I suppose you could cut fools with it too, but a blade is much better for that. The saw had a very strange almost theremin like sound to it. Interesting take on the genre for sure. Bill Skins Fifth was 3rd, but sadly I didn’t see much as we were catching up with Mayor. Not Dave, the Mayor of Tri-Cities, but the Mayor of Compact 56. We spoke afterwards and he seemed like a cool guy and that gets props here. Destroy Nate Allen was next and he/them was the reason we took the show. Nate used to book our Roseburg shows back in the day and was probably the coolest small town show promoter we’ve ever come across. Everything ran on schedule, pay was always fair, and many times you’d even get fed. Pretty amazing since I think he was in high school at the time. He’s played solo acoustic sets for quite some time and has written many good songs. His new incarnation, featuring his wife on vocals equated to quite possibly the feel good show of the year. Fun songs, easy singalongs, clever lyrics and a DIY spirit few can duplicate. It was Nate, his guitar, his wife and the both of them singing to one another, with a huddled in crowd, no microphones and a room full of smiles. Very cool. They are off for a 6 month tour (!) so we wish them the best. Our set was a blast to play. The room seemed loud, energetic and as the immortal Buster Pointdexter would say “hot, hot, hot”. Speaking of which, I never realized Buster was the singer for the New York Dolls until recently. I almost touched him once exiting a log flume ride many years ago at a Six Flags. Wow, this is a fascinating show review isn’t it? Didn’t I say it would be brief? Anyway, we had a fantastic time playing and I can’t thank everyone who came out to watch us play. Absent Minds was last and in keeping with the theme of the evening they too also had an unusual instrument, a cello. For a while it was inadvertently coming out distorted which sounded pretty awesome. They were pretty excellent. I wanted to watch more but I’m old and old people can die in hot weather so I spent the rest of the night outside in the cool air. Thanks to all who participated in the show. Extra big thanks to Nate and the folks who run the Coop!
Right from the get go this show was looking pretty grim. Traffic was awful, there was an insane windstorm, gas was stupid expensive and when we arrived to the venue Stupid in Stereo was playing to literally about 5 standing people. This is definitely not what you want to see after a 4 hour drive. They played well and seemed quite a bit more polished that I recall seeing them before. Props to Ryan and the boys for that. Reviver took the stage and played to even fewer standing people. This was a shame because they have been on tour for 2 months and although the crowd response was pretty weak, I thought they sounded good. Neutralboy was up 3rd and I was stoked to see them due to what I had seen and heard about them online. We don’t meet too many bands that have been at it longer than us and are still doing it all themselves. Quite a few more people trickled into the venue. It’s a shame the place wasn’t more lively because they played well, sounded good and were a step above most bands I’ve seen. The comment of the evening came from their singer who was attempting to antagonize the mostly seated bar crowd and said the following: “I can’t wait until I get back to Seattle tomorrow so when my friends ask how was Richland, I can respond it sucked because everyone sat on their lazy asses.” The reverse psychology actually worked as the place seemed to wake up for the last 2 songs. We played last and thank god some people came out of the woodwork and decided to go a little crazy up front. I do think it was the first time we’ve seen the bar section outnumber the all ages section but it was cool nonetheless. I was also very glad to see people knew the new songs since we hadn’t played there since December of 2007. All in all it turned out to be a pretty great night. Thanks to Dustin, Ray’s and all the familiar faces and friends who made it out to the show!
We don’t put this stuff on flyers or on the website, but we really needed this show to be good. Our last 3 shows were fine excuses to get out of the house but as a band, especially one that has been playing so long as us, they were completely dismal and totally depressing. All were plagued by equipment failures and worse still a complete and total lack of both of interest and attendance. They’ve been bad enough that I find myself thinking “why do I still do this?” Tonight’s show was why we still do this. I’d love to claim it was some huge packed affair with hundreds of people (like the surge in Bend shows circa 2001), but it was not. What it did have though a dozen or so folks up front absolutely losing their minds to our music. It’s been a while since we’ve seen and felt that and it was a welcome change. There were plenty of people in the place who probably didn’t give a shit about our set, but the few that stood up, sang along and cut loose really made the whole night worthwhile for all of us. We must have had 20 people says “yeah, I saw you guys back in 2001” or “my band used to play with you guys in 2002”. Most came up afterward with compliments and a few said we were just as good now as we were back then. To an outsider it probably wasn’t anything spectacular, but for us it was a minor redemption of sorts. As for the rest of the trip it was pretty good. Aside from Dustin’s breakdown on the way to van the trip was uneventful. Last Stand sounded good and Kill The Kids were great as usual. Hands On Throat were pretty excellent and really surprised us with their energy and unique sound. Good stuff. Many thanks to the folks at Players and to Marty for hooking up the show.
It’s 12 hours later and I’m still not sure what to make of this show. It didn’t suck, but it definitely wasn’t great either. Some good points were the fact we were playing at Dante’s, Visqueen was amazing, Kleveland did in fact rock, doughnuts we’re consumed (maple bacon bar!) and by end of the night there were a lot of freaking people in the crowd. On the bad side, we played first and early to a bunch of seated folks, Justin’s guitar stopped producing sound and Dave was playing on borrowed gear which didn’t quite sound right. A surprising number of folks said they enjoyed it so I shouldn’t complain but these last two shows have just seemed “off” in almost every regard. The highlight of the evening was our new van. It’s actually the same van we’ve had since 1996 but after spending two hours removing mold from the inside and peeling back its protective layer of moss and mildew from the outside it looked and felt like a whole new ride. Anyway, thanks to Lisa and Dante’s for having us and also to the folks that arrived early to check us out.
Its odd how I’ve reached the point I can enjoy what by all means was a pretty terrible show. One of the bands cancelled, Dave’s bass couldn’t produce sound reliably for more than 5 seconds and outside of band members and their immediate friends there were less than 10 paid attendees. So the crazy thing was it was actually still a pretty good time. It’s always fun to play at the Ash Street because the sound system is great and Heather is the coolest booking person/sound person in town. The reason we took this show was to try and help support Creepsville 666. We’ve know at half of them from their former lives in the Billings, Montana band Coldsnap 9. It’s been many, many years since we’d seen them so it was cool to play the same place again after all this time. They sounded pretty great and it’s cool to see they can write good hooks in any style. Particular props for their unusual yet still totally rocking cover of Where Eagles Dare. I certainly wish more people were there to see them but that’s Wednesday night for you. It was also nice to finally say we’ve played with No Secrets Between Sailors again. We’ve had 1 degree of separation from them for the past few years so it was good to actually be at the same show again. They seemed to have a reasonably good time playing and on a low energy night like this it makes all the difference. Thanks to the proud few who stuck out the otherwise slow night. Apologies to Tizzle, well, just because.
Twelve years later and we’re still playing weeknights at the Satyricon. The neighborhood has been cleaned up a bit but the bathroom is still scary and the streets are still populated with crackheads. We were pretty stoked for this show because we hadn’t played an all ages show in forever and we were really intrigued to see Blitzkid. In order to play the show, we had to get to the show and as usual that was an adventure. Due to where we live it’s actually been a while since I’ve had to ride in the van. Having seen it up close for the first time in months, it’s disgusting. Dustin and I opened the door we might as well been opening a door directly into a sewer. It reeked of mold and mildew. Everything was damp to the touch. There were cans of half finished soda and even a half eaten deli sandwich covered in mold. Inexplicably there was a dog collar in there too. As soon as we started moving water poured in through the windows where the seals had rotted away. It deserves a good once over but I’m not sure where to find a hazmat suit. We got the show, unloaded and hung out for a bit. I wound up leaving in hopes of finding a clean restroom (mission accomplished!) but missed most of Steady Approach. It’s weird playing a show and not seeing, hearing or meeting any members of a band. The Dicers were up second and sounded good playing pretty gritty rockabilly stuff. Blitzkid was the main draw and played third. I wasn’t sure what to expect because on their web site they are covered in makeup, blood and playing what seemed to be large festivals in the US and Europe. I was having visions of fog machines, banners and over the top rock mayhem. Instead we got 3 pretty cool guys who played amazingly well and had a full set of solid songs. Their vocals were fantastic live and overall I was very impressed. We played last and nothing too noteworthy happened. We played T-Minus and Golden Road for the first time in a long time which was nice. People seemed pretty entertained and that works for me. Thanks to the Satyricon, Blitzkid and the folks who didn’t have anything else to do on a Wednesday.
Wow, I had forgotten what it feels like to play in front of people. Our past few shows have been pretty good, but not a couple hundred people good. While we were setting up I was handed an interesting item. I was given a 2″ button with our logo on it that we never produced. The guy who gave it to me said he saw it in a rockabilly shop in Hungary of all places. He swept it up and gave it to us which was way cool. I suppose the story could have been completely fabricated but why would anyone make that up? Better yet, why do Hungarians make buttons with our logo? Weird. The Bullies were up first and were entertaining as always. We played second and I think we did pretty well. There was a pit for most of the show which was very nice to see. What wasn’t nice was the rowdy dude in the front who kept grabbing Dave’s strings and pick and eventually smacked him in the mouth with the mic stand. The quote might not be precisely correct but Dave basically told him “if you hit me with that microphone one more time I’m going to kick you in your fucking face”. I’m not sure what happened as I was concentrating on playing the songs correctly and not sucking, but the next thing I know Dave’s foot is recoiling from his face and security guards are dragging him kicking towards the door. We finished solid and loaded out into the snow. Guttermouth was last and were really good. Different, but good. Mark is now the only original member and his new band is made up of people half his age. Although I had grown to like the other dudes in the band, these guys were were fast and energetic and brought a totally different energy level to the show. Beyond the lineup change it was typical Guttermouth goodness with sweat, spit, humor, harassment, insults and of course girls kissing. All in all an excellent show and probably one of the best times I’ve seen them. Big thank you to Mike Thrasher and crew, The Hawthrone Theater and all who attended.
Weirdest show ever. There’s a lot to cover so I need to go through this quickly. Dustin was arriving late and Justin was impaired due to knee surgery, so Dave, his wife and his wife’s friend had to unload the van. Weird how two small women can unload the van faster than four dudes. The opening band was the Wayne Gacy Trio. They soundchecked with a cover of Ring Of Fire. Immediately afterwards someone wandered over to the merch table and asked when the next band started and displayed his dissatisfaction that a band played a one song set. Apparently he wasn’t familiar with the idea of a soundcheck. Wow. I wandered over for my first Voodoo doughnut of the evening (one of two trips) and on the way back was accosted by a homeless man who informed me he wasn’t homeless, but rather a professional standup comedian who works for tips. Uhmm, ok. His opening joke was as follows “What is the coldest part on the male body? The balls, because they are always two below.” I was prepared to offer him a buck for that gem of a joke, but he kept talking and got sent away by the bar staff. You can tell the economy is tough because the life of a professional standup comedian sure is hard these days. Afterwards I came back inside the bar and sat with Jeremy and Jeff. We were soon joined by a drunken older man in a wheelchair who insisted on giving us hugs and raising his glass. After trying to decipher his drunken ramblings and watching him hug Jeff for a little too long, he accidentally spilled a full pint glass of beer onto Jeremy’s lap so we quickly made an exit to the back of the club. The Wayne Gacy Trio (actually a quintet) started playing and sounded pretty good. Kind of catchy, kind of fun and the clown faced singer was a creepy twist. Nice to hear a “put the lotion on it’s skin” reference in mid-set. About half way through their set people are starting to get a little rowdy. Lots of awkward dancing, some bumping, some grinding and then we notice a commotion on the floor. Sure enough Mr. Wheelchair is on the ground, taking his shirt off and unbuttoning his pants. Although we had noticed him in the wheelchair we hadn’t noticed he was missing his legs just above the knees. So, to clarify, there was a legless man on the floor of the Ash Street causing a ruckus. One girl continued to dance with him (ie – grinding his head with her ass) while curious onlookers took pictures with camera phones. It was funny, sad and utterly bewildering all at the same time. Eventually a bouncer asked him to put his shirt on he “stood up” on his stumps, extended a middle finger and told him off. Within minutes he was back in his chair and being escorted out the door. Later we found out he accosted some of our friends insisting on hugs and asking for kisses on his neck. Needless to say it had been an interesting 30 minutes. WGT finished up and Dreamkiller went on. They were energetic, tight and fun to watch. I was pretty impressed. The only sad moment was when the drummer mentioned he had seen us when he was 14. Damn I’m old. I really wanted to tell them I enjoyed their set but never got a chance to, so their props will reside here in cyberspace. We were up third and were all a little ancy about Justin who had knee surgery a mere 3 days before. We put him on the side with the railing just in case but he held strong. We played a lot of new songs and it went well. I was stoked to see some people already knew a few of the words. Our set wasn’t too eventful, except in the crowd where a biker gang, some sailors and a gypsy selling roses came in and had words with some of the people. There was also a guy who kept punching Dave in the leg for about half the set. I once saw someone try to light Dave’s pants leg on fire at a show and Dave kicked him square in the back and dropped him to the floor. I’m surprised “the leg puncher” didn’t receive such a treatment. Anyway, I was very happy with the show and the warm reception. The Independents were up last. They didn’t play as long as I had hoped but were excellent as always. The crowd thinned out a little around 1 but everyone who stuck around seemed to enjoy it immensely. It’s hard not to as they are so charismatic on stage. Thanks to everyone to showed up and hung out late!