By the time Saturday had arrived, I was starting to feel pretty wrecked. Instead of napping all day, I was trying to get the usual Saturday things done. Big mistake, but I relied on coffee and it carried me through! I also resolved to take better notes and drink a little less, a resolution some other folks were taking that evening as well. At 7:30p I was still only about 15 meters from the door before opening, so I figure that's the sweet spot.
I was still at the bar getting a second beer (ok, so I lied about drinking less) when Teenage Fanclub came on, which sort of typifies my entire relationship with the band in general. But they got the impenetrable brogues down and a rock solid drummer with the most natural looking wig of the weekend and a second guitarist that looked suspiciously like Thurston Moore but that was probably just a weird coincidence. The crew rocked sharply through "The Concept", "Alcoholiday", "Star Sign", and a final song that I couldn't parse out.
There were a lot more wigs in evidence for Jackson Browne to make sure we got the full 70's shag-cut effect. The lineup included an excellent keyboardist and a combination backup singer and tambourine / conga player. While I wouldn't have thought it essential (like cowbell (no, I won't link you there)) this guy was super on-time and had a great sound! The band stuck to the canon familiar to anyone who's listened to the classic rock radio format for like a day: "Boulevard", "Somebody's Baby", "Running on Empty", "Doctor My Eyes", before throwing a fantastic curve at the end with "Redneck Friend".
Next up was the three-piece from Cambridge, Morphene. Taking the stage with the requisite bass sax and bass guitar with only two strings, they coolly sauntered through all the songs I was listening to when other people at the time were listening to Teenage Fanclub: "Buena", "Thursday" (the only song with the words "Wagon Wheel" that I'll tolerate), "Sheila", "Cure for Pain", "Honey White". This was like a delicious, languid trip back to undergraduate school (or, at least all the things I was doing besides that at the time), and it was so good I bought CDs of the albums that I'd taped off of a friend at the time so I could listen to them again now.
Strutting on stage to dampen the shorts of Ladies of a Certain Age in the house was the same guy who was Anthony Kiedis on Thursday, now in much more clothing as Michael Hutchence of INXS. Sporting the perfect jacket and backed by electronic drums and a real saxophone, the band luridly ground through "Need You Tonight", "New Sensation", "Never Tear Us Apart" (on which the saxophone solo was delightfully overwrought), and rounded out their 80's all-star set with "Don't Change".
Almost as an interlude, Tenacious D was up next. The best bewildered comment was "Is this like South Park, but a band?" to which I can only give a similarly bewildered "Yes?". There were songs about penises, and humping, and band breakups and tearful reunions, and playing the best song, and then the dark lord Satan came out and mercifully whisked them all away. Acoustic guitars backed by electric shredding was the order of the day and duly well executed.
One of my ex-es was a huge fan of Pearl Jam (which, due to my programming background I keep trying to write "Perl Jam" which sounds like a Hell of a hackathon cut short by copyright violation notices), so this set was very therapeutic for me due to the fact that this was a "Talledega Nights" level of ridicule aimed squarely at the band. While the band itself played it straight and tight, the lead singer sailed over the top of mockery well into the ironosphere (but, weirdly, with the perfect imitation of voice). All the hits were... er... hit: "Jeremy", "Better Man", (at this point my notebook turned into flannel), "Daughter", (again, flannel).
Next-to-last was The Go-Go's, who hold the distinctive title of "Only L.A. band I like". Boasting an (almost) all female line-up and coming out of the gate with "Our Lips Are Sealed" (and while I prefer the Fun Boy Three version, the Go-Go's version is of course also fantastic) the band continued powerfully through "Vacation", "Lust to Love", "We Got The Beat", and maybe something else? Maybe it was only four? I lost track because during "Vacation" a bunch of beach balls suddenly appeared above the crowd and caromed around the club through the end of the set, getting progressively... er... stickier. Hilarious.
The last slot was absorbed by Metallica, sporting carpet-doesn't-match-the-drapes wigs. The last slot always suffers from the flagging stamina of the audience, but these dudes soldiered on. I didn't know how you don't do "Enter Sandman" as a Metallica cover band, until I started going back over my notes and realized you do it by covering a Misfits song that Metallica also covered ("Last Caress") near the end of your set. Much shredding throughout, though, featuring "Diamond Head", "Small Hours", "The Wait" (which, despite the other cover cover was not a cover of homophonic song by The Band). Another mosh pit briefly flourished and then we were done.
See you next year! Now I sleep.
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