Click images for desktop size: "Black Sand Beach" by Lyle Kranfield
So Friday rolls around and we head out for the concert. First we stop and have pizza! It is a continuation of my birthday after all . . .
I had the special. We go to this pizza joint because they do gluten free pizzas. My friend had a
gluten free Mediterranean thing. It was half the size but twice the price of my special but it was also twice as good, so I guess it balances all out.
After eating we hit the road. Its a long drive but at the end of it will be Alkaline Trio. Skiba and co. have been one of my favorite bands for a few years now and I'm really looking forward to it, willing to push through the crowd of "youngsters" to catch a glance at the band.
While we're driving and driving we listen to a radio station that's broadcasting live from the venue. They're not broadcasting the show. They're playing records that have nothing to do with the show . . . then they do a brief interview with band members, interviews that are totally dominated by a rather inept deejay . . .very annoying.
But Alkaline Trio come in and do an acoustic version of one of their "hits". Its very good and keeps the excitement up for the long long drive. We fill up with gas. Costs about 55 bucks. We're still stoked.
We hit some traffic but keep on pushing and pushing.
We finally go down some ragged streets and find the club. We enter the place just as Alkaline Trio are hitting the stage. Groovy.
The club is freaky. Its clearly an old disco. It has several of the old rear projection TV's scattered around the place with fuzzy old style cameras showing blurry on stage action. The plastic and the inflatable palm trees seem weird but make sense with the disco ball in the middle of the room and the old style disco lights subbing as stage lighting.
Click images for desktop size: "Fall To Pieces" by Tony X
You couldn't help but notice that the sound was dreadful. I'm sure you've noticed at concerts when they insist on playing tapes through the PA system before the lights go down how the sound is all clammy, boomy and just plain aggravating. It makes you worried that when the band comes on they're also going to sound that distant and cold. But then the band sounds just fine.
That's from playing recorded music through speakers designed for live sound. It works the opposite end of the tone scale but exactly the same way when you pipe a bands sound through speakers designed for recordings.
The band sounded terrible. The speakers were hissing and splatting all the high notes. They set up a nice vibration for the bass even though they didn't have enough bottom end to hear the notes you could at least feel them.
To make things worse they'd done little to change the joint from its disco roots. The place had a 30 foot ceiling and no baffles or even steamers to deflect the sound so all the highs just went spinning off into the ether and what was left of the mids were bounced around on concrete floors and tiled walls.
It sounded like crap. It was a huge ugly slab of feedback and harmonics.
I was annoyed but liked seeing the band live. The place was sold out
Click images for desktop size: "Discos" by Unknown
and there were about 1,800 people there. The stage was only about 4 feet high so I picked through about a third of the crowd to find a safe place to stand. There was no mosh pit. I like the mosh, even when my job is to stand at the edge of it so my friend can mosh and feel safe. I become like the goalie, bouncing happy pogo-ers away from her, keeping them in play but keeping my friend safe. Sometimes I like a bit of slam dancing myself.
At this place, they seemed to just want to watch . . . There were a couple of guys who were trying to keep their day jobs but wanted to look like it was 1976. One guy did a mohawk, a short mohawk, with vaseline. Not very convincing but amusing. Two poor souls actually tried to crowd surf. I hope they were having fun because to me it looked sort of empty and nearly pathetic.
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Unknown
I'd long wondered how a band could make such great records and still not be stars. Alkaline Trio weren't even headlining this gig . . . They were okay. Matt Skiba tried to connect with the audience and worked hard. The other two just limped along it seemed.
Their new drummer was too fussy for me. I liked the old drummer who was straight ahead and savage.
I was getting into it and thinking that they were alright. I thought they were starting to build momentum and would soon get the audience whipped up. They launched into "This Could Be Love" and they exploded. Even crappy sound and muddy instruments couldn't keep the power of the song down. Even stupid disco lights trying to emulate stupider hard rock light shows could
kill the joy of seeing them do the song live.
Even when Skiba interrupted the song to try and get an audience sing along going during the bridge I was still with the band and thought that now the show had turned and it was going to start getting great!
And as the last note died Skiba said, "Goodnight!" and left the stage.
One lonely voice called for an encore but everyone else was turning for the bars.
They played for about 25 minutes . . .
Gee. I'm sure glad we drove three hours and paid 50 bucks a ticket to get to see you rehearse. It would have been nice if you'd done a sound check first.
I am no longer an Alkaline Trio fan.
I saw only one show that was worse. Long Beach Auditorium: Elvis Costello and the Attractions. The place was packed and they came out and played for 25 minutes.
Now, you'd already sensed that Costello was a fraud so it was easy to be angry with him and swear to never fall for his lying songs again.
I like Alkaline Trio and its disappointing to find out that they don't care about their fans or their audience. They didn't extend themselves. They barely tried. You owe an audience a glimpse of your soul. At least a feeling of the heat of the fire that burns inside. You don't rush off stage like you've got something more important to do.
I'm too old to be disappointed in heroes. At least now I know why Alkaline Trio aren't stars and don't
Click images for desktop size: "Spider's Web" by Unknown
deserve to be.
Better than them were the Kipper KIds (one of whom married Bette Midler . . .) There act consisted of coming on stage stark naked except for old latex bathing caps and swimming goggles. Then they'd throw beans and cans of paint at each other until they were unholy messes. They could do that for 30 minutes.
At least you didn't feel ripped off when you watched their act.
Still, I had a great time. The drive was dark and spooky. The anticipation was great and seeing heroes crash and burn has its own attraction.
Another reason to never buy an RAIA sponsored recording ever again. And to check out local bands who work there asses off for beers and a smattering of applause.
Lat week I was a mediocre 7-6 in my NFL picks. My friend decided to make picks too and compete against me. Her criteria is the teams nick name, how cute their helmets are and whether or not Reggie Bush plays for them . . . she ended up being a mediocre 8-5 . . .
I'm not giving up though. Where would the fun be in that. As usual my picks are in bold
at Baltimore - From what I've seen the Titan's D is nearly as stout as Pittsburgh's. I liked the way the Ravens took it to the Steelers last week but they got pretty banged up. Kerry Collins has something to prove now that Vince Young has started practicing again. Flacco showed that he's ready for prime time, so while I wouldn't be surprised to see the Ravens pull this one out I have to thin the Titans will do enough to win.
Click images for desktop size: "Crow's Head" by Unknown
Kansas City at Carolina
- I like the Chiefs Larry Johnson. I have since High School. He's showed that he can sometimes carry the team. I don't think he can do enough to keep the Panthers from scoring more than their fair share of points. I don't much care for the Panthers at all but at home they look like a solid pick.
at Detroit - Matt Millen was a great linebacker and a pretty poor front office exec. His getting fired still shouldn't affect the Lions play on the field. I'm skeptical about the Bears putting together back to back defensive efforts and they looked fine against the banged up Eagles. The Lions don't pose that much of a threat. Where they are strongest plays right into the superiority of the Bears. I've made this my survivor game. The one I have to win to stay in the running for the big prize! So, I'm not that skeptical
even with the Lion at home.
Atlanta at Green Bay
- This pick is predicated on Aaron Rogers being well enough to at least play at 80% of his ability. He' shown he's a good player but hasn't stepped into great yet. Without him this will be a loss. The Falcons are an emotional team that believes in itself. If the Packers have too many 3 and outs the Falcons can put together enough drives to possibly win this.
at Houston - The Colts coming off a bye week. Manning with enough practice to be in opening game shape. The Texans stink.
at Miami - After the total dismemberment of the Patriots its tempting to go with the Dolphins at home. The Chargers have too many weapons and the new look Dolphins haven't put together back to back strong efforts. Brains say the Chargers have their backs against the walls and the SuperBowl in their hearts. The heart says the Dolphins have a big chip on their shoulder.
Washington at Philadelphia
- The Redskins looked surprisingly strong in taking it to the Cowboys. I'm still not ready to concede that this is a good team. I'd look for the Eagles to tear them up. Brian Westbrook is back for them. He was the difference in the Bears game. Andy Reid teams don't lose many back to back. The Redskins can't get that high two weeks in a row, can they? My game of the week.
Seattle at New York Giants
- Cruddy game of the
week. The Giants will beat up on an inferior opponent and do it in the most boring way possible.
at Denver - This is my upset of the week. I have no idea why the Bronco's are so heavily favored, last week the Chiefs destroyed them utterly. Tampa Bay is looking stronger and stronger. Do the bettors give that much credit to the friendly confines of Mile High? This is an upset I feel pretty comfortable with. If I bet I'd take the points and giggle.
at San Francisco - The Patriots were humiliated two weeks ago. They had the bye week to let the humiliation sink in. You have to figure they'll come out strongly and should contain Frank Gore and beat up on the 49er's QB. The Niners don't have enough D to totally stop even the Brady-less Patriot attack. I figure Pat's win but don't cover the ridiculous spread.
Click images for desktop size: "Eskimo Pin Up" by Unknown
Cincinnati at Dallas
- I feel sorry for the Bengals. I really do. Even if, miraculously, Carson Palmer can play he won't be 100%. In fact he stands a good chance of getting injured while trying to will the Bengals to a win.
at Arizona - The Bills are playing to my expectation. So are the Cardinals. They were gutsy but still totally thrashed last week. They avoided near tragedy when Anquin Bolden got hit. Boldin's career might be over and that's sad. I expect the Bills to keep playing tough and doing enough to win.
Minnesota at New Orleans
- How much worse can it get for the
Saints. Sedrick Ellis is now out for 6 weeks. They keep getting people down. But Dru Brees might be the best QB in the NFL this season. Bush is playing solid ball and has his spectacular plays. The Viking D is the tyoe he could explode against. As depleted as the Saint's D is the Vikings O is so horrid, aside from Super Back Adrien Petersen, that the Saints should win a tight one at home.
Pittsburgh 10 Jacksonville
17 - This is my tie breaker game . . . I know, but they make you chose one like this. The Steelers were nothing but lucky last Monday night and now they have no running game. I'd expect Rothlisberger to be admiring the Florida sky a lot. He'll be on his back at leat 12 times tonight. He's healing but not 100%. The Jaguars are hungry and feeling right. I'd look for them to play loose and winning ball.
So, you may laugh now. These picks are for the pointed amusements of my enemies only . . .
I have a dog walk to attend today so I won't be able to watch and wonder what was going through my mind.
Tears for the Cubs. I'm shocked that they got swept. YAY for my Dodgers though. I never expected them to get this far.