Sunday, June 30, 2013

Show #102 June 15, 2013

Celebrating Shannon and all Bottle Rockers!

Shannon- The Volcanos The Volcanos
So Bored- The Exploding Hearts Shattered
Orange Squeezer- The dB's Revolution of the Mind
Photobooth- The Fevers Love Always Wins
Deuce- Kiss Kiss
I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass- Nick Lowe Jesus Of Cool
Burning In You- Gary Charlson Waves: An Anthology Of New Music, Vol. 2
Get Off My Back- Teenage Head Teenage Head
^I Hate Myself For Loving You- Joan Jett and The Blackhearts Greatest Hits
With My Friends- The Chords This I What They Want
Believe In Me- Rooney Calling the World
Greatest Pretender- Sugar Stems Can't Wait
I Like The World- Mark Johnson Yellow Pills Vol 1 The Best of American Pop!
One of the Good Ones- Redd Kross Researching The Blues
*The New World- X More Fun in the New World
*Gone Daddy Gone- Violent Femmes Add It Up
*Tongue Tied- Grouplove Tongue Tied
*I'm Alive (Life Sounds Like)- Michael Franti I'm Alive (Life Sounds Like)
*The Difference- The Wallflowers Bringing Down the Horse
*Short Skirt Long Jacket- Cake Short Skirt Long Jacket
Watermark- The Weakerthans Left and Leaving
You- The Cold You 7"
Chip On My Shoulder- The Rangehoods Rough Town
>Wall Of Death- Richard and Linda Thompson Shoot Out The Lights
The Mess- Newtown Neurotics Newtown Neurotics Punk Collection
The Girl Is Alright- The Shods Thanks For Nuthin'
Jealousy- The Poppees Pop Goes the Anthology
Out The Lights- Richard and Linda Thompson Shoot Out The Lights 

^Power Pop Peak:   

*SacroSet:  Bottle Rock Music Festival 2013

>Power Pop Prototype:  1982

Back in June of 1994 Jaime and I went to the first BFD ("Big F**kin' Day" or if you prefer the PG version, "Big Freakin' Day"), San Francisco radio station Live 105's annual music festival at Shoreline Ampitheatre in Mountain View.  My friend Dred Scott, currently the afternoon host on KFOG, got us tickets and we were looking forward to seeing Green Day, The Violent Femmes, The Pretenders and the rest.  Traffic and parking were a nightmare, it was unbearably hot and the place was so packed you couldn't tell if the sweat running off you was yours or someone else's.  There was nowhere to go to get relief- it was a little
Billie Joe and Tre of Green Day at BFD June 10, 1994
slice of purgatory.  We saw Green Day and about half of the Violent Femmes set and got the hell out of there.  Since then I have stayed away from outdoor music festivals.  When Coachella started in the early 2000's I thought to myself "yeah, it would be great to see the reunited Stooges or Pixies but it would be so uncomfortable... come on, it is literally the DESERT!"

As it had been 19 years since my last outdoor music festival, I didn't pay much attention when they announced Bottle Rock Napa Valley last winter.  To be honest, it elicited the Murtagh Response: "I'm too old for this s**t."  Yet I have to say the lineup was impressive.  I'm not a big fan of any of the headliners, but you take note when Kings of Leon, Black Keys, Jane's Addiction and Zac Brown Band are playing 20 minutes from your house.  What's more, there were several bands playing earlier in the day that I love, like Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, X, Richard Thompson and, echoing that 1994 BFD ("Big Fat Disappointment"), the Violent Femmes.  So, part of me was wishing I could be there, but not enough to shell out $130 for a one day ticket or $400 for a four day pass.

Here's the thing though, along with a ton of food vendors and even more wineries, Bottle Rock included an exhibition hall full of space for non-profits to do outreach- one of which was my son Jack's high school.  The day before the festival started I got an e-mail from a friend who was staffing the school booth asking if I'm interested in a volunteer pass to see Joan Jett at 4:30 Thursday afternoon.  I immediately responded "Hells yeah!"  Checking the schedule, I saw that X were playing right before Joan Jett at 2:45 so pushing my luck I asked if I could arrive earlier.  Not only did they say "yes," they told me I could have TWO passes!  Perhaps still scarred by BFD ("Brutal Fiery Death"), Jaime said "no way," so I decided to take Jack as his school was out early that week for service projects.

Thursday morning I'm on pins and needles waiting to hear about where to park and pick up passes, which entrance to use, etc.- my prior ambivalence is gone, now I want to GO!  I guess it was chaos down there that morning, but by 1pm I have all the info and pick Jack up at the library where he was doing his service.  I decided to follow all the rules and park where I was told rather than stick my car at a shopping center and hoof it.  The parking lot was pretty far away and as we're waiting for the shuttle I'm telling myself "50 minutes 'til X's set, we've got plenty of time.... 45 minutes 'til X's set..." and so on.  Not surprisingly, there was a ton of traffic- I bet it took us 20 minutes to go the last 200 yards.  As we're getting closer I see that many people who live near the fairgrounds have signs up selling $100 parking spaces, grabbing their own piece of the Bottle Rock loot.  When the bus finally let us out I bounded down the steps, luckily Jack was paying attention and kept close behind me, heading to the first gate I see, praying we won't be told to use a different entrance.

The security people didn't seem to know what was going on but they were all pretty friendly which was a big help because right then I hear the opening strains of X's "White Girl" wafting over us.  I start doing a little "kindergartner having to pee" dance and my mantra switches to "oh my God, they're starting...oh my God, they're starting...."  I'm trying not to seem too tweaked because that doesn't go over well with security but my every nerve is standing on end.  Thankfully Jack and I were in the right line and within minutes we were in.  I don't remember much about the dash over to the Citi stage where X were playing but I hope we didn't trample anyone.  X were fantastic- tight, but not too tight, and their sound was perfect.  They focused on songs from the first four albums giving us exactly what we wanted.  Jack liked them and did not seem too put out by my spastic dad dancing.
X  (Thursday 2:45 Citi Stage)
The weather was perfect on Thursday, sunny and warm, though we didn't have to face directly into the sun like Joan Jett and The Blackhearts.  Their sound was a little messed up early on, but kicked in after a few songs and the band was rocking.  Joan Jett is a national treasure- at minimum her picture should be on a postage stamp and we can always hope to see her on an upcoming round of commemorative quarters.  Joan is still writing good songs too- the audience was right with her on the new material.  She nailed all her hits, the highlight for me being "I Hate Myself For Loving You."  If I was running things, it would be Joan herself belting out the song on Sunday Night Football and not a bunch of interchangeable blonde country singers.
Joan Jett and The Blackhearts (Thursday 4:30 Citi Stage)
Jack liked both X and Joan Jett but I didn't know how he'd feel about Richard Thompson, who was up next (it really was an amazing line up- congrats Bottle Rock talent bookers).  He was playing on the smaller Miner Family Winery stage and the first half of the set was focused on his new album Electric.  Jack had gone off to see what was happening on the other stages but came back just in time to hear "Wall Of Death."  I had just been telling him about the RT song "Shoot Out The Lights" when the opening chords rang out to a huge cheer from the audience.  It was an AMAZING performance! Richard Thompson remains one of the most explosive guitarists I've ever seen, he tore it up with that candy apple red Stratocaster- even Jack's jaw dropped.  In the weeks since Bottle Rock, I've heard Jack listening to "Shoot Out The Lights" on his laptop several times.
Richard Thompson Electric Trio (Thursday 5:45 Miner Family Winery Stage)
Next up were Violent Femmes.  I remember when the band's first album, also their best, came out in 1983.  Cousin Rich (of course) played it for me that Spring and by the time I went back to college in the Fall, it was the non-stop soundtrack in Fensgate, my Emerson dorm.  No matter what floor you were on it seemed like you'd hear "Blister In The Sun," "Kiss Off" or "Add It Up."  The thing is, Violent Femmes is angrier than most hardcore records- songs about masturbation, being bullied, rejection, self hatred, sexual frustration, etc.  At the time it was right up my alley but I wondered if anyone else was paying attention to the lyrics- especially the girls singing along with "body and beats, I stain my sheets" at the top of their lungs.  I mean I was bullied in high school too but compared to Violent Femmes songwriter Gordon Gano I was captain of the freakin' football team.

When the Violent Femmes took the stage at Bottle Rock drummer Victor DeLorenzo grabbed the mic saying "it's the 30th anniversary of our first album so we thought we'd celebrate by playing the WHOLE thing" as bass player Brian Ritchie launched into "Blister In The Sun."  The crowd, myself included, went nuts!  I had seen the xylophone set up on stage so I was pretty pumped they were going to do "Gone Daddy Gone," but the whole first album?  An embarrassment of riches. I was so excited I forgot to snap a photo, so I had to steal this one from the Interweb:
Violent Femmes (Thursday 8pm Miner Family Winery Stage)
Jack left to check out Primus but when I turned around at the end of the Femmes set he was right there.  They finished with a selection of post debut "hits" and he is quite taken with "American Music."  Rather than calling it a night we went over to Citi Stage to see Primus finish up.  They are definitely not my thing and I only know their two biggest songs, "Jerry Was A Race Car Driver" and "My Name Is Mud" which they performed right then, in that order.  Amazing.

Catching the parking lot shuttle back to the car reminded me of those photos of people getting the last chopper out of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War (lots of yelling, a mad rush, husbands and wives separated, etc.)  Yet, nothing could harsh our mellow- we had an incredible time.  I can't thank our friends enough for the passes- it was a day Jack and I will never forget.

You can stream or download tonight's show from the links below (if the download gets stuck, just pause and un-pause).
Hour 1
Hour 2

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