Saturday, April 21, 2007

First Show Stories: The Hectors, Tandemoro, Radars To The Sky, & More

Technically, my first show ever was going to The Grand Ole Opry with my parents on summer vacation. I think I was in fifth grade then. It was the year of the World Fair in Knoxville and we went to, no shit, Dollywood, too. I guess that was '82?

But the one I count for reals is seeing Fugazi play at the now-defunct Club Dreamers in Chicago years later when I was a junior in high school. It was before their EP came out and I remember being kind of disappointed that they didn't sound like Minor Threat, even though Ian MacKaye had already done both Embrace and Pailhead. (I mean, c'mon, I was fifteen...)

There was a point halfway through the show when Ian and Guy stopped playing because a bunch of skinheads were lining up in a row in the front and running over everyone in their path. They asked the skins what they were doing and someone yellied out, "It's a wall of death!" Like that, you know, explained everything.

The two singers made fun of them for awhile, before saying they were going to play a slow song after that so no one could do any shenanigans. And I think launched into Suggestion.

A week after that, I saw Naked Raygun for the first time... Chicago's a good town for live music, both then and now.

Anyway, I asked a number of people here in town about their own first shows. You know, the sort of stories you normally trade around after a few beers at a party.

Here are a few:

Corinne DinnerThe Hectors

When I was 11, I'd wanted my first show to be the Guns 'N' Roses/Metallica uber-tour, but my dad had heard that GnR fans tore seats out of arenas, lit them on fire, and threw them at the stage. So that didn't happen.

The first concert that was safe enough was a "blues festival" in San Francisco when I was 13. I had just begun listening to Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker, and felt that I too had the blues.

My friend and I took a BART train over from the East bay. The first thing we saw when we walk through the turnstile are security guards escorting out these two fat, drunk 40-year-old guys with no shirts. They were screaming obscenities while throwing their cheese steak sandwiches at each other.

We then endured a day of watered down white guy blues bands, with names like "Billy Boy and the Blues Survivors." And we were offered weed by three different dead heads.

The day wasn't a total loss: I learned the valuable lesson of sneaking out to punk shows and telling my dad I was going to see blues and jazz.

Mike GriffinTandemoro & The Western States Motel

My first show is a little hazy. Not because I was shrooming or f'ed up in any way, but because I was in the second grade. I was living in Hawaii and my parents took me to see this Hawaiian brother duo called The Brothers Cazimero. I loved their music and we always listened to them, I still love their album Hawaiian Paradise.

So, we went to this big park on Maui at night and sat on the grass in front of the stage. They passed out these sushi plates to everyone and I had never had it and I thought it was really weird. I remember thinking the same thing about the concert because seeing them in person was very different than how I imagined them. I thought they looked weird, one had a beard and was sitting cross-legged on a stool while playing guitar, which looks weirder than it sounds.

I'm sure they were awesome because I've seen them again and they really know their stuff, but I think at that age (or maybe because it was my first show), I wasn't ready to accept them as people.

Andrew Spitser – Radars to the Sky

Depeche Mode. Violator tour. Must have been 1989 or summer 1990. Nitzer Ebb opened up-- I think my brother, who had let me and a couple of friends tag along (and steal sips from the flask they smuggled in) were more into those guys than Depeche Mode.

But Join in the Chant didn't exactly have the same appeal in cavernous Dodger Stadium before the sun even went down. I wasn't won over (never really fully bought into the whole Industrial scene, really).

But "DeMode" were a revelation. After having been confined to Hollywood Bowl symphony concerts and a John Denver show or two up to that point, to see one of my favorite bands on the big stage with the lights and the big video screens was amazing. Couldn't believe how big and loud and epic and theatrical and dark and brooding and intense the whole thing was. Say what you will-- those guys had the arena rock pop star thing down.

Of course, if you want to talk about first indie rock show: Archers of Loaf, basement at Rick's in Ann Arbor. 1994. Like being born again.... But that's another chapter.

Chuck P. - Dead Air/Indie 103.1

Ah yes, it’s 1981 all over again…

When I was 11, I went to the Fresno Convention Center with my sister to see The Gap Band. I didn’t have a favorite band at the time, I just listened to what my Mom and sister listened to. I believe Confunktion was opening the show… a stellar lineup, to be sure.

When we got there, a band was already playing. Having not paid for the ticket myself, I was too worried that I was missing anything important, because I knew them not to be Confunktion. I was really getting into the tunes, and felt cool enough to lean over to one of my sisters friends and let her know how much I was enjoying the band.

“Goody” she replied flatly.

The embarrassment must have been obvious on my face, as I slinked back into my chair, because she leaned over to me and said, “Did you hear me?” I said “Yeah, I got it, goody, like big deal.” She laughed a hearty laugh, and said “No, the band is called Goody!”

Not sure how I could have felt any dumber, but I did.

Rob Danson – Death to Anders!

In 1994, my father was offered an investments job in Mexico City. We lived there for a year and a half, where I began listening to nothing but heavy metal. I was fourteen when Sepultura came into town.

They played a three-hour set in a huge, sold-out ice arena. I was sitting far away on the balcony, looking down at the massive sea of people moshing and head-banging and I thought that this was the coolest thing ever......until the last song.

For some reason, some idiot thought that it would be a great idea if, before the show, they put folding chairs down on the main floor so that the standing crowd could sit if they wanted to.

Well, no one actually used these chairs in the traditional sense, but during Sepultura's encore, hundreds of people began throwing the chairs wildly into the air. Soon, all hell broke loose and people were getting smashed in the head with these metal folding chairs.

The whole place looked like a chaotic riot scene, and I was safely watching this unfold before me up high on a balcony. I heard that a lot of people got really hurt. There were a bunch of broken arms, legs, and other fucked up shit. I hope that no one got killed.

Photo by Braedon Flynn


Blogger t.rex said...

this is an awesome feature. i would like to read more of these, dear sir.

9:56 AM  

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