Friday, August 03, 2007

First Show Stories II: The Happy Hollows, Radars To The Sky, One Trick Pony, & More

Right around Easter or something, we ran a handful of stories from local musicians about the first shows that they ever attended. You know, the type of tale that comes up during a party, out at a music festival, in a bar, or whatever about how young and dumb you were, but how much it probably meant to you.

We’ve been meaning to run another collection ever since, so here we are. Mark II.

Sarah Negahdari – The Happy Hollows
Mine was the Grateful Dead. My friend's hippie dad took her and I to the show when we were, like, twelve. In the beginning of the concert, we went to the bathroom and some kid gave us brownies. I had no clue they were filled with pot, so I gobbled them up. The next thing I knew I was totally high.

I remember sitting on our blanket with my jaw open, starring at a huge screen on stage with psychedelic moving colors for, like, four hours straight.

I didn't tell my friend's dad about the brownies. I think he just thought I was a weird, quiet kid.

Erika Elektra – Hearts of Palm UK
So, my first show was technically Bobby McFerrin at some winery in Northern California. Hilarious, right? I was probably around ten years old, and I think my mom thought he was "cool." I just remember me and my sister making fun of his weird throat sounds afterwards.

My first "real" show was the Soup Dragons in '91 at The Warfield in San Francisco. I felt so cool in my little skirt and knee highs. It was one of the first times I'd been out and about in the city, I was like a sponge soaking up everything around me - the strip clubs, the people, the energy. My friend and I waiting in some long line outside, and then they let everyone in - everyone sprinted up the hallway, into the concert hall or whatever they call it, and fought their way to the front. I like competition, so I was like ME FIRST!!

Anyways, it was pretty uneventful. The show was fun, whatever. I touched one of the Soup Dragon guys' shoes and I thought that was pretty cool. Mostly I remember just feeling like I was really with-it and cooler than all the other suburban eighth graders at my school. Like, "Yeah, man. I go out to shows in San Fran...Take that, all ya'll motherfuckers!"

Michael Corwin – The Devils Romantics
The first concert I remember going to was the '94 Lollapalooza when I was thirteen. I remember meeting the Beastie Boys, Green Day, Nick Cave, and Perry Farrell backstage and watching Sonic Youth play on a huge lawn.

More than anything, I spent a lot of time trying to find a place to get stoned.

Randolph – One Trick Pony
The first concert I can remember was a bell choir in a cathedral in Cleveland. I was about nine and I was on some field trip for school. I remember being very moved by the fact that everyone was seemingly disconnected from everyone else in the choir but somehow made this beautiful music orchestrated by an outside force.

After that, I really never went to shows. The first show that I actually attended on my own volition was Radiohead after their Hail to the Thief album. It was amazing.

Melanie Clinch – Yes Me To Death
My first live music extravaganza was going to see Madonna ... it was probably on the Who's That Girl? tour ... but around 1989, I saw The Ramones play at City Gardens in Trenton NJ...

Andres Cruzalegui – The Lights From Here
When I was about nine years old, my parents took me to see Chicago and Hall and Oats at the Forum in Los Angeles. I don't remember much, but I remember liking the horns in Chicago. I think I'll credit Daryl Hall and John Oates for making me lose approximately 35% of my masculinity.

Years later I could have sworn I saw Oats at Spaceland for the Daniel Lanois show, but I couldn't confirm it. Even if I could, I would not confront him. How do you face the man who defiled you?

Speaking of first shows, Kim and I were lucky enough to see the first Sigur Ros show on U.S. soil. I think it was the 2001 Coachella Music Festival back when nobody knew who they were. Kim and I wandered in a refreshingly half-empty tent and saw one of the most beautiful, intimate performances. I couldn't decide whether to focus my attention on the band or on the audience which seemed to melt in awe—particularly a group of kids on ecstasy who were forming some sort of semi-erotic huddle. It was special.

Kate Spitser – Radars To The Sky
My first show was in 1989--in London, England. We were living in Clapham Common (South London) while my Dad was on a sabbatical. I was a sophmore in high school.

It was called the "Junior Best Disco" sponsered by London's pop station Capitol Radio. I was 15 years old, and wonder of all wonders got to see Millie Vanilli perform "live", along with other teen sensations that were big in England at the time. Other bands included Brother Beyond, Yazz and the Plastic Population, BROS, The Pet Shop Boys and Kim Wilde. I think.

I tried to Google the event but apparently it was so long ago they don't have the line-up archived, reminding me of my age.

There was nothing cool about this show, looking back on it.

Brad Knutson – Editor, Radio Free Chicago
My first concert was The Smashing Pumpkins and Redd Redd Meat circa Siamese Dream at Redbird Arena in Normal, IL. The first time I heard "Cherub Rock" on the radio it blew me away. Then "Today" came out and suddenly the band was everywhere and were seemingly the hottest rock at the moment. I was really excited when the show was announced because I lived in the heart of corn country in downstate Illinois and we virtually never got any good concerts outside of shit like Motley Crue and Ozzy Osbourne. I also was conveniently 16 years old at this point, so I didn't have to do the humiliating act of having to be picked up by my mom after the show.

The tickets were general admission, so I made sure to get to the venue super early to get my spot in line so I could rush up right to the front once the doors opened. After waiting for what I'm sure was at least an hour or two, the show finally started with Redd Redd Meat. I have no idea what song it was, but whatever song they opened with completely kicked my ass. I do remember that it was led by some heavily distorted slide guitar (courtesy i'm sure of former Redd leader and current Calfione frontman Tim Rutuli) and there was someone pounding the shit out of a big solo bass drum in front of the stage, in addition to the drummer with the full kit in back. The end result was this amazingly crunchy primal rock sound with a slight hint of southern jugband twang. I don't remember being nearly as engaged with the rest of their set, but that first song was one helluva start to my concert going career.

Of course, I may have just been distracted and couldn't wait for Redd Redd Meat to end their set because I was so excited to see my beloved Punk'ins. After they were done, the floor of the arena filled up quick and suddenly I was in a sea of people. Once the Pumpkins started, the tranquil sea of fans turned into a raging ocean fueled by moshing. I don't remember nearly as much about the details of the set as I do about being in that mosh pit and experiencing the crazy sensation of being shoved around by a sea of sweaty concert goers. (Although, I do remember James Iha making a dorky comment about how "hot and sticky" it looked out in the crowd). Towards the end, I finally conceded and settled toward the back to meet back up with my friend who I don't think lasted through the first song in the pit.

For a first concert experience, I don't think I could've picked a better show. It was big, bombastic and loud as shit. And of course, making it even more epic was the fact that the Pumpkins were the band of the moment and they totally lived up to expectations. Looking back on it, it's funny to think how larger than life everything seemed. The stage seemed absolutely huge and the energy from crowd was enormous. Granted, I'm used to seeing shows at small clubs with like 200 people now, but I almost guarantee if I were to go back and see a concert at that arena, I would probably marvel at how small the place looked.


Post a Comment

<< Home