Thursday, March 02, 2006

Music Geek Night Out

The Minus 5 - The Parkside, S.F. - Feb.28, 2006

This was a pretty classic Music Geek Night Out. The Minus 5's lineup is led by Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows, R.E.M.) and features Peter Buck (R.E.M.) on bass. Besides YFF, I saw McCaughey when he was in The Squirrels at some weird dive club in San Francisco's Tenderloin around 1990 (I think).

In the mid to late-80's I was a HUGE R.E.M. geek, so it was funny to be standing within handshake distance of Buck after all these years. Part of me wanted to rush up to him and gush "Ohmigod! Reckoning really, like, meant alot to me when I was, like, 23..." (Trivia: Cliff Burton of Metallica was a big R.E.M. fan back in 1985.. Chew on that!) or "Like, I can't decide if 'Perfect Circle' or 'Good Advices' or 'Sitting Still' is, like, my favorite R.E.M. song.." But it's the 21st Century and I haven't followed R.E.M. since, like, The Wonder Years was on primetime. So, I did nothing and pretended not to know who he was..

Peter Buck - The Catalyst, Santa Cruz, CA - April 14, 1988 (Pic by Umlaut)

As Miatomic and I stood outside prior to entering the club, a cab pulled up and a guy wearing leather pants, a dark frilly shirt, a leather jacket, and weird looking shoes got out and went inside. I mentally made fun of his leather pants. Minutes later, after taking a seat at the bar, I noticed that Mr. Leather Pants was Mr. Peter Buck. OOOPS.. but was it not R.E.M. who once sang: "When you greet a stranger look at his shoes...".

However, I was secretly impressed that Buck was so normal, just hanging out, and willing to play for 60 people in a neighborhood bar. He has every right to get coked up back at the Miyako and jet to the club in a limo 5 minutes before showtime like any other Rock Star with his credentials (Trivia For The Newbies: The Miyako Hotel is S.F.'s cliche Rock 'N Roll Hotel.. The site of much debauchery over the decades and where the Sex Pistols broke up in 1978..).

It's been a long time since I've arrived at a show before they stamped hands and got in for free 'cause the bar staff didn't bother checking to see if we'd already paid. I don't even know what the door was, but was it not R.E.M. who once sang: "Keep your money in your shoes, put your trouble behind.."

Best Quote: Me - "You can't really dust for vomit." (Done in my best Nigel Tufnel accent of course)

A conversation about the 1983 Dio show at The Concert Barn in Antioch, CA (Dio's concert debut) took place. A gift was given relating to it. Shrieks of delight ensued. It was nice to see some of the regular readers of this space face-to-face. Was it not R.E.M. who once sang: "A perfect circle of acquaintances and friends, drink another, coin a phrase.."

The Music Geek quotient was definitely met by the band's selection of covers that accompanied their own tuneful originals. The set opened with McCartney's 'Eat At Home', plus takes on 'Give It To The Soft Boys' (Soft Boys), 'You Can't Do That' (by some totally obscure English band whose name I can't remember right now.. rhymes with "fetal" I think..), 'The Ballad Of John & Yoko' (by an obscure hippie songwriting duo), 'Teenage Kicks' (The Undertones.. aka John Peel's favorite song), 'Strychnine' (The Sonics), AND a pair of songs by S.F.'s own Flamin' Groovies with Groovies singer Roy Loney on guest vocals ('Teenage Head' and another one whose title escapes me..). Pretty cool! (THANKS to Jim and Steven for the song check since my note taking was lax..)

As I stood watching the set, a short guy with a bob haircut and scarf stood in front of me and was a little annoying as he kept backing into me.. Not long afterwards the guy made his way to the stage to sing a pair of Flamin' Groovies songs. DOH! That made it 2 Rock Stars I didn't recognize on this night. My Music Geek rating took a hit for sure, like, totally.

This show was a nice reality check for Umlaut. Besides Old Metal, the scene where the Minus 5 comes from is what made me the Music Geek I am today. It was the type of show that was fun if you have an encyclopedic Music Geek mind. At work I can't remember the name of the guy in Sales eventhough I've spoken to him a dozen times.. but I can recognize a Sonics song within, like, 3 seconds. The Geeks shall inherit the Earth. Was it not R.E.M. who once sang: "Maybe he's caught in the legend, maybe he's caught in the mood..."

If you bought one of every Minus 5 merch item you would have paid nothing, 'cause they weren't selling anything (as far as I know). On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called us fags. The bass Peter Buck was playing probably cost more than Thee Parkside's PA.

In order to add some gratuitous Old Metal content to this piece, I will close with this: The following is from an interview done with Cliff Burton of Metallica circa 1985 and published in the book Metallica Unbound by Umlaut's old friend K.J. Doughton (which you should buy since Umlaut contributed to it.. pay particular attention to pages 122-137..):

Question: How about naming your top five albums?

Cliff:"Well, let's say top five bands. Everything by Glenn Danzig, which is The Misfits or Samhain. All of Thin Lizzy's stuff. The old Black Sabbath stuff. There's a band called R.E.M. that I like a lot and Aerosmith."