Friday Night at the Rock Show

Venue: The Cavern
The place sort of reminded Jud of Knickerbockers and the stage was in front of the windows when you first walked in, but that’s probably the end of the comparison. Long and narrow, we never fully ventured into the back although a dj was supposedly spinning upstairs, my companion for the evening was not much into dancing and thus we stayed below to listen to the tunes of the night. The bar was kind of small and most people gathered around it without any real reason other than the fact that the place was so narrow. Through a small partition, the merch table blocked some standing room, but the fish tank looked bright against the darkness. Band paraphernalia was stacked against the incoming wall, forcing the patrons’ calves and shins to push against cases and rubbermaid bins. The sound dude was off to the left side of the stage, in a small alcove that was very visible. If he were to stand at the mixer board properly he would not be able to see anything but wall and perhaps one guitarist from his extreme right peripheral vision. An odd set up, but I understood that space was at a premium. In spite of the smallness, it had very notable ventilation.

Music: Denison Witmer and Saxon Shore (others played that night, but we did not listen)
Both were very good, though I believe the first was a bit off his game in the beginning and then at the end of his set too. The bar goers in the back were noisy and chatty is not always welcome in a bar, at least when the person on stage is playing tribute to Nick Drake and his twenty six years on this earth, ahead of his time in all of them and perhaps leaving early because of it. The Witmer started off with the boys of Saxon Shore onstage and all of that was a bit choppy, in my estimation. He doesn’t usually do the ‘full band’ scene and he didn’t quite seem himself (written as if I’ve had a drink or dinner with him, both of which I have not, unless you count after the show when we were perusing the merch table and he was swilling a large drink, which I would not count, but you know, whatever). So the SS boys (not the fascist kind) added pretty dissonance to the just-this-side-of-country folksy-ness and it was good, though wrote. Denison Witmer made a few half hearted jokes about Nick Lachey that evoked a good amount of smiles and amused laughter, though his claim to not find Jessica Simpson attractive was not fully believed, at least by this concert-goer. Once the SS boys descended and he was left alone to make his music, he seemed to relax a bit and find his groove. It was beautiful, except for the chatter that rose up in the silences which I was mostly overlooking until he made mention of it right before his two Drake covers. Saxon Shore was good too. There are five of them: three guitarists, sometimes the keyboard/organ dude picked up one too, making four, and the drummer. Best guitarist goes to athletic shorts wearing velcro shoe guy with the headband. He was jumping and strumming and just became a blur of movement and music that was thrilling to watch.

Scene: Bizarre
We sort of figured that the music would draw a range of people from those like us to the much more band following crowd (think boys in girl’s jeans and girls with funky hairdos, odd outfits and big purses), but we weren’t quite right. The band kids were there, choppy haircuts and all, but the bar drew in a bunch of people from lots of different crowds: late-twenty something former frat boys still hanging out in herds to keep from feeling sad about moving out of ‘the house’ and into jobs that lack much party, a woman and her husband wearing yoga get ups complete with tie-dyed shirts and tevas (socks with his), girls in tube tops who’ve obviously had some work done, gap kids, people who all knew each other from high school and, our personal favorite, a late-50s/early 60s man wearing a beret, Hawaiian shirt, olive shorts, and penny loafers. He had a strange obsession with buying the SS drummer beers, which is why we initially made note of him. After lining up the second one for him before the first had even been consumed, Beret Man lit up a cigarette, moved directly in front of us and began “moving to the music”, however the music he was moving to was only in his head. The dissonance and swelling power that is Saxon Shore never amounts to hip swaying and little foot jimmies. It was so out of place and odd that lots of people were distracted by it. Then the smell of patchouli hit me and it made just a tad more sense. The drummer fascination will never fall in line, but the swaying and the pretending like he was dancing with a woman in Margaritaville can’t be smashed into any category of normal.

Overall Experience: Good
It wasn’t the best concert I’ve been to and it wasn’t disappointing. It was a little surreal. It was a good way to spend a Friday night. Thank you DW and SS and the Cavern and Beret Man!

We sure do wish we could attend a show here. I hear those shows totally rock.

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    • allison
    • July 26th, 2006

    damn girl. thanks for the shout-out. we will have to plan your eventual visit to coincide with some rock and roll. the show last night was very nice, i think you would have liked it. 3 of the 5 bands that played consisted of 1 guy with a bunch of instruments and a loop pedal (a different guy and set of instruments each set, but similar setups you know?) i will have to get myself a loop pedal and watch as a career in music unfolds before me. i really liked idatel, they had an accordian player that kicked at a bass drum, a viola, a banjo( i think?), an oboe, a guitar and chaotic singing. i think we are planning to get them back in october. see you there, i hope?

    oh, and jud… i am still waiting for my first cd of the month. don’t think i have forgotten!

    • Kim
    • July 27th, 2006

    word on the street is that the cd of the month club has been clubbing it up. well see what happens!

    also, shout outs are what i’m all about but i really think your sweet lookin’ website deserved one. holla!

    seriously, though, thank you for the invitation. i think syracuse in october would be magical. what would be even more magical would be a giant bird taking us to syracuse on it’s big feathered back. unless the bird was all “that will five hundred dollars” after we climbed off. then that would just be normal.

    by the way, i expect great things of you in the comments for the fable. GREAT THINGS.

    • allison
    • July 27th, 2006

    dag nabbit. i felt that your expectations might be slightly skewed my way on that whole fable bit. i am about to leave work but i will get back to you on that one… i hope to not disappoint.

    the other thing i wanted to mention, i realized today that the bands you both saw the other night are promoted by the same place as “from monument to masses” (who might have been having a show at spark next week but are instead playing rochester. unfortunately i am not in charge of booking shows, or they would be in syracuse. although i shouldn’t be too say that, i don’t know what the issue was.) i noticed the three bands inquestion at http://www.nicepromo.com/ a cool website.
    small world, yes?

    • Kim
    • July 28th, 2006

    so very very small indeed. makes me think things like “i should’ve hopped in their van” (and then immediately think that would the most disgusting place to be for the two/three day trip to upstate ny….is syracuse referred to as ‘upstate’, i assume so, but after typing it the doubt has set in…).

    leave your fears at the blogger door and dive right into the fable moral. multiple entries will be accepted. i should probaby put up some sort of ‘entries must be received by’ or somesing. of course, right now, there are officially no entries…does anybody want to play my game? no? i said DANCE! Dance for the queen!! Um, did you know green tea has caffeine? Yeah. It does. Okay I’m going to go detox from the detoxifier.
    kisses…

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