Lenny Bruce – Asian Female Style

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Title: Ali Wong

First of all, let me start with an old man rant. A comedy show at a large venue like this usually has an opening act that lasts about twenty minutes and then a headliner that lasts about an hour. Therefore the entire show is about ninety minutes.

This was at The Moore Theatre. It’s not a huge theater, but it is a good size. About 7:05, about five minutes late, the opener is introduced. For a good fifteen minutes after, many people were still streaming in. The theater is dark, so the ushers, with little flashlights, were ushering people to their chairs. Nonstop. For fifteen minutes.

I basically got nothing out of the opening act because people were streaming constantly in front of me for all but about the last five minutes of the act.

First of all, how hard is it to show up on time for an event? Granted, it’s easy for me. It’s a ten minute walk. However, I didn’t always live here. For shows, I used to come in from the ‘burbs. If I drove in, then like a normal human being, I factored in the time to drive in (including the possibility that traffic might suck), factored in time to find a parking spot, factored in time to walk, and throw in a buffer on top of that. It’s not hard. Yes, you might show up early, in which case, walk in and get yourself a drink and relax. Or go to a local bar.

Speaking of which, many of the people coming in had drinks in their hands. In other words, they considered it more important to get a drink than to come in ten minutes late to a ninety minute show. Hey, maybe you can drink before the show or after ? Are you such an alcoholic that you can’t sit through an entire performance without alcohol?

The Moore Theatre clearly has some responsibility here. They need to shut down the bar once the opening act is close. I know that that is lost revenue for them, but it’s annoying as hell for the people that actually have sat down.

And, now for the final old man rant, it’s not as if these were like $5 tickets. I paid somewhere around $50 for it. If I’m paying that much, I don’t want to miss the first fifteen percent of it so that people can get their watered down whiskey and Coke.

I’m ranting because this is the second time in about a month that this has happened. Pretty much the identical situation went down with Sarah Silverman at the Paramount.

OK, whew. No more old man ranting. Onto the show.

First of all, I can’t comment on the opening act since I missed so much of it. #angryShakeOfFist.

I’d first heard of Ali Wong on a Marc Maron WTF interview. She did a great one, which piqued my curiosity. I poked around and found her Netflix special (Baby Cobra). It was wild and unpredictable. If you haven’t seen it, it really is awesome. It’s convention busting. Picture a five foot tall, seven month pregnant, Asian woman telling absolutely filthy jokes.

When I saw that she was coming to town, I had to see her live.

And it was amazing.

She is the rawest comic that I’ve ever seen. Absolutely nothing is off limits. If there’s a body function that you are in anyway shape or form squeamish about, she will talk about it and take it up to eleven.

Here are things that she talked about:

  • Being in labor for thirty-two hours and then having a C-section
  • What a woman’s vagina looks like after giving birth
  • Comparing being a stay at home mom to a prison isolation cell
  • Lactating with breasts that shoots out milk in every direction like a Bellagio fountain
  • Bringing in a lactating specialist and the crazy breast exercises that they make you do
  • Somehow moving on from lactating to shitting into her husband’s mouth
  • Having sex while menstruating
  • Her one and only experience with a micro-penis

And it’s not just shock value. She is legitimately hilarious. Although her topics are crude, her comments are trenchant.

She is not overtly political. I don’t think she mentioned Trump once. All of her jokes were personal experiences that became universal by her telling of them.

However, there is no doubt a strong political element to her act. She is clearly an ardent feminist. She is the embodiment of a Social Justice Warrior.

She strongly advocates for maternity leave. She angrily rejects the double standard that rewards fathers for the little things while ignores the huge things that a mother does daily. She makes a mockery of the demure Asian female stereotype.

I remember there was a time when comics openly scoffed at the idea of female comics. They’re not tough enough. They can’t handle the road. They’re not funny. Similarly, they mocked Asian comics. No one can relate to them. They’re not funny.

Ali Wong kicks the shit out of those stereotypes, and she does it on her terms. She tells jokes that not a single male or non-Asian could tell, and the audience, which as usual at Seattle comedy shows, has a strong white male contingent, was roaring, if at times somewhat uncomfortably. She also drew a significant Asian and female crowd, who cheered her on. She sold out all four shows at The Moore. She owned the audience from the moment she stepped onto the stage.

This was a professional at the top of her game.

 

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Rockin’ Around the Clock – Until 11 PM

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Title: Rockabilly Riot

The Rockabilly Riot was at El Corazon. My ticket cost me $15 and there were ten bands on the bill. Considering the fact that one of them, the Legendary Shack Shakers, is a band of some renown, I’m guessing that the lower billed bands might have been playing for free beer or something.

El Corazon has two stages: its own stage and The Funhouse stage. The lesser bands were on the much smaller Funhouse stage while the bigger bands were on the main. For the purpose of efficiency, they alternated. Once one stage completed, the next stage would start up immediately.

I didn’t listen to all ten bands because I’m old. I’m guessing that the headliner, the Shack Shakers, probably would have taken the main stage somewhere around one in the morning. That was not going to happen with me.

I caught pieces of four of them. I came in as the Stoned Evergreen Travelers were just getting started in the Funhouse. This was a band out of Tacoma. The person playing the stand-up bass was a woman. There was a woman playing the fiddle. The lead guitar / vocalist was a man sporting a serious ZZ Top grade beard. They went on stage and just rocked out. Being somewhat lower on the bill on the smaller stage, they might have been playing for free beer, but they sure had a good time doing it.

Next on the El Corazon stage was Redneck Girlfriend. Right away, you can tell the difference between bands playing on the main stage compared to the smaller stage. The bands on the El Corazon stage were just generally tighter, more confident, and had better stage presence. Clearly, these bands have been touring for a while and know how to put on a show. While nothing outstanding, Redneck Girlfriend put on a solid rockabilly set.

Just like with the Skatoberfest concerts that I go to, you figure out pretty quickly that a significant percentage of the people in the audience are either in one of the bands or are staunch supporters of one of the bands. As Redneck Girlfriend was finishing up, a woman that just happened to be standing next to me turned to her friend and said that she should finish her drink because she’s up next.

Sure enough, after Redneck Girlfriend finished up, I walk back to The Funhouse and there she was on stage. She was Marieke of Marieke and the Go Get Em Boys. Before the show, I’d went to their Facebook page and there they announced that this was their last show. On stage, she slightly softened that statement by saying that it might be their last show.

I hope they reconsider. They truly had an interesting sound. Marieke was on vocals and her style was somewhat reminiscent of Hillbilly Moon Explosion, a band whose sound I really enjoy. However, Marieke has a slightly nasty punk sound to her voice that adds another layer to the sound. Rockabilly can start to sound the same (especially when 10 bands are on the bill!), but this band’s sound really stood out as something unique.

For pure entertainment quality, you can’t touch The Delta Bombers. They were just an incredibly tight band. The drummer and bass were absolutely rock solid, driving the band forward at all times.

The lead singer had a great presence. The lead guitarist was cooking. The audience was dancing and slamming. Several members of the Shack Shakers came out to watch them, which in itself I would think is a pretty good statement.

I poked around a bit at the next act, but I felt so good after watching The Delta Bombers that I decided to head out.

It was a great night out, lots of fun, all kinds of people of all ages politely crowding each other with absolutely no problems. It was a good time for all.

 

We’re All Fucked, So Let’s Dance!

Title: Anti-Flag, Reel Big Fish

I saw Reel Big Fish and Anti-Flag at the Showbox last night.

There were a couple of openers, but I wasn’t all that interested in them. I managed to walk in just about when Anti-Flag took the stage.

Anti-Flag is a hard-core punk band that’s been around for twenty years. They are a high energy band raging against government. Their first albums were released in the 1990’s. If they were angry about the Clinton administration, then you can imagine how they feel about Trump.

Between songs, they were aggressively advocating for immigrant rights and attacking Trump, encouraging everyone to take to the streets to protest.

Paying money to be preached to / ranted at (even if you agree with them philosophically) might have gotten a little tedious but, in all honesty, they rocked the house. Musically, they are a tight, hard driving, raucous act that had the audience dancing, jumping, and screaming.

Amusingly enough, from a distance, the drummer to me actually looked like Bill Clinton. I’m not talking about the current, skinny, vegan version of Clinton today but the mid-90s portly, ebullient Clinton. The key to any hard driving band is its rhythm section, and seeing Clinton in the back just furiously beating on the drums with what looked (again, from a distance) a very smug Clintonian smile on his face made me smile as well.

One highlight was when the singer introduced the song that got them into punk rock and then they played an intense version of The Clash’s Should I Stay Or Should I Go. Another highlight was when the bassist and the drummer set up in the audience and played a song from there.

I didn’t have a whole lot of expectations for Anti-Flag and they certainly far exceeded those. They were pretty awesome live.

Now I was a little concerned. After firing up the crowd on punk and politics, how was Reel Big Fish going to fare?  They are not political and they play goofy, happy-go-lucky ska.

No need to worry.

 

They came on and played a couple of quick songs to warm the crowd up. They then announced that since it was 20 years since the release of their major album, Turn The Radio Off, that they were going to play the album in order.

On the one hand, it’s a cool idea. This was the album that first turned me on to Reel Big Fish. I listened to it several times, so I was going to be pretty familiar with all of the songs.

On the other hand, I always think it’s an interesting choice for an artist to make. I had a similar thought when I saw X perform front to back the album Los Angeles on the thirtieth anniversary of its release.

How does an artist feel completely reliving music that was generated decades ago? Is it somehow comforting / reassuring that your work has stood the test of time? Does it make you wonder if the ensuing decades of artistic work has been a waste? Are you left feeling that you are so far from your prime that you have to mine your youth for inspiration? Or are you at the point in your career where, fuck it, I have a mortgage payment to make and if this is what the monkeys want to hear, here it is and go fuck yourselves?

To go off another tangent, whenever he performed, it was written in Chuck Berry’s contract that he’d perform for 46 minutes (or some such specific number).  My brother went, and sure enough, at the 46 minute mark he was finished, unplugged, and walking off of the stage. His act was timed so precisely that for decades he played the same precise set. At the end of the day, it was just a job to him.

Be that as it may, Reel Big Fish rocked it. It was a totally different vibe than Anti-Flag. They were happy, colorfully dressed, pogo’ing, making fun of each other. Their enthusiasm was infectious, as most of the crowd was also pogo’ing. Even though it was tight quarters, many people were skanking.

I guess this show shouldn’t have been a surprise to me. For a band with limited commercial appeal to survive twenty or more years implies that they must have a rock solid live performance.

And for both Anti-Flag and Reel Big Fish, this was certainly true. Although in the same show you ended up with two dramatically different vibes (in the first half you were raging at the man and the second half you were gleefully dancing), at the end of the night what you remember is how much fun you had.

A Night Of Genteel Comedy

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Title: Sarah Silverman

I saw Sarah Silverman at the Paramount Theatre. The show started close to 30 minutes late. This was very likely caused by long lines that were a result of burly security men having to wand us and check all bags. Apparently Silverman has been getting threats. Given the political climate that we live in and the ruthlessness with which she attacks it on her Twitter feed, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised.

It was a pretty entertaining night. Her delivery was at times awkward. Sometimes the pacing flagged. She came onstage equipped with a lot of notes that she referred to regularly. There were parts that didn’t really fit together. The segues between jokes was often abrupt.

So, it’s pretty clear that she was working through new material. She certainly had an hours worth (probably more). We were watching the process of her trying to form her bits of material into a cohesive act. She was open about it. I’m guessing that by the end of this leg of her tour, she will have it honed down enough such that it’ll be ready for an hour long special.

Despite the occasional awkwardness, it was a very much Sarah Silverman performance. She has an honest, open personae from which she spews forth outrageous comments.

She had bits about:

  • The pain of laser removal
  • Growing up, her dad giving her a dirty joke book to overcome her bedwetting awkwardness at an overnight camp
  • A rape joke about her sister (seriously!)
  • How important 9/11 is to childless people
  • Children in movies and child molesters
  • A hated nun’s menstruation flow
  • Shaking hands with a woman with a hook
  • The male equivalent to an pre-abortion ultrasound
  • God cumming in the mouth of a Christian man (tied it back to Abraham’s command to sacrifice his only son, Isaac)

Clearly she’s an experienced, expert comedian. Even with the awkwardness, she delivered her routine with great timing and humor for an overall enjoyable night.

Another Dose of Ska Relief

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Title: Skatoberfest

Venue: Highline

I hadn’t gone to a concert for a long time, so I felt I was due. The Highline was hosting another ska festival, which I pretty much always love, so off I went. I always find it hilarious that the cover charge is $7, the club holds maybe a couple of hundred people, there are six bands, and the average ska band has about eight members.  No one is getting rich tonight!

I missed the first act and came in when Curtis Irie was playing. I had some hopes because Irie (the word) is Jamaican patois after all, but no, it was a one white guy playing an acoustic guitar and a harmonica. He clearly is a talented musician, capably playing both melody and bass lines simultaneously on the guitar (maybe that’s easy to do, but it always blows my mind when someone does it). However, despite his last name, he is way more Bob Dylan than he is Bob Marley. Some of his songs had ska like influences, but it was pretty folk and in at least one song, was outright blues. A good musician, but probably did not belong on the bill.

Next up was Heavy City. This was much more what I expected.  There were eight people on stage (two guitars, one bass, two saxes, a drummer, and a female lead singer). With that many people, the members were barely able to move on the stage.

They played much more traditional ska music.  They certainly had a signature sound. That’s basically a polite way of saying that their original compositions actually all kind of sounded alike. Where they got creative, interesting enough, was in their covers. They did a cover of an Ike and Tina song and an old Spinners song that was interesting when interpreted within the prism of their own sound.

Finally, they managed to step upon a pet peeve of mine. One song featured a flute. There is just no place for a flute in any rock oriented band, especially one that plays several other loud instruments. In the ska context, a flute just sounds like some little wispy voice trying to make itself heard against an ocean roar. Yes, I know about Jethro Tull, but no more flute!

The other band that I listened to was Natalie Wouldn’t. This was another band with a very traditional ska lineup (Trumpet, trombone, two saxes, a drummer, a bass, and two guitars). This group was clearly heads and shoulders tighter than the previous two acts. This was in your face, fun, get up and start skanking kind of music. And people did. For really the first time that night, the dance floor was shaking and I saw the sheer joy that ska inspires.

Interestingly enough, except for the female lead, every other person on stage for the three bands that I saw were white males. A huge percentage of them were either white males in hats or bald white males. It seemed like the average age of the band members was 35 to 45, which might make sense if you think of third wave ska as cresting in the mid 90’s. These are middle aged men with day jobs that are reliving the favorite music of their young adulthood.

Regardless, as always, I left the concert smiling.  No one is allowed to be down at a ska concert!

 

A Sport I’m in Training For

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I wasn’t sure how to categorize this.  I guess it was a concert, kind of…?

Be that as it may, about a month ago, I saw a playbill posted on a telephone pole advertising the Seattle qualifier for the US Air Guitar Championship. This, I had to see.

First of all, for those uninitiated, this is a thing. There are qualifier competitions that feed into regional competitions that feed into a national competition that ultimately feeds into a worldwide competition, held (of course!) in Oulu Finland (and no I’m not making that up).

Part of the US Air Guitar Championship mission statement (again, I’m not making this up) includes the following:

In a time when US political, economic, military and athletic dominance faces unprecedented challenges around the world, it is our belief that air guitar represents one endeavor our country can dominate without controversy. US Air Guitar is here to make this possible.

Part of the World Championships mission statement includes the following:

According to the ideology of the Air Guitar, wars would end, climate change stop and all bad things disappear, if all the people in the world played the Air Guitar.

Man, if only Bernie could figure out a way to integrate his beliefs with air guitar, we might achieve a true utopia.

Back to the actual event…Since the tickets were $7 and it was happening at a place called the Lo-Fi Performance Gallery, I was not expecting much.

South Lake Union used to be a seriously run-down part of Seattle. Paul Allen basically bought it, Amazon moved in, and it’s been Seattle’s finest example of out of control gentrification ever since. However, there are still tiny little pockets where the old character shines through.

The Lo-Fi is definitely a prime exhibit of this. It’s perfectly fine. It has a tiny bar, a couple of video games, an empty room with a small stage, and a balcony overlooking the stage that maybe can seat 20 people.

The first thing that I notice when I walk in is that Ronald McDonald is walking around, although it’s a Ronald McDonald who has probably done a little too much meth and has been homeless for at least a couple of weeks. I later look up and I see him in the balcony, with a woman dressed up like a little girl bouncing up and down in his lap.

It was supposed to start at 8:30. I ended up there around 9.  I didn’t need to worry because the show didn’t start until 10.  By the time 10 rolled around, there might have been, I’m guessing, between 100 to 150 in the crowd.

Where do I start? There were about 10 contestants. They each get to choose a 60 second set of music to choose from. To figure out their order of appearance, they pull numbers out of an empty PBR case. There are three judges. Each judge gives a score between 4.0 and 6.0 (like figure skating, of course!).

Much to my surprise, the dissolute Ronald McDonald is actually one of the judges. He’s apparently a local celebrity on the Seattle Semi-Pro Wrestling circuit (?!). You can find him on youTube rapping the song “Keep Abortion Awesome”. His name is (and, for the last time, I’m not making this up), Ronald McFondle. The woman dressed up as a little girl, of whom I just noticed is also wearing white pancake makeup, is introduced as Diddles the Clown.

The emcee, Tony Tapatio, is an experienced air guitarist himself. He performed at the nationals in 2011 (available on youTube) and was apparently formerly the lead singer of an air band (?!) named Airpocalypse. He’s definitely got the party in the back mullet and possibly missing teeth, but he’s actually hilarious as he ushers contestants on and off the stage. Equally funny, as each judge scores each contestant, they comment (freely), and occasionally, relevantly, about the performance that they just witnessed.

The contestants themselves.

The cream of the crop was Eddie Van Glam (?!), who before his performance apparently swallowed a mouthful of fake blood, which he then spewed into the audience midway through. Eddie is not a small man. Near the end of his act, he does a full front flip, lands heavily on his back (THUD!), and then, on his back, completed his set spinning in circles, jamming away on his air guitar.

A fairly elegantly dressed woman did an awesome Prince tribute. Other performers did AC/DC, Motorhead, and Metallica.

Not the cream of the crop but the most interesting appearance was by a man billed as Oral Sex Robert. He performed without a shirt. He was completely covered in tattoos, front and back, with total black-out sleeves on both forearms. He at one point had worn gages but had removed them and let ear lobes droop. They were now dangling about 6 inches down from his ear. At the bottom of each, he placed a pirate gold earring. I was expecting a stronger performance from him, but alas was rather pedestrian.

Bottom line, it was punk rock entertainment at its finest. This is exactly the kind of thing that you want to see when you pay a $7 cover charge at a dive bar.

I need to start practicing now.

The Happiest Place in the World is…Any Ska Concert

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Show: Seattle Ska Fest

Venue: The Highline

Is there any happier music than ska? No matter what kind of day you had, if you go to a live show featuring ska bands, you’ll leave smiling.

The Highline hosted an annual ska festival. Considering the fact that there were seven bands on the bill and the tickets were $9, I was not expecting Reel Big Fish. However, I expected to have fun and I was not disappointed. Also, given that the average ska band size is usually around 10 and that the Highline is a small club that probably has maybe a couple of hundred for capacity, I’m guessing that this was a labor of love and not a huge payday for anyone.

Unfortunately, I was only able to hear one act. I got a late start, made even later by lovely Apple Maps, who deposited me a mile away from the actual club. I’d thought that, after a couple of bad years, that Apple Maps had largely resolved its mapping problems, since its sole purpose is, after all, to provide a map and instructions to an address.  Be that as it may, I used it as an opportunity to ride the new Broadway trolley, which worked nicely.

The band that I heard was Skablins. They were probably around 10 people on stage, including a trumpet, a trombone, two saxophones, two guitarists, a keyboardist, a drummer, and of course, the singer. Although there was barely room on the stage to move, they did jump around and the singer was drenched in sweat by the time it was done.

The crowd was completely into it. People were pogo’ing, people were skanking, people were doing that circle dance thing. The Highline is on the second floor, and all of the jumping made the floor shake and shiver noticeably.

Ska’s been around so long that it was certainly an all ages crowd. I saw couples in their 50’s skanking right next to another couple in their 20’s jumping.  Even in the band, the trombonist looked to be in his 20’s while right next to him the trumpeter appeared to be pretty deep into his 50’s. Everyone was smiling and having fun.

I wished that I had gotten there earlier and that I didn’t have to get up early the next morning. I would have liked to have seen another act or two.  Be that as it may, as always, I left smiling and with laughter in my heart. It was a great way to start a weekend.

 

Worshipping in the Church of Rockabilly

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Last night I went to see a show at the Showbox.

I arrived late, so I did not see Lincoln Durham. I was moderately disappointed, but it is a standing room only show so I knew that I was going to be on my feet for several hours, and I’m not 21 (or even 51) anymore, so I decided to arrive late to maximize my time with the bands that I really came to see.

I enjoy the music of the Legendary Shack Shakers. I have never seen them in concert.  I honestly did not know what to expect.

The lead singer / harmonica / banjo player, J.D. Wilkes, was a revelation. The other band members were, in comparison, staid. The drummer in particular looked almost bored.

However, J.D….

He is, how do I put this, kind of a dork. Don’t get me wrong, he has great presence, a good voice, kills on the harmonica, and picks away at the banjo. He is a force on the stage, making up for the technically proficient but somewhat plodding personalities of the rest of the band.

It’s just that he has none of the lead singer, big swinging dick, swagger. He mugs, pratfalls, makes corny jokes (calling one of his songs, hobo-phobic), all with eyes bulging out. He generally acts like one of the country-fried bit players on the old Hee Haw show.

OK, except for the times when he put his hand down his pants, groped around, and pretended to fling his pubes at the audience.  I don’t remember seeing that on Hee Haw.

He ended up being some weird combination of Iggy Pop and Red Skelton (for those too young for Red Skelton, feel free to go to youtube now; I’ll wait), and amazingly enough, it works. I guess that I shouldn’t be too surprised since he’s been doing it now for over twenty years.

And then came the Reverend.

I’d seen the Rev several years ago. The drummer changes, but he and the stand up bassist, Jimbo Wallace, have been rocking it for thirty years.

He still brings it. Whatever you want to call it: rockabilly, psychobilly, or punkabilly, it is hard, fast, driving music. From the beginning, he had the crowd up, dancing, and jumping.

At one point, he and Jimbo swapped instruments to play Chuck Berry’s Little Queenie. Jimbo was jamming on the guitar and the Rev was driving it with the bass with not even a beat loss with the switch.

The Rev has an interesting stage presence. It’s as if at some point someone told him that he needs to smile more on stage. For him, it comes out as a series of fake smiles, grimaces, and at best snarky smirks.

On the bill was Unknown Hinson. I just assumed that he was opening, but no, he was a featured artist. So, at a certain point in the show, the Rev called Hinson on-stage and he proceeded to lead several songs, while the Rev faded into the background.

The Unknown Hinson is a kind of a Sacha Baron Cohen kind of dude. Hinson is clearly a character (with extreme fake eyebrows and blacked out teeth) with a whole backstory of typical country hick misfortune. He basically never breaks character, whether before, after, or during the show.

Hinson is considered such a seminal figure within the weird, I guess you could call it underground psychobilly world, that Hank Williams III has a tattoo of him.

However, having said all of that, I came to the show expecting a full Reverend Horton Heat concert, so I was kind of disappointed to see the Rev fade into the background during the second half. In fact, it reached the point (and it was getting late plus I had a dog to take care of) that I ended up leaving while the show was still going on.

Even though, I left, I had an absolute blast.

It did get me thinking…

 

I’ve always wondered how musicians feel about touring.

I’m a musician (I’m pretending now, I’m totally not that). I’m a creative person. I sit in the studio one day and I have a brilliant flash of inspiration. I lay the track down. I release it and it becomes a hit. It makes my career and it makes my livelihood (puts food on the table for me and my loved ones) for possibly decades to come.

And now I have to play that stupid song literally thousands of times. I have more flashes of inspirations, possibly ones that I feel are even more creative and/or important, but my fans don’t care; they just want to hear the hits from decades back.

The Legendary Shack Shakers brought down the house with Blood on the Bluegrass (2003) and Swampblood (2007). The Rev brought the house down with Bales of Cocaine (1993), Baddest of the Bad (1994), and Psycobilly Freakout (1991).

Do they hate these songs now? Do they hate the people that scream for them and would get upset if they didn’t play them? Or do they feed off the excitement / energy of the crowd  and still enjoy it?

That reminds me of two other things (sorry, I’m rambling). Several years ago, I went to see X on New Year’s Eve. The entire show was them replaying, in the same order, the Los Angeles album. The intermission was between side one and side two (I kid you not). Los Angeles came out in 1981. I think that I went to see that show in 2011 (makes sense, thirty year anniversary). If you had told the band members in 1981 that thirty years later they’d still be playing that album, would they have signed up or run screaming?

The other memory was when I went to a Bob Dylan concert. Mark Knopfler, from Dire Straits, opened for him. Fully expecting to hear Dire Straits songs, the crowd was excited to see Knopfler.

I’m not sure how to describe the set that Knopfler played. At best it could be described as sea shanties. It was very confusing. Knopfler changed guitars nearly every song. He’d tune it up, and then launch into another shanty. At one point a guitar that was actually featured on one of the Dire Straits albums was brought out to him (Brothers in Arms maybe?), at which point the crowd started to buzz. Finally, we’re going to hear his greats! Nope (And now I’m on a Yankee ship/Hauling on sheets and braces)!

It was a great example of a very rich, successful, secure artist who has zero fucks to give. On the one hand, as a fan, I was disappointed, but on another, I can only clap and say, well played, Sir, well played!