I have to admit that even though I live a block away from the Ken Club, I was finding it hard to motivate to head over for the Art Around Adams official after-party. With a little coaxing, I made my way over, but specifically went without my usual baggage. I took my keys, my phone, some cash, and my I.D and ATM card. I specifically left my camera at home. I wanted to enjoy the show, enjoy the crowd, enjoy the pool challenge that Kevin threw down and not feel like I was "working". It ended up being a really great night.
The show was slated to start at 8 pm, but the bands started much later. The lineup had been changed; originally billed with Arrows, White Apple Tree, Monsters From Mars and Scarlet Symphony (in that order), they were rearranged so that the lineup was the same with the exception of Arrows being moved from the first spot to the last. I got there shortly after 9 and the bands hadn't started, so I had the pleasure of meeting Harvey Bodie, Brett's father and original owner of Bodie's, the Chee-Chee, and other bars in San Diego for years. He asked if I had a drink and when I told him I was just having water, he said, "I don't trust anyone who doesn't drink." Naturally I ordered myself a cocktail.
Kevin finally showed up, so after a couple games of pool (Current series score was left at 1-1), White Apple Tree kicked off the night with a great set. I seriously love this band and apparently so did the modern dancers that hit the dancefloor toward the end of the set. You'll have to check TheMixsterSD.com for the video of that fun.
When the band finished, Kevin and I attempted to finish our pool showdown, but the tables were taken, so instead we got our clocks cleaned by the fierce pairing of A.J. and Matt who ended up running the table for most of the night.
I joined some friends at the bar and I guess that's when I felt a release...it was nice just to hang out with friends for a change. As much as I love live music, I tend to over-immerse myself in the experience at times, worrying so much about getting photos and video, that I sometimes miss the little things that make going out so much fun. It was a great night, and while I was there I had several conversations that make me really appreciate living in San Diego...a huge city and a small town all at once. Some of my chats are just for me, but some of them I can share.
My friend Jared, bass player for Augustana was there, along with guitar/mandolin player of the band, Chris, who told me they're off for about a month before hitting the road again with Counting Crows and a few shows with Switchfoot, too. Some of the tour dates are available here. Unfortunately the tour is mostly in the midwest and east and won't be coming around the west at all. They were at the Ken in support of Arrows...Jared has mixed their EPs and is helping to record their first full-length record.
I have to say it was really great talking shop with them and time flew by before I'd realized I'd missed the rest of the bands. The bands got so behind that it was looking like Arrows wouldn't get to start until nearly 1 am, so they decided not to play. I have to say that I can't blame them for making the decision, and in no way should it reflect poorly on them since they were there from the late afternoon for soundcheck and all. Perhaps the booking of four bands was a little over-ambitious.
So then there's last call, Careless Whisper on the jukebox, final shots, the bar sweep, and then there's dozens of people on the street, filtering to after parties, waiting for cabs, making burrito plans. I bumped into John Paul, formerly of Grand Ole Party and currently in The Hot Moon. He's got a solo project in the works. He told me it's called Vegetarian Werewolf, a nickname he apparently gave himself at four years old, and he's making his debut at Tin Can on July 8. Aaron Swanton is recording his record.
As I wandered across the street, there was Aaron, and we chatted for an hour or so about everything; music, recording, the show, the Ken Club, his studio, and his own solo stuff that he's recording. It's really great that in a musical landscape that can be so hard to navigate, that there are people like Aaron who deeply believe in creating and sharing without regard to some ultimate scheme.
As I said, ultimately I was glad to go out, to revel in a packed Ken Club on a Saturday night. Having lived in the neighborhood for almost a dozen years, it was kinda like back when I first moved in and I appreciated the nostalgia. Looks like I have to make a point to soak it all in more often.