Saturday, February 18, 2006

The great cold north (suburb)

Ah, Vancouver, Wa. - I think it's the only US city named after a Canuck city but what're you gonna do?

I'll tell you what, little mister sassy pants - You're gonna get fairly loaded and play yer living guts out to the very appreciative throng, that's what!

A little history's in order here first. For those unfamiliar, Vancouver lies just across the river that acts as the border 'twixt Washington and Oregon. I'm not sure if it's the Shelbyville to the Springfield-that-is-Portland but it's certainly it's own unique blend of overpaid tech types lured by cheaper housing and a decent public school system and then what I'll just term as the "larry the cable guy" kinda audience. ("You know - morons.")

The 'fats musical roots run fairly deep in this town since one of Foil's previous bands owned any musical hope in that place for a while. "Extended hiatus," aside, it's still impressive to see folks remember this band fondly and are sad to not see 'em playing any longer. It's a shite state of affairs since they left, with really only local heroes Smirk and The Martindales left to fight for any foothold even remotely resembling a legacy or scene.

So when we were invited to play Rachael's birthday party at the club her beau Harry operates at, we saw our opportunity to return some of that old sense & style to that fair land. Throw in a booze cruise of a limo ride and we were all pretty much sold on it.

With temperatures in the low 20s met up at the 15th St. Pub a few hours before our go-time and loaded into the limo. Pulling out of the parking lot we bottomed out and we all found this somehow appropriate. We should test vehicles of such encumbrance, I think. That wasn't the first time of the night nor was it the last that we'd kick out sparks from that thing. Much kudos go to our good-natured driver for not only taking it all in stride but doing his best to minimize it, too. The Misfats stickers Harry had applied to the windows brought back the line to me, "Tinted windows don't mean nuthin'/They know who's inside." Another nice touch was the in-car video roll advertising this particular limo service, billed in the video as, "The Misfats preferred choice of transportation..."

We headed back across the river and partook of the finest establishments for such a group as we for this type of event. The "birthday dance" at Exotica was, shall we say, well worth it; perhaps even more so was our drinking Sparks in the limo, blocking the entrance to the place, laughing at everyone both entering and leaving. We also walked in and immediately owned that place, did our business, and then headed back to the venue for our set.

Upon entering, I hear the non-threatening strains of typical 'couve sensitive rock. Many people who know us ask, "You guys are playing soon, right?" in the manner befitting someone crying for rescue. There were, apparently, three bands before us and while I'm sure they were all fine musicians they, apparently, left out of reverence and defference all the rawkin' of the night to the 'fats (damn straight!). Taking over the men's room we're soon in full battle regalia and ready to face the hungry ones. We tear right in and are immediately met with happy little faces who are very appreciative for this Mother Bird to regurgitate nurturing musical spew into their gaping, smiling maws. Granted, we got stuck by the 2nd song but we more than compensated, throwing that place into an utter frenzy of joyous, raucous, drunken festivities not witnessed since - well, probably since the last time we played. Ha!

Much congrats followed and while we had representatives move on to tend to the after-party (and an appropriately totally wasted birthday girl - yah!) it was time for me to drive home in full makeup and collapse, contended that we had, in some small way, perhaps, made the most of the opportunity to a crowd that knew it well. Thanks again to Harry's generosity, Rachael's energy, and their combined enthusiasm. It set the tempo for the evening's events and never relented. Not too shabby, so "that'll do, pig. That'll do..."

Monday, February 06, 2006

Super Glutton Bowl

Much thanks is now and again due to both The Monkey Pub and to Stay Tuned. They proved a "good on" for Seattle. Here's how:

Arriving in separate vehicles (after the trailer debacle; don't ask) we find that we'll be unable to crash for free at Baloney's buddy's, the Cactus Huggers, place due to the NW-equivalent of a hurricane we got hit with Friday night. Seems most places are booked to the gills, too, there in the downtown/University area. Megan (I hope I'm spelling that right) the bartender at the Monkey busts her ass in trying to find us a place by making lotsa calls, continuously checking in with us on it all, and basically being a decent human being. Why more show-related folks aren't like that I don't know but her efforts were well appreciated by us all. Baloney managed to find a great deal, tho', so we got an $88 room for all 4 of us a couple blocks from the venue. Said room didn't involve manass-to-manass action (involuntary, of course), too, which was a nice change. Of course, tell a skinny guy he's gonna share a room with two large guys - large guys who love to crank the A/C in hotel rooms especially after sweating out the equivalent of three children during a set - and he'd better have his own blanket. I think we gave Dr. C.H.O.A.D pneumonia but that's what he gets for not having an Artic-ready layer of protective blubber.

The Monkey's not huge but it is wonderfully isolated from nearby frat infestation. They even take special, Misfats-prescribed drink orders. "Cozy" would be a better word for the place, I think. At least they covered one of the pool tables pre-set to help focus folks there on the bands. The stage is floor-level and the crowd setup is covered by two rows of folding tables and a bunch of chairs. It felt a little '68-comeback-ish...

Stay Tuned and us were the only bands playing so we kicked off by 10:30pm. ST has a healthy amount of gear to setup (which they do with blurry efficacy) so I think it took them nearly a half hour just for that feat. But they were soon into their set, wowing a crowd that had obviously never heard them. That part makes me a little sad, in that a band of their caliber and quality don't have a fanatical following that would embarrass other bands, especially in their hometown. A "prophet is only without honor..." I suppose. They are updating some of their old faves for a variety of reasons and have added some new tunes since last we played together. Most fitting was their version of "The Munsters" theme, dedicated to the recently departed "Grampa" Al Lewis. They stupefied, amazed, overcame, and rawked for the better part of an hour. And like Foil stated to me, "This never gets old, man."

After a relatively quick takedown/setup we got stage-ready in the only private place we had access to: the men's room. It's better than some places we've changed (parking lots, stairwells, that weird space in Ash St.) but, due to the Stygian river of Eternal Urine Stank, it wasn't exactly the most pleasant. Our makeup taking a floor dive during this frenzied activity didn't do much to sell me on it, either.

We make our way back up to the stage and launch right into our set. It only takes me getting to the 2nd song in the set to screw up - so much so that we have to start the song over. That's what happens when I clamor for adding more than one new song to the set list. Yet the 50 or so folks in attendance were still appreciative and forgiving. We added, "TV Dinner Casualty," "Hollywood Waffle House," and "In the DriveThru" to the already-prodigious list and they all went off quite well, I think. The last song there is a little more obscure, fitting into the "counted" setlist of, perhaps, the more hardcore Misfits fans; and, as such, it kinda missed its mark since those that are fans of that level tend not to really get our schtick or, at the very least, take it all a bit too seriously. But I like singing it and it's a good "snowball dance" kinda song, something missing (perhaps rightly so?) from our prior setlist.

Exhausted, sweaty beyond belief, and suffering from indigestion (I would still recommend "The Exorcist" burger from across the street but, perhaps, not before a workout) we hang out and chat for awhile with those folks remaining. Thanks to everyone for the kind words of appreciation. The Misfats send that love all the way 'round our own equator (yes, we do have one) and right back at ya'. C.H.O.A.D. and I nearly hurl when ST wanna take us out to eat breakfast - not at the idea, of course, but at the prospect of trying to eat anything at that point. We politely decline and find our way to pass out in our hotel, thankful and full of the good feelings that a quality show with quality folks can give you.

Just a few articles to document our part in the festivities that night:

Object closer may appear fatter than they really are...

Feel the envy, feel the love

the Hamzinger in action

So this is how the NW MiniTour begins, huh?

The wonderfully monstrous hybrid that is Stay Tuned and the Misfats.

Well, come out for the 2nd go-'round on March 4th at Tommy's Club. BE there.