Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Woke up prematurely this morning. In a tiz because I couldn't find my Hello Saferide tickets. I had 'em because I'd bought them early but when I got to the door of the theatre they werenae to be found. And it was way past sold out. Which is exactly how it should be. Anyway, it was all a tad alarming. Lord knows what it all means but hopefully not the most obvious explanantion. Remembering dreams and dreaming at all is not a forte of mine irrespective of my fondness for the Suicide song.

Oh, I know I've lost the plot, that's not what me mean... OK got the new Ben Weasel and will use that to try to get back to terra firma in the car this morning. And talking about Ben's... Mr Gart kindly sent this report about The Fleshtones visit to the Windy (not windae) City on Saturday past...

"The Fleshtones were great. A cool little place I've never been to before -- The Subterranean (funny was on the second and third floor of the building. It's an old theater-type room -- reminds me of what could've been a little Vaudeville place or old nightclub. Stage at one end, not a lot of room, bar at the other; stairs that go up and down, leading up to the next floor where there are restrooms and another bar and tables/chairs -- it all enables you to watch the show from that floor too. Here's a couple of pictures of the place: And here's a great pic from the second floor (what a cool little chandelier): (from the club site). On to the show...

The Hentchmen were alright, interesting little garage rock combo. Was a little familiar with their output from Norton, but not really my kind of stuff. Good energy, but didn't grab me that night. Missed the first band, the Havocs, but Peter and the boys seemed to get a kick out of them and invited them on stage (more on that later). After the Hentchmen, I got to meet Ken while he was selling their wares; a really nice, cool guy.

I bore witness to something incredible last Saturday night. Things kicked off at midnight, with Keith and Ken playing the opening riff to "Hard Lovin' Man", hard to locate where the noise was coming from but eventually they appeared from the second floor balcony and made their way down to the first floor through the crowd, as Peter and Bill came around too. They all made way to the stage and the festivities, what a great show! So much energy, humor, charisma...even if there were non-fans in the audience, they must've been converted that night. Sure, there were some technical problems throughout the show (Keith's amp mic went in and out during a lot of the show, but he overcame and things got fixed eventually). Even if they never make way back to Chicago, at least I got to see them this night. They cranked out some of the stellar tunes from Beachhead, mixing in some older tunes and covers that were totally satisfying. Keith, Ken and Peter all moved and danced around the stage and audience throughout the entire show, including going up and down the stairs numerous times. The audience were all treated like friends at some crazy old party, and we were all being let in on the biggest secret. Keith dared to pull out a folding chair and played "Ready For The Mountain" from atop the rickety thing (later, bringing it out into the audience and standing on it there too). They ran through "Saturday night/Sunday morning", "...Do You Swing?", "I Am What I Am", "Way Down South", "Feels Like A Woman", The Dreg/Vindicators" , "Sha La La La (pts 1 & 2)"...they brought both openers up on stage with them, let Johnny Hentch wail on the harp...killer encore) and so many other tunes that night. The highlight for me...The Opus, is a medley of "I've Gotta Change My Life", "Hope Come Back" and "Stop Foolin' Around" -- a shame they were abbreviated but still wonderful to see them and the audience eat it all up. Hearing these old songs mixed in with the new one shows indicate how crafty and consistent they have been all these years. And then they flattened us with the stunning capper of "Bigger & Better". How can one band give so much from beginning to end? Amazing, simply awe-inspiring stuff. The kind of experience that makes people go out and start their own bands. Was truly a night I did not want to end...if only they could have kept going on. I think it's fair to say that The Fleshtones are the true heirs to the Ramones' throne of RnR royalty. They are what is right with rock and roll. I wanna know what their secret is -- how have they done it? I guess I'll wait for Sweat.

The energy they exude is simply incredible -- like every show is their last and they're going out with a bang. Amazing that they have been doing this for so long and have no plans on stopping soon. If only everyone could experience the Fleshtones once in their lives.

This rates among my top 10 shows, ever."

Thanks for testifying Ben!