Sunday, March 12, 2006

Just like the old days 

It started innocently enough. One of my favorite (live) bands (Th' Legendary Shack Shakers) was coming to town and I decided to check them out. For $12, how could I say no? Apparently I was unconvincing in my promotions of the band so I ended up flying solo. So at 9pm Saturday night me, my bicycle and my incredible ability to partake in social occasions alone headed towards the city.

20 minutes of eventless riding later I arrived at the venue: Dante's. After a brief ATM maneuver (and a jog back to my bike to removing the damn new blinking red light mounted on back) I headed indoors and grabbed a spot at the bar. Immediately, I felt a wave of at-easedness wash over me. A dark bar and cheapish alcohol, and pretty soon off a crazy guy to hang out with. What more could you want to feel at home?

Settling in on my stool, a whiskey and coke near my hand, I turned to survey the scene: a smallish place; stage up front, a small 'dancing' (moshing) area whose heels were closely followed by a bunch of small tables; bars sat on either side of the main room; dark lit, a very mixed crowd, and my new buddy sitting next to me sipping on Budweiser while bemoaning his lack of tequila.

Memories flooding back from the first time I saw this band: it was back in the Denver days. My persuasive abilities must have been at their peak because I connived several of my friends into going to check out Hank 3; the Shack Shakers were the opening band and they left an indelible impression (sniff!)! This marked my....third (?) time seeing them. They were not to disappoint.

The two opening bands were good (Cicada followed by Hillstomp), and the energy/speed level increased with each band, culminating in a frenziedly feverish pitch for the SS's (the sound was also cranked by the end, which didn't hurt).

During the first two bands, me and my new buddy (a nice guy, actually) chatted away. He's a singer from Texas originally, and I swear is in love with tequila (which gives him something to be in love with. His chatter was like a country song-bemoaning his fate at the hands of women, all of whom "are crazy and evil". And alcohol.). Seems this guy lives out of his van, and he mentioned the bottles of tequila waiting for him at 'home', hinting that perhaps if I were nice I could garner myself an invite to check it out after the show.

Finally, the real fun began. The Shakers hit like a damn runaway train. The Colonel (lead singer) came out in what looked like an S&M mask, only shaped like a dog's head. Odd. Before the first song ended, the outer shirt had been shed and halfway thru their set he was down to only his lederhosen (I kid you not). How to describe the concert? I understood almost nothing the Colonel sung as the music was turned up more than his mike (I think), they use a lot of distortion in his mike, and....the guy is nuts, plain and simple. The pace of the music was insane, a wailing guitar and slamming drums, the Colonel varying from wailing lyrics to harmonicizing and back, the air pulsing from the energy being shoved out over the audience. The C, now and then, grabbed tufts of hair on his ribbed out chest, tore them out and tossed a hair shower into the audience; he crowd surfed; he played hackey sack with balled up paper; he scrambled around on all floors, on his back; his eye twitchings and rollings seemed inhuman; his singing smacked of tune and medley all the while. Following the band's lead, the entire crowd was surging and rolling and rocking to the insanity of the music. Amid all this, the aforementioned young 'un hit me up with a "Are you here all by your lonesome?" Some 'conversation' was had, as much as was possible with the music, the swinging dancing and insanity. I darn near trod my Chucky T's past the rubber soles swinging around the dance floor trying to discuss my major and how I was liking school and what a BUMmer it is to have class at 9am twice a week!

Finally I returned to my stool and buddy to finish my drink and enjoy the rest of the show from a solid vantage point instead of the spinning view I'd had while dancing (plus, I was getting a bit freakered out talking about all things college. Hell, I'm OLD now!). A couple songs later the set ended, followed by a brief rampaging encore. Then it was all over, leaving the crowd drenched in sweat and mostly deaf. My buddy offered to share some of his coveted tequila with me if I'd head out to his van with him. "What the hell," I said. "I don't have anything to do tomorrow!"

Off we scuttled, banging out the door followed by the confused and heart-broken gazes and sighs of the college girl (and all her friends too, of course), out into the drizzly dark night and over to the run-down tan and brown striped child abductor van. JB popped open the back doors and lo! and behold! A mini-bar stationed across the back of the van. Popping behind the hardwood and serving from his knees (not much headroom in vans) JB served up some mighty fine tequila (due to the internet's inability to showcase tonal inflection, let me point out the extreme sarcasm in that statement. No tequila is 'mighty fine'. Woof!). Our conversations rambled over such intellect challenging topics such as: college girls, rain, vans, loud music and tequila. A brain-burner, let me tell you.

Round about 230am JB found himself passed out on his face behind the bar while I had a (typically) 20 minute bike ride thru the rain to get hom. Closing up shop, I mounted my sturdy bike and began weaving my way home. 3 hours later I pulled up to the front door and stumbled up the stairs, banging and slamming and causing a ruckus. The cops that had been following me had decided to call off their search by now (it was a dazlzing spectacular chase scene, something out of Smoky and the Bandit. Only me and my bike weren't nearly as quick on the get away as old BR. And BR got to 'take his hat off' for Sally Field [hottie!] while all I got was a few face plants on the pavement). I guess the 1.5 hours hiding in the bushes were all it took to convince them that I was in a perfect condition to be riding home. Silly wankers. I knew I shouldn't have mounted that blinking red light to my rear end. All that does is draw unwanted attention!

A 'meal' of ramen completed my night's activities and I sunk into a well-deserved deep sleep.

Now that my saga has been related in its imbecilic fashion you must ask yourself this question: which parts of the above actually happened and which are the product of my 'imagination'?

A conundrum. I know. Sometimes even I can't tell tell the difference.

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Name: Corey
Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

I'm on a journey with no destination. The path is constantly changing direction but there are always adventures to be had. "Never" and "always" have left my lexicon.

WWW http:/www.jimspeak.blogspot.com