Sunday, March 16, 2008

Weekend Recap: Old Man Hands, River City 3.13.08 & The Boredoms 3.15.08

Sometimes I feel like bands would gain more interest if they didn’t play as much as they do- over-saturation can be a problem. On the other hand, there are musicians who, as far as I’m concerned, don’t play nearly enough. One of those is Old Man Hands. Anytime they play, I try to catch them because they’re so talented and honestly, Gabriel’s is the only voice in San Diego that makes me cry on the inside everytime I hear it. Conveniently, they played at the Ken Club on Thursday night and I made sure to arrive early enough to see them.

There were quite a few people there, but honestly, it was the first time I ever wished there were less people in the room because the crowd was incredibly rude. Old Man Hands, even with a full band, are quiet, and their music deserves a hushed attentive crowd. Instead, they got a bunch of chatty people who took the bands playing as a sign to talk even louder. It was really disappointing to see a band a band basically helpless and they were noticeably frustrated toward the end of the set. It’s a Catch-22 for a band- say something and you sound self-important, don’t say anything and the people there to see you wonder why you didn’t speak up. Gabriel handled it as well as he could and asked, “Can you guys turn it down?” Despite the crowd, the band sounded great. Rachel wasn’t playing violin with the band on this night, but they still sounded lush with the drums, guitars, mandolin, keys, and my favorite, the accordion. I was also happy that my ATM is across the street because I’ve been meaning to buy their CDs for a while but never had the scratch on me when I’ve seen them before. They started with my favorite song, Slip Away, and played a solid set, mixing in a couple all instrumental songs. I don’t know what the last song was called, but the mandolin sounded so beautiful and really helped distinguish the song.

River City were up second and had a louder sound and therefore weren’t bothered by the still loud crowd, and for a Thursday night there were quite a few people in the crowd. It was my first time seeing River City and I was really impressed. I’m always impressed when a band switches around instruments, and in this case the female drummer jumped in and played bass to join in vocals and the bassist picked up drum duties. I’ll definitely need to keep an eye out for these guys playing again.

The Common Loon finished up the night but it was kinda late for a Thursday night- I don’t think people knew they were gonna be on the bill, so the room pretty much cleared out. I, too, only stayed for a couple songs. They were pretty smart and had put out some free CDs so I’ll have to take a listen and check them out again, too.

Friday night came and went and I took such a lengthy end of the week nap, that by the time I went to the Ken, I’d missed Secret Apollo, then got so caught up talking to friends that I missed The Airlines and Anna Troy. I’m really disappointed that I missed The Airlines because they made such an impression on me the last time I saw them. I talked to Blake for a while after their set and he told me they’ve been recording a lot lately, mostly in LA, but they also were able to record a couple tracks in Nashville, so I’m really looking forward to that release.

I did my ritual of going home and catching up on the past week of In Treatment. If you have HBO, I highly recommend this show. It’s really well done, the characters are well developed, and it definitely builds tension in anticipation of each new episode.

Now it’s Saturday and I’m sitting in The Boredoms tour bus. They’re from Osaka, Japan, and they’re playing tonight at Cane’s. I’m babysitting the tour manager’s three year old, so we wandered around Belmont Park for a while, rode the carousel, played some video games in the arcade, made a quick stop on the beach, then hung around Cane’s.

He briefly wanted nothing to do with me which was a sure sign that he was tired, so I carried him to the bus while he shrieked in my ear screaming bloody murder. It was pretty cute, to be honest, because then some of the band guys came in and he was trying to get them to take him back to his mom, but everyone went about their business and eventually he snuck off and put himself to sleep in his bunk.

These are some pictures from inside the bus.

His mother is gonna try and come in here in a bit so I can see the band sound check and hopefully take some pictures. The bands setup is incredible, with three full metal drumsets. They’re not actually playing until 11, so I’ll probably be babysitting well past midnight, which is just fine by me. Maybe I’ll actually get to bed at a normal time.

That’s all for now. This bus is swaying side to side because it’s so windy down here. Get ready for the news to announce “Stormwatch 2008” or some exaggerated gimmick. I’m signing out now so my battery doesn’t die.

postscript: I went in for a couple sound check songs while Toma's mom watched him on the bus, but then she came in the venue so I went back to the bus. Here are some pics from the soundcheck:

It wasn't until fairly late that I discovered the pass word for the satellite wi-fi, so I didn't get to post this until today, Sunday. We all ate dinner on the bus, though most of the band and crew were up in the front and I was in the back room on the bus so as not to crowd them. After everyone ate, they all slept for an hour before they had to go onstage at 11, and of course that's precisely when Toma woke up crying for his mother. He kept saying something that I'm sure translated to "I hate you" because he thought I was just being mean not letting him see his mom.

I took him outside and it was freezing, but he screamed for close to an hour, then finally the band went into the club so we went back on the bus and I entertained him for a couple hours finding videos on YouTube of Dora The Explorer, The Backyardigans, and a Japanese DVD he had. He'd cry between clips, but anytime music was on he seemed to be ok. The band finished about 12:30, but they all had to load out, so I didn't leave until after 1 am. It was an interesting day to say the least, and I was so exhausted that I actually slept in really late today, which happens frequently but not when alcohol hasn't been involved, so I'd say my body needed it. Now I'm all rested for the upcoming week. I'm gonna work on this week's listing now.

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