May 20th, 2005


Shake it from your nose to your toes

Wow. What a night.

I left work at a reasonable hour so I could get home and try to hook up the washer and dryer. I got the washer hooked up, and it doesn't seem to be spraying water everywhere, so that's encouraging. I haven't run it yet, so we'll hopefully see how that goes tonight. I couldn't hook up the dryer because I didn't have all the necessary vent parts and apparently gas dryers will kill you if you're not careful, so I gotta make a trip to home depot after work.

I called vespaden to try to talk him in to going to the rock and roll show, but he wasn't down, due to some dental work that he'd encountered earlier in the day. I also tried to talk counterpoise in to going, but she had plans to be at something else that sounded cool as hell. Still, I was set on this show, so I took me a little disco nap and headed out around 9:30.

Those two fucked up.

The point of going was to see Harold Ray Live in Concert, an amazing Bay Area band that plays some gritty ass hard soul and garage music like they're trying to defeat you with it. All it takes is a guitar, bass, keyboard, drums, sax, and one hell of a white soul brother singer and I defy any booty in the house to not shake. You can't do it. You can't sit still. I took some pictures. I don't like using a flash at shows so much, and my camera isn't all that good in low light, so they're not the best. The ones where I did use a flash look like they were shot in a hospital, so I need to figure out what's up with that. Anyway, for the non-flash ones, a slow shutter had to be used, which isn't really ideal, given that these guys are unable to be still... ever. So, the shots are blurry and ummm... artistic, but hopefully you get an idea of the rock these guys throw down.

Click it for more

Harold Ray was the third of four bands. I'd planned on getting there shortly before they started and leaving directly afterwards. In Seattle, when you're out to see the third of four bands, it usually means that you're going to suffer through some horrifying shit for an opener that's nothing like the bands you came to see. You're also going to have to endure assholes in the crowd talking shit to either the openers, or if they're friends of the openers, then the band you're there for. This hasn't been the case so far at shows I've gone to here. It seems like the bookers at clubs here actually try to put bands together who are of the same or related genres, so not only do you get to see your band, but you get exposed to bands that you will probably also like.... and so the circle of life continues.

I missed the first band last night (I was napping), but I think that's ok. The second band was about halfway through their set when I arrived and they were pretty awesome. They're called The Struts and they were playing some good old fashioned garage, with a female lead singer. Sort of like the Detroit Cobras but with a stronger singer who had a hell of a lot more soul and more heart. Despite the strength of the singer, and unlike the Cobras, the rest of the band got to stand out and so you got rocked from all corners of the stage. They did a cover of "Have Love, Will Travel", the Sonics version, that almost knocked me down. Incredible.

After Harold Ray, I spent some time talking to the sax player, Charlie, who is a scooter friend. We chatted about jobs and stuff, and their upcoming show in Seattle (Seattle peeps, go see them with the Soul Pistols, because Oh My God, it's gonna be awesome). I decided I'd had enough rock and I should head home and be a responsible grownup.

When I got to my scooter, there was a flyer on there for a future show of the band that was about to go on, and it noted that their opening act, a DJ, would be spinning traditional ska, rocksteady, bluebeat stuff. Figuring tha the band was in the same vein, I flipped a 180 and headed back in to the club. I wasn't disappointed, because Go Jimmy Go were great. They sort of reminded me of Hepcat meets the Pietasters... very soulful and true to the form. I'm starting to sense a 4th wave of ska coming on, and from what I'm seeing it's back to the roots, which is awesome. Not that I minded the mostly "ska-core" third wave as much as some other purists, but I prefer the musicianship of these bands that go beyond taking a four-chord pop-punk song and adding some trumpets.

I took in as much as I could, but knowing I to be at a test plan review in the office at 8:30 this morning, I tore myself away at about 12:15 or so. One of the little delis in my hood was still open, so I hooked me up some chicken fingers and a hunk of carrot cake, and I arrived home after a pleasant midnight scooter ride across town, drunk (on good music, and zero alcohol) and happy... AND not smelling like the filters of an ashtray full of Marlboro reds.

San Francisco living is good, my friends... although perhaps not the best thing for my work productivity.