Monday, June 11, 2007

Not On The List

Live 105 BFD
Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, CA
June 9, 2007

At this point in 2007 some things have fallen back into place for me, and other things have become jagged and out of sync for me with certain people and things. This day completely exemplified all of that.

To start the day, I had a weird incident at the car wash in the morning that threw me off early. Then, my scheme to attend the ever-popular annual Live 105 BFD show took a jagged turn and, long story short, I found myself heading to Mt. View solo..

In a twist of fate, along the way I happened upon Big Wayne and, like we were starring in our own version of The Wizard of Oz (or The Wiz), we eventually found ourselves standing in front of Shoreline being told "Not on The List..." and "You're going to have to try and contact him yourself... I can't help you..."

Being told "Not on The List" is so Lock 'N Loll, right? Of course, this wasn't the first time for Umlaut, but the way this played out made it memorably warm and fuzzy. I don't believe in Santa, The Easter Bunny, or Jesus anymore... but I do believe in Tour Manager Doug (TMD)!

From 400 miles away, TMD made everything right. Long story short, after I sent a text message to TMD we made the trek back to the car. Just as I was unlocking the car, my cell phone rang: It was Mommy's Little Monster's apologetic tour manager. He said TMD had informed him of the situation and things had been taken care of; tickets and laminated pieces of paper had just been delivered to Will Call for me. This display of coolness will inspire me to either have that band from Orange County in heavy rotation on my iPod this week or I'll get Skellie and "TMD" inked on my neck. We'll see...

Once inside the venue, the laminated pieces of paper gave us access to a fenced off area where we were given the privilege of paying $10 for a draft beer or $9 for a mixed drink. After getting our drinks we were then privileged to be able to watch a man who was significantly older than us pawing girls who were significantly younger than us... It was like watching Hugh Hefner trying to work towards the next refill of his Viagra prescription. Ummm... bile.

After finishing our $9 refreshments we wandered around in the privileged area until we got to the "Artists" compound, where our path was finally blocked... so we returned to the "real" world outside of the privileged area to mix with the common people.

When we reached our reserved seats who should be sitting directly in front of us but Umlaut Nation members The Sheriff, Kathy, and Shannon!! Whoa... And then a tap on my shoulder informed me that my former swag colleague Dominique was sitting 2 rows behind us. This was all unexpected.. Very cool. Quality hang time ensued.

Due to our adventures Big Wayne and I missed all of the 2nd Stage acts, but we arrived in time to see the 4 bands I wanted to see on the Main Stage...

Kaiser Chiefs: English bands can get away with more shenanigans than American bands. I kept tripping on how the drummer looked like "someone" but I couldn't place who it was... Oh well. KC played 'I Predict A Riot' which is, like, my fave song; when they broke into it I couldn't help but smile. For the record, 'I Predict A Riot' was designated my personal anthem for 2007 awhile back; don't ask me why.. it just is.. KC were probably the best band on the bill to pogo to, if you were so inclined. Walking through town is quite scary, and not very sensible..

Interpol: I haven't seen Interpol since their bassist looked like George McFly circa 1955; now the dude looks like Wyatt Earp complete with pointy cowboy boots. That nut.

Judging from the packed reserved section and gushing fan response, Interpol probably should have been headlining... I only knew 2 songs in their setlist (since I haven't bought their recent albums) so I didn't smile during their set... but they sounded good and I can imagine myself asking someone to burn their latest CDs for me in the near future... Also, those dudes spend serious bucks on their clothes for sure; the best dressed band of the day.

Sidebar: This old man is of the mindset that nothing has neutered the concert experience like the Shoreline-style sheds. The thing I can't stand about seeing this type of multiple act gig in an amphitheatre is how people sit down during songs they don't know and stand up for the songs they've heard on the radio. I miss good old fashioned GA arena / stadium shows, where the real fans would jam themselves down front and the casual fans simply sat up in the stands; punters were given a choice about how to enjoy the show. Anyway...

Queens Of The Stone Age: QOTSA had a ridiculously big stage show for this type of gig (complete with giant chandeliers) that took 25 minutes to set up for them to play a 40 minute set. For the record, it took their crew only 8 minutes to break the staging down. Man, they were brutally LOUD and it's my opinion they cranked the volume on purpose to punish the non-QOTSA fans in the audience. An indication of how successful they were was the number of seats that became empty during their set. QOTSA played 'If Only' which is, like, my fave song; when they broke into it I couldn't help but smile. The casual fans all stood up during 'Go With The Flow'. Josh Homme has got to be the most top heavy Rock Star since Glenn Danzig.

Social Distortion: An indication of how little the Live 105 audience appreciates an old style Rock band was the significant number of empty seats in the prime reserved section just prior to Social D. hitting the stage. However, you could also tell Social D. were the next band by the number of dudes and chicks sporting black Dickies jackets and neck tattoos moving down the aisles trying to scam into the good seats. No worries, cool kidz - C'mon down! The last time Big Wayne saw Social D. was on 9/13/85:

Back To School Show - Exhibit Hall, San Jose, CA

Big Wayne says: "What a show! Violent Coercion (pre-Neurosis with Dave Ed and Scott), Arsenal (Chris Wilder), Christ on Parade. Yowza."

In a gesture ripped straight from today's headlines, Mike Ness dedicated 'Prison Bound' to Paris Hilton. Social D. played 'Bad Luck' which is, like, my fave song; when they broke into it I couldn't help but smile. In contrast to QOTSA's significant staging, Social D. only had toys, a fez, and other thrift store brick-a-brack displayed on their backline. Is it just me, or does Mike Ness have THE cleanest Les Paul tone out there? Discuss amongst yourselves. The casual fans all stood up during 'Story Of My Life' and 'Ring Of Fire', which was the last song of the set... and after which we headed for the exit 'cause I don't like Bloc Party.

Muchas gracias to Tour Manager Craig for sorting us out and to TMD for, well, for being TMD. Keep it real out there, for The Kidz.

Iron Maiden Purgatory shirts = 2. I forgot to bring my pen and notepad so I blew off trying to do a merch tally, but I will say QOTSA had the coolest shirt of any of the bands (featuring a graphic of B-17's dropping their payloads during WW2!). On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called us fags. When I got home, Eddie The Cat wouldn't leave me alone but the dogs just went to sleep.

Epilogue: The same jagged and out of synch theme continued the next day. My brand new cell phone that I've had for a mere 35 days crapped out and my provider (whose name is the opposite of "jog") told me I'd have to pay $55 towards a replacement phone. WTF?!! A top of the line cell phone crapping out after a month is acceptable quality control these days?? In the end, the store manager turned out to be reasonable after I bitched and she gave me a replacement phone at no charge... but the initial jagged encounter was unnecessary, ya know? Later in the day Timo and I blew off going to the Haight St. Fair and made our monthly visit to The Bank instead... and, unfortunately, even my interaction with The Bank was infected by the same jagged and out of synch theme... Is it so hard to find acceptable wait staff these days?? Cue that Old 97's song 'Jagged'... but only after some Social D...

"You're always scratchin' at the Eight Ball, no one really knows the reason why..."

"I'd give anything not to feel so jagged..."