Where to begin... um... ok, it was at the Crowbar in State College, PA aka Penn State University (second time ever in town, first time was to see Counting Crows and Dog's Eye View). I had originally thought they were headlining, but they were playing with Brownie Mary who are from Pittsburgh, and are more "known" in the area, so they opened. (but in other places like DC and NY, (e:) headlines and Brownie Mary opens... its a nice lil system. hehe) So... I called ahead to see what time, and first the guy said they would be going on "no later than 10:30". What does that mean? So I called the next day and they said "around 9:30". Ok... thats better. I got there right at 9:30 almost exactly and rushed in... but what time do they go on? Just after 10. Of course. :-)
Anyway... to set the stage - I went by myself. I had a couple people tell me they might go, after trying to find someone to come with me, but neither decided they wanted to go... and I just don't know all that many people I would feel comfortable enough taking with me! So I just went solo. Thankfully my car made it ok. But... of course, literally 2 hours before I was to leave, its starts raining. HARD. But its only about a 75 minute drive. Anyway... so I'm off!
The Crowbar is a little bitty place, with about 3 different "levels". You walk in and there is the lounge, where there is a bar (it wasn't open that night, though - the show was 'all ages'.) Couches, a pool table, etc. Then there is a 3 step up into another room where the stage and dance floor are. And then elevated up from that (but not that high) are tables and such where you can get drinks if you want em. I didn't even see that part until I went onto the floor - I stayed at the lounge just chillin' until (e:) went on... then I got on the floor and just leaned against the back railing. It was the very back of the floor but still only maybe 15 feet from the stage. REALLY small! It's strangley shaped, also.. .kinda like a big pentagon or something. heh. Anyway... the stage is really small too, and all them (e:) boys barely fit up there! (more on that later...) They get introduced... and here they come!
First of all, I notice they are all (well, mostly) wearing like these button shirts with collars! Whoa... and everybody (except Wolfe) has fairly short hair (Nate is still shaven). They look like a bunch of preppies... hehe... not really, but definitely not like a jammin band. Ah well, no problem with it, just interesting.
The second thing I notice is that Craig isn't playing his guitar... now, this seemed really weird to me. Whenever I had thought of what they might look like on stage, and all the pictures I'd seen - Craig had his guitar. I just always imagined that he played rhythm guitar on all the songs, and Rich and Steve came in when they needed a second... nope! In the set they played that night, Craig only played on maybe half of them. And when he did, a lot of the time he wouldnt play much, just a chord or two and then sing and then maybe another couple chords... it was weird to me! Steve plays the majority of the guitar stuff. and when he plays sax or whatever, then Craig usually does. But then Rich also did at least on one song... its all confusing man! :-)
And all the talk I had heard about how Craig was "annoying" or whatever... I didn't see it hardly at all. Sure, he is kind of a "showman" but he wasn't showBOATING, really. (That's what Devon said once...) Actually, Craig is the kind of singer who really gets into what he's singing. I think for the majority of the show, when he was singing he had his eyes closed tight. (As did Rich and Steve a lot, too). Craig tends to "sway" a little.. .hehe.. He kind of rocks back and forth when he's singing...ha!
Rich - he seemed like the ultimate "cool guy" - ya know, never really smiling a lot, just being the chill man. Whenever he would sing back up or whatever, he would put his hand up to his ear (ya know like on his ear piece, I think he had one) and close his eyes and just sing. Kinda funny. :-) He also had to play sax kinda turned into the crowd a bit, that is - he wasn't facing outward, directly - he was angled. (I think partly due to the small stage) but he would always have his eyes shut when saxin'.
Steve, on the other hand, is the funny guy. He was laughin, smilin, gettin' funky... having a good ol' time. He and Dave the bass man would kinda go at it like Dave and Boyd might, just jammin' away.
Dave - other than that (jammin' with Steve) I didn't really catch any particular vibe from him. He was definitely having a good time, though, and his little bass solo thang in I Dont Care was neat-o.
Wolfe - wow, he looked like a freak! Just his hair.. it was really long and flat and striaght and hung down straight into his round little pudgy face! hahahaha I sound so cruel! But the only pic I saw of him was on the official page on his bio, and he had a crew cut or something. He looks really different, and a lot stranger than the rest of them, probably due to their own short-haired-ness. :-) He had to play keys almost directly behind Rich, and it was hard to see him. He would bring the trombone out to the front of the stage when he was playing that, and that was cool. He seemed pretty into it... he was singing along a little bit, even when he wasn't mic-ed.
Nate - I didnt see Nate's face at all! He was right behind Craig, and his set was NOT on any kind of riser or anything. It was at stage level and I barely saw a lick of him, even when he was singing lead. He had on a long sleeve shirt, I remember that... cuz I hate playing drums with long sleeves. hehe. He's hardcore! He sang well, though.
Ok... the songs... Here's exactly what I wrote down when I was trying to keep track of the setlist, hehe.. can you tell what's what?
hehe.. anyway... ok.
The sax jam... I dig the grooviness of this tune, and I didn't realize it had a new name until I heard the lyrics and recognized them from the title of the song on the new album's track list. But its still the jammy jam. It was pretty groovy... the sound was mixed well and I was beboppin'.
Hooch - sweet song, I like this one. I hadn't heard the entire song, just a bit from one of the shows I have. I dig it, I think it has radio potential.. maybe we'll see it on MtV - wouldnt that be a trip! :-)
LBug... yeah, it is catchy! heh. I dont remember much else about it though... kinda mellow.
Be Gone - I like this tune a lot, and it didn't disappoint. I just wish I could see Nate when he was singing it! heh.
Everyday syndrome... rok rok rok... another kicker. Seemed a little flat though. Nothing too spectacular... I think they've played it a few times. heh. ;-)
All's Quiet... cool. It was good, but pretty standard as far as I could tell.
I Dont Care - frankly, I dont really care for this song, but it was ok. They didnt really seem too thrilled to be playing it.
Brawl Song... I dig this one and it was pretty good. They had Nate's vocals turned up a bit loud and when he did the "so bring your clothes girl, stick around!!!!" part he nearly blew the roof off! hehe!
The Real - this was cool, and like I said earlier I had no idea what the hell it was until I checked the lyrics out. Kinda mellow groovy kinda song.
Super Natural... Wow!!! This song is the jam. It really rocked, I love this one. Cool gee-tar parts.
Revolution. Whoa. Not expecting this one at all, but I like the way they play it. Interesting. He introduced it like he was gonna play Soulfish or something... I think he dedicated it to a guy who kept yelling for requests. hmmm...
Spent - oh yeah... jam jam jam. They knocked the shit out of this one. Perhaps my fave (e:) song and it was all that! It seemed like they were just getting warmed up (first part of the show was a bit flat) and then... that was it. They had to go. Booo! heheh :-)
The crowd... it was packed up on the 3rd level where the tables were, but I dunno how many people that was. The dance floor had some people when they started and was fairly packed when they were finishing up, so they had a decent crowd for as small as it is. This one guy started talking to me about them.. apparently I looked like I had a clue cuz I was singing along or whatever, and into the 3rd song he started asking me about them, like if I had ever heard them before, and about their CD's and this and that... he kept on saying "they kick ass man!" hehehe.. so they won over some of the crowd. :-) Of course a lot of the people there just kinda chilled and chatted while they were playing, but they always seemed to get good applause after songs.
There was also this one kid who looked like he was 15, who was dancing up a storm, I mean... all over the floor, just doing his own thing. He has some cojones! ha! He was groovin' to his own drummer, just a bit though.. heh. Craig saw him and said something like "how about this guy! he's got more energy then all of the rest of y'all put together!" which was kind of a crack, but definitely true! ;-)
Anyway... so they got done and I went down to where the merchandise was, and sat down directly in front of it. (It was behind the bar.) I checked out the shirts and signed the mailing list and stashed some stickers and postcards, but the t-shirt guy wasn't there (Pete, right?) So I just hung out... and I'm sitting there and who comes up right to me, but Mr. Stephen Van Dam himself! He was relying HEAVILY on his cane... he stood throughout the show, but he was really limping trying to walk. He walked straight up to me with this big smile on his face. I said something like "how's the leg?" and he just kinda laughed and said "oh its alright". So being the idiot that I am, I say "where's the t-shirt guy?" And he says "oh, its me actually..." And he asked me if I had correct change cuz he didnt have any, but he had to go get the keys to the cases that had the shirts in them. So I told him I did have the right change, and he said "cool - I'll be right back" and went to get the keys. It took him maybe 4 minutes, not much longer, and I saw him stop and chat with a person or two in the crowd on his way back to the shirts, but he says "I'm sorry it took me so long" when he got back. What a guy! heh! So he got into the stuff and found my shirt and took muh money.. and thanked me again. (I think I had said "great show" to him earlier) and then he asked me if I had signed up for the mailing list... of course! "ok, great" I think he said.. then I told him "I hope your new record does well" and he said thanks and I was on my way. :-) (incidentally, the rain had stopped when I got back outside!)
That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
I didn't stay around for Brownie Mary cuz it was a school night and already 11:30 by this point! The lead singer is a girl also, not that there is anything bad about that, but I generally don't like Rock bands with girl singers. Heh. But I want to hear them some day.. and I will, and I will be happy to admit that I am a doofus if they rock the house.
Peace - Chris