The Berries made another assault on the ears of Real City last night, performing at our friendly confines of Art Bar. We were packed up and ready to leave Mondoville by 6, and it got us to the venue earlier than we expected, about 6:45. This allowed us to get good parking spaces, and we got the gear into the venue about 7:15. Having had a good experience at the local Ramen house in the past, I grabbed dinner there again. I tried a different variety last night, and it was good, but I may have been a bit overeager, if my scalded tongue this afternoon is any indication. Meanwhile, I continue to be utterly incompetent with chopsticks, so I once more relied on a spoon. As I walked back, I saw a food truck pull into the club’s lot, but timing being everything, I guess I’ll have to wait til next time.
I got back about half an hour before the show started, so I was there as some of our friends arrived, including two of my favorite former students. Then it was time for things to get rolling, so we headed into the performance area and watched as Skull Baby took the stage.
I’ve talked before about their sleaze-rock carnival of chaos, and again, they brought a mix of sleaze, slop, and Elvis post-impressionism (no joke — according to the band’s bassist, vocalist Toby has worked in the past as an impersonator), effectively turning the stage into Disgraceland. It’s huge fun, if your tastes run toward exploitation movies and horror punk, and mine do. To make things even better, the guys in the band are kind, friendly, warm people, and I’m already looking forward to seeing them at our next scheduled gig.
We were up next, and it went well. I had a bit of a call-back moment as we were setting up. I saw a couple of guys from the headliner band watching us before we started, and the guitarist and drummer were saying how nice my drum set is. Once again, I have the satisfaction of having gear that’s better than I am, and I still take pleasure in that.
Once we got rolling, we did 14 songs in our 45-minute set, including three covers (our standards of “Gloria” and “Pictures of Matchstick Men“, and our resurrection of Richard and the Young Lions’ “Open Up Your Door“) and several debut numbers. We even introduced a new dance number, “The Scurry”, assisted by Real City’s cool couple of “Jim Stark” and his lifetime party partner Leigh.
The audience seemed to dig it, judging from the head-bobbing, smiles, and nods of recognition, even of the new stuff — which may seem odd at first, until you realize that what they’re recognizing is the approach and style. After the show, numerous folks told us that we have the Nuggets-era/60s-punk sound locked in, and I can’t ask for better than that.
So as Myrtle Beach-based Incredibly Tall People took the stage, I was in a good mood. These fellows are pretty young, but have serious chops, which they displayed in a set that incorporated jam-rock, relaxed reggae-influenced grooves, and a few covers that ranged from Pink Floyd’s “Time” to the Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer.” I’d be willing to bet these guys get all the work they can handle, and it was nice to share a bill with a band that polished.
Finally, it was time for the headliners, Ruba (rhymes with “Bubba”) Say and the Cosmic Rays. While we strive for the sound of 1966, this power trio moves the calendar a few more pages, to about 1973. The sound is what these days gets called proto-metal, recalling groups like Ram Jam, Brownsville Station, and Grand Funk Railroad, with a dollop of the Nuge as well. I’m told that Ruba and the guys dominated the local music scene in the 80s and early 90s, and I can see why — they can play, they’re huge fun, and I’m glad they’ve returned after a long hiatus. This is music made for hanging out at the 7-11 on a summer night in suburbia, playing video games or watching a twentysomething guy flip out as his teenaged girlfriend grinds the gears of his Trans-Am: “Dammit, Bobbi Jean!” Again, I consider this to be high praise, as there’s still a lot of that kid at the 7-11 in me. Apparently there’s a lot of him in others as well, as the crowd — more than a few of whom were in my demographic — was discovering that music is sometimes the next best thing to time travel.
Still, it was late, and I had to head back to Mondoville, getting in the door at 2 this morning. I got up around eleven, and I’m still happy about the show. That’s a good sign.