“The country, Scandinavia, has the same freedoms as America and similar unemployment.”
– From a documentary we were watching about divorce in the US (Scandinavia isn’t a country).
Friday, September 18, 2015
A regular Friday evening for Anna and myself generally involves going to The Bar Room with several of Anna’s colleagues and yesterday started out no differently. Neither of us had had a particularly great week, besides going to see Maury that is, so we were both glad the weekend was finally here.
I hadn’t been able to leave our apartment all day as there had been a leak on one of the lower floors, so we had plumbers coming in and out of our place throughout the afternoon. It was such a nice day and I just wanted to get out, but I couldn’t. It got to a little after 3:00pm and I got a message from Anna, “Going to drinks at 4.” All I wanted was to get out of the house.
I got the “all clear”, the plumbers finally left, I jumped in the shower, and I was on my way, arriving at about 4:30-ish. Anna’s colleagues are really nice people, but they couldn’t all make it last night and one of them is a dad, so he wasn’t able to stick around late, thus, I only ended up joining them for one drink.
Once we were done at the Bar Room, Anna and I went for a walk through Central Park, did a bit of shopping and then went for a great dinner at a restaurant whose name I can’t recall.
After dinner we started bar hopping, starting off at an old-school type place where the barmen wore suspenders and they showed old Charlie Chaplin films on the screens. Anna had had a pretty tiring week, but she thought she might wake up a bit if we went somewhere a bit more lively. Normally, we tend to avoid Irish bars, but we passed one that looked like it might be worth trying so we pulled up a stool, grabbed a drink and started chatting, but Anna was fading…
Rewind to a couple of days ago and a mate of mine from Singapore, Jaspal Singh, a barber at my tattoo store, Hounds of the Baskervilles, told me he was going to be in town this weekend. He was in Chicago at the time for a punk festival and posted photos of Rancid playing. I used to love Rancid when I was a teenager many moons ago so I got a little nostalgic and somewhat envious, thinking how cool it would be to get to see them. The plan was to catch up with Jaspal tonight, Saturday, so I had a few questions for him.
Back to last night, sitting in the Irish bar with Anna. It was 9:15pm and she was thinking how nice it would be to curl up in front of the TV with a rom-com. Not my ideal Friday night, but I might have to take one for the team. As we were discussing this, the two vacant stools next to us were taken by a couple, the male of whom was wearing a crisp-looking Rancid t-shirt. I asked if he went to see them in Chicago, his response, “No, but we’re going to catch them in about half an hour.” It turned out they were playing at Terminal 5, a dingy live music venue that resembles a meat-packing factory about a 10-minute walk away. The tickets were about US$30, but the show was sold out and had somehow slipped my radar. Anna told me I should try to go, she would catch a taxi home, but I should just be more wary of scalpers this time. Why? Because, if you read this blog regularly you would be aware of what happened last time I purchased tickets from a scalper.
I walked to the venue and was immediately met by a middle-aged, African-American guy trying to sell me tickets, not really Rancid’s demographic, so I was hesitant. I asked the security guards if there were tickets on the door, but they told me there was nothing left. Having learnt my lesson last time, I told the scalper that if he came and got the ticket scanned with me and it worked, I’d give him US$35. He gave me the ticket, told me to get it scanned and come back out with the money, a pretty trusting guy. The security guard said “That’s legit!”, slapped a wrist band on me and told me to enter. I gave the scalper US$40 and was on my way.
At first I thought the support act was still playing for two reasons:
- I haven’t heard any of Rancid’s new stuff
- Their frontman, Tim Armstrong, had grown an enormous beard.
The guy to the left of stage, however, looked like a fatter Lars Frederiksen and then the band burst into the song The 11th Hour. Yup, that’s Rancid, alright!
It was an incredible show, here’s a taste (it’s a little jerky due to people slamming into me):
- Maxwell Murder
- Roots Radicals
- Journey to the End of the East Bay
- The 11th Hour
- Junkie Man
- Last One to Die
- East Bay Night
- Dead Bodies
- Daly City Train
- I Wanna Riot
- Listed M.I.A.
- Black & Blue
- Disorder and Disarray
- Lock, Step & Gone
- It’s Quite Alright
- St. Mary
- Olympia, WA.
- Time Bomb
- Honor is All We Know
- Fall Back Down
- Avenues & Alleyways
- The Way I Feel
- Ruby Soho
Comment of the Night
I can’t say I was planning to go to a gig last night so I was just wearing my Maury “You ARE the father” t-shirt yesterday. There were tons of ancient, old-school punks at the gig, one of whom came up, gave me a big slap on the back, and said, “That’s the most f___ing punk rock shirt I’ve ever seen!”
Finally, validation among my peers and a show that was infinitely better than any romantic-comedy could ever be.