Finally a new place to play in Portland. Cool place – lots of neato spot lights. Really small stage. I mean really small. We’re talking honey, who shrunk the stage? Anyway Tenpin is very good and has very cool glasses for sale.
I had heard that Bluetip and Kerosene 454 were awesome bands. What I heard was right. Both bands are from Washington DC and on Dischord Records and both totally rock. I’ve never heard anything like them before. Bluetip was just awesome live. As for us, our set went well. It was a slightly different crowd than usual and they seemed to enjoy themselves. We played some new stuff without messing up too bad. Of course we did get a surprise when Dave sang the wrong words to Pimp Ray, but in the right vocal pattern and even in key. I don’t even know what he was singing and neither did he. In fact he didn’t even know that anything was wrong until a couple of people asked us after the show. This reminds me of a dumb story … when we first started playing together, Dave would change the words constantly. He would sometimes change them the day before a show. We had this friend named Chad that really wanted to be in the band but couldn’t play anything. Anyway, for the first couple of shows we used to make him stand up front and hold the lyrics so Dave could read them. Crazy thing is that Chad didn’t mind doing it … I think he kinda liked it. Now that I look back we must have looked like the biggest fools, Dave having his words written out and some random dude standing right up beside the microphone holding a sheet of notebook paper with the words scribbled on it. I’m rambling. One more highlight, we got to play our song Kelvis for the Kelvis himself. Did you know he has impenetrable skin?
I should have known something weird was gonna go down when we were told the show was moved to the American Legion. I’ve always had an idea what the inside of an American Legion would be look but never figured I would actually see it. We walk in the door and I swear it was exactly what I had pictured. Lots of gray hair, lots of war memorabilia and lots of drunks. It was like going to a bridge game at grandma’s house except everyone is liquored up and smoking. If we were hanging out it would have been cool, but we thought we were there to play a show for what we had assumed would be a bunch of kids. Looking around there was nothing but an empty stage with lights on it and a bunch of people who obviously had no idea what they were in for. We’re thinking ok, fine, we’ll have every one turn off their hearing aids, say something nice about veterans, play and get the hell out of there. I mean we have had some weird shows before, but to a bunch of world war two veterans? In the words of Dave that would be ‘wack.’ So just as we are starting to try and remember the pledge of allegiance, the owner comes up and says, “oh you must be in one of the punk bands for later tonight.” We say yes and she assures us that lots of kids will be showing up around 8:30. So, basically we are left to stay there and kick it with the 55 and over crowd for about an hour. Dave made some new friends because of his military time, but other than that we just hung out at this big pimp ass velvet card table that was located in the trophy room. (Yes, the trophy room.) So at about 8:30, just like she said, they close off the bar, the veterans leave (probably to go intimidate the Elks who are located across the street) and sure enough the kids start rolling in. It was amazing, by the time we went on there was well over 100 people there. And remember this is in Longview, WA of all places. Longview is basically just a glorified rest stop between Portland and Seattle. It is a tiny little town … but their music scene kicks ass. We played, felt like big time rock stars and had a blast. Lots of people really seemed to like our music and people were really friendly and talkative afterwards. A couple of the vets even hung around! Even in Portland on a good night you rarely … ok … we rarely see that many people, and if you do not that many of them are totally into the music. What can I say … Longview rocks.
Hmmm … not much to say about this one. We played pretty well, a few new faces came out and we got the token “watch everyone stand with their arms crossed and slowly bob your head thing” going. I think the highlight of this show was before we played when Bryan had to sit on stage by himself for 25 minutes because Dave and I were running very late. We came in and saw him sitting there all set up and ready to go and felt like idiots. Sorry Boss. That was probably not a highlight for Bryan or the crowd, but at least it was different.
Blah, blah, blah, small club, blah blah, flophouse palace are cool guys, blah, blah, blah, good food, blah, blah, the state capital building looks like a bowling trophy, blah, blah, blah, not many people there but they all paid attention, blah, blah, blah, big amps + small room = loud and fun show.
So we get a call at 9:30 this night asking if we want to play a show at 10:30. Why not – we were going to go to EJ’s to see the show anyway. So with the help of Rob the Stalker we ran out to our practice space and essentially broke in so we could get our guitars and amps. It was total mission impossible. Normally our place locks up at 9:00 and the alarm activates so we (Dave) had to hurriedly scale the wet barbed wire security gate, open the space up and shuffle our gear over the same barbed wire fence and get going before the police arrived. Not to mention as soon as we stepped foot over the fence we tripped the motion sensor and the alarm started going off. The other bad news is that they do have a security camera that points straight at the gate. The whole time I’m thinking about Judas Priest singing Breaking the Law. Of course, according to our friend Rob the only laws that Rob Halford breaks are the laws of nature. (Rob’s opinions do not necessarily reflect that of the band.) Anyway, back to the stealth mission – we arrived safe and sound and had a great time despite our criminal status. There was a good turnout and as always Bomf! rocked everyone in a huge way. So far we are still running from the law … all for the name of punk rock!
I’d really like to write about how great our show was, but it was overshadowed by another event. It turns out that a guy named Billy, a long time employee and local at EJ’s died last night. Most of the people at EJ’s tonight were there to mourn and pay their respects, not to see music. There were a bunch of flowers at the bar. It was really awkward because even though we had met him several times, we still didn’t feel like we really belonged there. We felt some attachment because he was in the same “scene,” but detached on a personal level because he wasn’t a long time friend of ours like every one else there. Given the circumstances and atmosphere the show went fine (as all shows at EJ’s do) it was just unfortunate for the reason behind the crowd.
This was the best local show I have seen in Portland to date … period. The Leeches rock. Elmer rocks. Bomf! really rocks. The crowd rocked. The bathroom didn’t rock, but who cares when everything else was so good. It was such a fun show. Thanks to everyone who came and made this such a great night.
I should have known this was going to be a bad night when the sound guy asked me “are you a rock band?” Bad show indeed. In fact the only good thing was that we only live 2 blocks from the club which means a brief walk to clean bathrooms. A rare treat in the music scene. Anyway, Rexsole was pretty cool … even Loree says so. If you like happy music go see them.
The cool thing about being in a band is that you get to see a lot of shows. Some are boring, some are long, some are lame, but every now and again you get to see a really really good show. The kind of show where none of the bands suck and everyone there appears to be having fun. Tonight was one of those rare nights. We got to play with The Leeches, The Blackouts and Elmer. If you haven’t heard of Elmer before you will some day. They play a weird mix of country and punk that is hard not to like. Catchy fast and funny. But anyway, it was another good night at EJ’s. I’m glad to hear they aren’t closing after all!