Thursday, August 07, 2008

Overdue Recap: Less Than Jake, Goldfinger, Big D & The Kids Table @ House of Blues

I've been trying to figure out how I wanted to approach my recap of the Less Than Jake/Goldfinger/ Big D and The Kids Table show at the House of Blues last week, because there are several tangents I can go on.

First, after doing this site for a while, I get some music promos. Some I love, some not as much, but I appreciate it all nonetheless. I love getting a new band's music and feeling like I'm listening to new shit that could be my next favorite band. I especially love when there's the "by the way, this band is playing, do you wanna be on their guest list?" e-mails. There are some publicity companies that I know, every single time, I'm gonna love what they're sending, and I only feel bad when I just don't have the time to write a proper review of the music.

On occasion, however, I'll get some music that is from an established band and I don't know what to do. Like, doesn't everyone already know this band? Don't people already already either love them or hate them? And I guess that's their job...perhaps to change minds on these established opinions. And so it was when I got a Less Than Jake promo. I was only mildly intrigued, this is a band I had crossed paths with in the past, but I'm 31...not 17...and my musical tastes aren't what they used to be. Skate punk/ska/pop-punk just doesn't hit me like it used to when I was trucking around the city on a skateboard.

Still, I was mildly interested in this show, especially because they were playing with Goldfinger. A very long time ago I had made some friends who were roadies for a band, and then as they got more experience, they moved on to bigger bands. Not huge bands, but certainly bands you'd hear on the radio. Every time they'd pass through town with another band, they were certain to call me and hook me up and we'd hang out. One of them ended up working for Goldfinger, so I saw them a lot. Once, after having met the band a few times, and after they played a show in San Diego, I drove my friend, Darrin and Charlie back to their places in LA, then the next day we all went out to San Bernadino for a show. That was the same show, incidentally, when Evan Dando choked me. The guys were funny as all hell and man, did that have some stories to entertain me on the drive. And it was probably when I caught the photobug urge, and they let me jump all over the stage taking pictures with my old point and shoot kodak camera when they played. Here's some pics from back then (thanks to Natalie for scanning these for me).

These are in my car, when we stopped at a Jack In The Box drive thru on our way to LA.

These are from the Orange Bowl in San Bernadino.

I also went to Vegas with them, which was awesome because it was my first time staying at the Hard Rock Hotel. Sadly, no really good stories because while everyone gambled all night long, I was asleep in the room. I was too scared to use my fake ID in Vegas. This was from a show they played with Buck-O-Nine and a couple other bands.

As I said, that was a long, long time ago and I wanted to see them again, for old time sake. I didn't see the guys offstage at all at House of Blues, and it's not likely they'd remember me anyway, but it was a fun show, nonetheless, and it definitely took me back.

The first band I saw was Big D and The Kids Table. (I missed the openers). They started as I was settling my tab at the bar upstairs (yum, catfish nuggets!), so I was stoked on the 'skip-the-line' policy at House of Blues. (If you show you're dinner receipt, you get to cut the line). I got there in time for the band, and I was surprised by how much I liked them. I mean, I wasn't skanking or anything, but I could appreciate their sound and their horn section was really good.
They were really high energy and it flowed from one song to the next rather nicely.

Goldfinger was next onstage. I was really curious about them as well as Less Than Jake. I wondered how do you grow your band over a decade when you play music whose main audience is 14-24 year olds, especially when your band has settled down, had kids, and are pushing 40. Do you try and keep the fans from 10 years ago, now in their late 20s and 30s, or do you make new music in the same style and just hope it sticks with the new generation of music fans? Goldfinger seemed to do a really great job at doing both. They played old hits, played newer stuff, and in between, gushed about how great the tour was, how awesome the fans were, how much they've always loved San Diego, and John talked about growing up here. "I gotta be honest," he said, "I thought tonight was gonna suck balls. But this is off the hook." He also mentioned attending Mesa College for five years. "Quit school and join a band. It's waaay more fun."

Some crazy shenanigans went down too, but you'll have to click 'keep on reading' to hear what went down. FYI, it's pretty R-rated, so don't click if you are against ass stories and pictures.

Less Than Jake closed out the show and I was pretty conflicted with their show. I was already into the ska/pop-punk vibe of the night, so that wasn't the problem. Their songs are fun and the crowd was going insane, so the 8 or 10 of us in the photo pit had to dodge flying bodies coming into the pit from overhead. I guess what bothered me about the show was the egregious use of f-bombs. I'm no prude, I curse plenty, but it's more than I'd like, and this band seemed to lack any vocabulary at all, and considering it was an all ages show, I just found it really unnecessary. Like perhaps limit using fuck to under 8 times a sentence. And when I say 'all-ages' I mean there were people with toddlers there, little kids with their former-skater parents, and tweens who were probably at their first show. It felt like they were trying too hard for punk cred when their music should accomplish that on its own. If I was a parent there with my 9 year old kid, I would think twice before my kid convinced me to go to a show like that again, and since those are the ticket/record buyers, I'd tread lightly. For me, it all detracted from the music. Between every song there was this back and forth jabbing, like a comedy act was part of the band's schtick. As for the music itself, I was having a good time, and it definitely took me back, but the in between stuff got on my nerves. Maybe I'm just getting old.

The final feather for me was when they called out some chick out on the balcony. The singer was talking and the house lights were on and he's pumping up the crowd with "How's everyone doing? We gonna fuck shit up?" Then he looks to the balcony and he's like "woah, everyone is having fun except for that girl. Look at the chick in the red shirt. She couldn't be more fucking bored." He continued to berate her, saying how it's usually the chicks who dig their shows but not this girl, no, she is miserable. He went on and on, played a song, then berated her more. Later he ended up having her and her boyfriend come onstage for a shot of jaeger to loosen her up and she and her boyfriend danced during one of their songs, which made me think the whole thing was staged, but in a venue of 700 or so people, what point was he trying to make? Negative ju-ju irritates me and lead to my exit.

Jake had come to use my spare ticket, so after my 3 songs in the pit, and once the band humiliated the chick, we hung out in the Delta Lounge having a couple drinks, listening to the show from there before we decided to bail before the encore. Despite all this, it was fun to be at a lively show and I'm sure the other 99.9% of the people there had a great time. Perhaps a fucking great time. Click 'keep on reading' for more pics, setlists, and the rest of the Goldfinger story.

Big D and The Kids Table


This was the last night for Goldfinger on this tour, so they went big. Toward the end of the set, they invited everyone onstage. I was really, really impressed that the security guys were actually helping people onstage, one by one, and there was quite a dance party going on. After the song, one by one, the kids stage dove into the crowd or were helped down by the security. It was great to see for a venue that is usually really strict about everything.

Toward the end of the night, Darrin, ever the show off and loud-mouth (and I say that knowingly and lovingly) took the mic and had his own little show. Apparently he's started a tradition where he sticks a twinkie in his ass and someone from the crowd comes up to eat it out. Um, yes. Digest that for a second. He asked for a volunteer, a kid jumped onstage, he explained what was going to happen, and the kid stayed and was a willing participant. So there he was, Darrin standing on the monitor, he pulled down his pants, stuck a twinkie in his ass, and the kid kinda grabbed it and tossed it into the crowd with his teeth. Apparently it broke and Darrin ate the rest of it. Simultaneously disgusting and at that moment, kinda hilarious in a Jackass sort of way. Funny thing is, you can see the stunt performed several times on YouTube.

Less Than Jake

No comments: