Saturday, February 20, 2021

Concerts Fails top 10: shows I was "this close" to seeing, and didn't, for some dumb reason or other

This is really the sort of thing that people usually share on Facebook, but I don't want to just chuck it into an ephemeral void, where it is forgotten within a day or two. Been thinking about times I missed a concert that I was *actually at* (or at least had tickets for) - mostly because I left early, being too snobbish or indifferent or messed up or distracted or... It's not enough to just list the concerts I could have gone to, but didn't - it's worse than that, because in most cases, I was actually there in some capacity, for part of the night. In the order they occur to me:

1. Butthole Surfers, Lollapalooza, 1991. I hadn’t slept and had foolishly taken, uh, something that I hoped would wake me up. It didn’t, but it did give me stomach cramps. By the time the Butts got on, I was trying desperately to sleep, lying on the damp grass under the merch table tent. You can see the tent from the stage, it turns out, in the background of this video clip. I remember that I could dimly hear “Human Cannonball” and remember thinking, at the time, “I will regret this at some point in the future, but…” Note: this was my one previous association with Enumclaw before that whole horsefucking story broke. 

There's a bit more to the story than that - like, I did have a memorable experience of Body Count that day - but I will tell it in more detail in a forthcoming Paul Leary interview.

2. The Pretenders. I didn’t trust that the Pretenders were cool enough to justify my actually kinda liking them, so in my cowardice, I left the concert of theirs I was at, which I’d only gone to to see Iggy Pop, who opened (on the Blah Blah Blah tour, but still fun!). I bonded with punks who were leaving at the same time I did on some "fuck the Pretenders! Iggy!" sentiments. Facepalm now. And I think it was their Learning to Crawl tour, too. I like that album a lot...

3. The Beastie Boys, the P-Funk All-Stars, and (though it doesn't really count) Guided by Voices, Lollapalooza Cloverdale, 1994. I had volunteered to help a friend who ran a bookstore sell New-Agey knickknacks at a merch tent, and though she probably would have let me take longer breaks, I got in free, and I felt like I had responsibilities (and was enjoying hanging out with her), so I missed almost the whole thing. I did make time to see Nick Cave, but it was a short set, ending when some jackass in the audience hit Cave with a shoe (or something?) during “Your Funeral, My Trial.” I also peeked at the P-Funk All-Stars (but should have stayed for the whole thing) and Shonen Knife (who didn’t really grab me as a live band). And I didn’t bother at all with the Beastie Boys, not even a peek for “Sabotage.” I can’t really regret missing Guided by Voices because at that point I had no idea who they were.

No regrets on not seeing Green Day, though (listings I see don't mention them but I am sure they played). 

4. Rush. I went to Rush in the early 1990’s at the insistence of friends, and sat through the whole show, just not caring, even making a show of being indifferent. I am still not a Rush fan, but I shoulda tried to care more. 

5. Whoever opened for the Kinks when I saw the Kinks in the mid-80’s at the Pacific Coliseum. I saw this show, but have no memory of the opening act. Depending on which exact Kinks show it was, it would have been Angel City (now better known to me as The Angels: one of my favourite rock bands ever), or The Blasters, who I also love now (less than the Angels, and I have gotten to see Phil and Dave – Dave a few times - but still, but still). Did I arrive late? I knew who Angel City was – could I somehow have not realized they were the openers? Did I read that the Blasters were a rockabilly band and raise my nose? (...rockabilly not being punk rock enough, or such?). I have no recollection, but SOMEONE opened. I do remember Ray Davies spritzing the audience from beer bottles held in both hands and shaken, at the start of “Low Budget,” so there’s that.

Note: it occurs to me that it is possible that the opening act that day was Canadian metal band Kickaxe, who are a very odd fit for a bill with the Kinks, but I can find no evidence of Kickaxe opening for the Kinks, ever. I know I saw them once - maybe opening for a different Coliseum show? I went to a few back in the 80's - Maiden, Priest, others...

6. Fuel Injected 45! Ani Kyd is a very cool, very nice person, and I enjoy Fuel Injected 45’s album a bunch, but I arrived too late when they played before DOA and Jello and the Melvins at the Croatian. I blame a former friend for this, who dragged his feet about going.

7. Melvins, Commodore, around the tour of “A Senile Animal.” I gave away a ticket to a dude on the street so I could jam with same (former) friend, during a rare attempt to sorta play music (I am best suited for the bass, but totally incompetent at the drums. I can’t keep the simplest beat). I mean, jamming was fun, and a pretty rare experience for me, that woulda been a great Melvins concert to see. 

And though I wasn’t actually at the show (or have a ticket), I really, really shoulda gone to see the Melvins at the Venue, that time they toured their cover of the Wipers’ “Youth of America.” I’d give a tooth to have seen them do that live (maybe Buzzo could punch me for that article I wrote?). I have seen the Melvins a few times, but Jello show aside, they were all actually in the late 80's or early 1990’s (one lineup had a female on bass, whose name, alas, I am too lazy to research, but… that was the best lineup of the three shows I saw.) I think that Ozma was brand new when I first saw them, or maybe a year or so old...? I wasn't a huge fan of Ozma (I did like "At a Crawl"), but I thought they were pretty great, live; wish my memories were clearer.

8. Tool. I was a snob about Tool, back when they were in their peak Undertow/ Aenima days, and not knowing that I would ever care later, skipped an amazing chance to see at least part of a set of theirs, around 2000 or 2001, when they played Fuji Rock Festival in Japan. As recently as that show, I was kind of a judgmental, snobbish, ignorant dick about things that I thought of as “metal,” and had been so for a long while, I’m afraid, loooong after the crossover happened. It wasn't until the mid-2000's that I dipped my toe in the metal I'd been ignoring and discovered that some amazingly creative stuff had happened. But I do have one mitigating excuse for missing Tool: that year at the Fuji Rock Festival, Tool and Brian Eno were playing at around the same time, in different areas of the mountain we were on, I guess because festival programmers figured that the audiences for each band were going to be different enough no one would have too hard a choice. I sure didn’t, and I am in awe that I can say I saw Brian Eno perform live (he sang “No One Receiving”). But the thing is: if I had run back and forth a little down the trails between concert sites, I could have probably seen all of Eno's set and at least half an hour’s worth of Tool as well. I just didn’t want the stress or the exercise; I just wanted to enjoy Eno time. Which was, indeed, amazing, I danced beside a old Japanese hippie, as blown away as I was to be seeing Eno live, and chatted with him a bit. I cheered as loud as anyone that Eno gave a little speech in Japanese, and while he played - mostly instrumental songs that would mostly later be worked into the album Drawn from Life, which required live expression to develop - I visualized myself, dancing in the dust, as a happy sperm, wriggling my way up a tunnel towards a light, where ecstatic explosions awaited. I never got there – I can’t say that Eno gave me an orgasm, sadly – but I enjoyed being the wriggling sperm. 

It'd still have been kinda cool to have seen Tool. I am still kind of a snob about them, I think – just read some Mark Prindle reviews on the band and you will come close to my opinions, though I do think that “Arizona Bay” song is awesome.

Note: I also skipped Oasis, that same festival, so I could take a nap, but I don’t really regret it. On the other hand, I did get to see Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Patti Smith, System of a Down, Dry & Heavy (I was there when the bassist quit - I forget if he was Dry or Heavy, but I remember that the band and audience were all shocked, an audible mass gasp rising to the heavens)... and, like I say, I saw Brian Eno. There were other bands I saw that I cared less about, too - Houthouse Flowers, Stereophonics... While I guess it is a minor bragging-rights thing to have seen them so early on, I actually flipped Tegan and Sara the bird as I left their concert, offended by their stage snobbery about people who were camping, forget which one did it, but they actually made fun of us! I mean, I mean, fuck y’all, Tegan and Sara! Really! I paid a lot to camp there, and the money I paid helped pay for your fancy fuckin’ hotel room! Don't make fun of us, for fucksake: Do you know how fucking cold the showers were, fed straight from streams of fucking Japanese ski-resort-mountain water (Mount Naeba, not Fuji – it got moved)? YEAH I BET YOUR SHOWERS WERE BETTER THAN MINE! Grrr! 

Note: Japanese young men scream and cuss far less than we whitefolks do when forced to shower in ice-cold mountain water. They are fucking STOIC motherfuckers, man. The screams and cusses? Whitefolk, blackfolk, whomever, but NOT JAPANESE. It was almost interesting enough, being privileged to observe this, to make up for how fucking cold the water was (I screamed; I cursed). 

9. The Adicts at the Rickshaw a couple of years ago. I was really tired, had slept poorly and worked all day, but I forced myself to go to the Rickshaw, hoping I could stay. I saw the first few songs, and it was a magnificent opening number indeed, Monkey in elaborate costume, spreading his wings over the pit. I think I got to hear a couple other tunes, too - like "Joker in the Pack" -  and I could tell it would be one of these incredibly good, theatrical, very fun shows that everyone present for would remember for years. It made me wonder why people don't talk about the Adicts more. But I was too tired, and went home, and was fast asleep long before they would have gotten off stage.

I also gave away tickets for Nick Lowe, last time he was in town, also because I was just too tired, but I never actually made it to the venue, in that case. I don't think the guy I gave the tickets to went, either. 

10.  Bishops Green, when they opened for the Meatmen. I could have had a couple of extra years' Bishops Green fandom if I'd seen that set. I didn't get into them for a quite awhile after that night, because that night, I was outside the Fortune Sound Club waiting on the sidewalk, getting smoked up by the Golers, talking about the lost recordings of East Van Halen with Mike Stand, and texting a friend who I thought I was meeting at the club. She was very drunk and never showed, and I was too wrecked to know to give up. Woulda loved to have seen that set. I did catch the other openers, and I got to meet Dave Gregg that night, the one-and-only-time, thanks to bev davies... and I got a Touch & Go book signed by Tesco, who I interviewed... but still...

Those are the main ones I regret, that I wish I could time-travel back to and do a better job of now, but I also want to add an honourable mention - not in the main list because I wasn't actually at the show in question, but could have been so easily: the Crucifucks. I saw the Dead Kennedys on the Fall of Canada tour around 1985 at the York Theatre - my first-ever punk gig - so I was actually at this show – but would discover years later that I had gone, kinda, on the wrong night. I could have, should have seen both nights, or, uh, gone the night after the one I was at, and I probably would have, if only I had realized how great the Crucifucks were (and how unlikely it was I would have another chance to see them). I would later become a much bigger fan of the Crucifucks than I am (sorry) of I, Braineater, House of Commons, or the Bill of Rights, for instance, who opened the night I did go. I am totally happy I saw I, Braineater, House of Commons, and the Bill of Rights, mind you. I just, you know… I mean, listen to Doc Corbin Dart, under the name of 26, sing “Animals,” for example. I coulda seen this guy! I actually was offended, maybe even frightened, by the Crucifucks name. D'oh!

Wednesday, February 03, 2021


Spent Monday night with repeated bouts of vomiting and diarrhea, which kept me from sleeping... had an exhausted Tuesday off work, recovering. Reading about gastrointestinal variants of COVID-19 - they exist - but I do seem to be on the mend, which makes me think this is more likely to have been food poisoning; it seems too extreme for the keto flu. Between keeping keto and not wanting food in the first place - and losing all my fluids - I should experience some short term weight loss, at least!  

Anyhow, it's not interesting. I'll write when I have something interesting.