It was one of those Thursdays that felt more like a Friday. My psuedo-Friday started off at The 5 Spot, less by choice and more necessitated by the fact that my band was playing. I walked in to find the barstools manned by a handful of early birds, some cringing, some enthusiastically soaking in the free-jazz-punk-metal of Gnarwhal. Among them, a 300-pound Englishman who made it his business to vocalize his enthusiasm between every song. This is another odd/fun/interesting footnote to the festival—the visitors. There’s a handful of folks who came a long way to check this thing out, and they’re pretty fun to talk to.
It’s probably a conflict of interest to review my own band, so I’ll say only this: Tigers Con Queso played at the 5 Spot from 8:45 to 9:15. Probably less than that, because our set is really short. Oh, and at one point, the large Englishman started his own mosh pit—yes, by himself.
Afterwards, I caught a few numbers of varnished, drunk-on-Beatles pop of Codaphonic before bailing for greener pastures. In this case, The Rutledge, where I showed up in time to catch early ’90s-flavored power trio And the Relatives and a who’s-who crowd of Scene
staffers, indie rockers, familiar hipsters, and one Johnny Kingsbury sporting—you got it—a pair of white capris (didn’t get a chance to look at his belt). It was the Cream’s wet dream if you ever saw one. I also couldn't help wondering myself: Just what the hell is a Rutledge?
If anything can be said about And the Relatives, it’s that they craft some damn great songs. Their overall aesthetic walks a fine line between dated and familiar, but essentially kind of refreshing since it’s one that’s been all but abandoned since 1993.
Just as I was starting to soak in the fine folk rock of All We Seabees, it was time to move on—it happens when you catch a ride with someone else.
Next stop was The End where we walked in mid-set for Hands Down Eugene, who were laying down some surreal psychedelic indie jams. Admittedly, by this point, the flood of beer in my belly inspired me to spend a little more time outside chatting and a little less time inside doing my job. It was tough not to. Everyone I know who wasn't at the Rutledge was pretty much there. And those who weren't had crossed the street to the Exit/In where the Protomen were about to go on.
There’s almost literally nothing I can say about The Protomen now that I haven’t published at least half a dozen times before (except that I finally saw them on a stage that could accommodate the entire band), and there was hardly anyone in the audience who hadn’t seen them at least that many times, but this is the thing I’m noticing about NBN. Yes, a lot of the time you’re in a room full of people you see all the time, watching the same bands you probably saw a month ago. But somehow, it’s all much better. The bands are bringing it harder, their banter is wittier, and everyone seems so much happier to see you than usual. I know, it sounds pretty gay. But when you’ve got a gut full of spirits, it’s also pretty awesome, and I’ll take awesome wherever I can get it these days.
Check back for more hand stampage tomorrow.
This is my hand. So far, it’s only slightly discolored, bearing the mark of only three door stamps from participating NBN venues. By Sunday, I expect every square centimeter will be covered with the ink of authorization. Like the mark of the beast, only way less apocalyptic. This morning, a throbbing vessel in the side of my head echos throughout my skull with every heart beat as I sit waiting on a combo of Excedrin and Red Bull to heal me long enough to finish whatever it is I’m trying to say here. In other words: Last night was pretty awesome.