Monday, July 10, 2017

Show #159 May 27, 2017

This one's for Corinna and Gig Buddy's everywhere!

Corinna- Mimi Betinis Music Sounds 
Best Friends- The Outlets Outlets 7" 
Flagrante Delicto- The Upper Crust Delusions Of Grandeur 
We Don't Mind The Rave- The Flys Waikki Beach Refugees 
Frantic Romantic- Scientists Frantic Romantic 
Comes Around- The Well Wishers Comes And Goes 
Chart Buster- De Cylinders We Must Pay 7'' 
Please Stay- Paul Collins' Beat To Beat Or Not To Beat/Long Time Gone 
^Best Friend- Foster The People Best Friend 
*Best Friend- English Beat Keep the Beat - Very Best of 
*Best Friend- The Gangsters The Gangsters 
Start Again- Suzy and Los Quattro Faster and Louder! 
Takeaway Love- The Resistors e.p. for Jeanie
What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round?- The Monkees  Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. 
*My Best Friend- Weezer Make Believe 
*My Best Friend- Milkshake Play! 
*My Best Friend- Nixon's Head Traps, Buckshot and Pelt 
No Way This Could Fail- The Wellingtons End Of The Summer 
When Donna Romances- The Scruffs When Donna Romances 
Lucy Potato- Teenage Head Teenage Head 
>My Best Friend- Jefferson Airplane Surrealistic Pillow 
*Best Friend- The Krinkles 3 - The Mordorlorff Collection 
*Best Friend- Fastball Step Into Light 
Colosseums- The New Pornographers Whiteout Conditions 
Blue Thing- DM3 West Of Anywhere 
Teenage News- The Connection Just For Fun 
*Best Friend- The Drums Best Friend 
*Best Friend- Legendary Wings Do You See 
*My Best Friend's Hot- The Dollyrots Because I'm Awesome 
*Best Friend- Dandy Warhols Dandys Rule OK 
He's Frank- The Monochrome Set The Independent Singles Collection 
He's My Best Friend- Jellyfish Spilt Milk

^Power Pop Peak:  #14 US Alt Chart  3/10/14

*SacroSet:  Best Friend Songs

>Power Pop Prototype:  1967

The Upper Crust

I don't go to many rock shows these days because a) there aren't that many bands I want to see and b) those I do aren't popular enough to score a Friday or Saturday so, along with the 100 mile round trip to San Francisco, it makes for a late weeknight.  That said, there was NO WAY I was going to miss The Upper Crust's recent show at Bottom of The Hill.  

Titanics, Nat and Dave on right
After I left Boston in 1992, Nat Freedberg must have gotten pretty bored with his band The Titanics because he and guitarist Dave Fredette formed not one, not two but THREE joke band offshoots.  In The Satanics Freedberg was "Devlin Carnate," I'm not sure what his name was in surf-rock group The Clamdiggers but in The Upper Crust  he was, and continues to be, Lord Bendover.  The concept is brilliant:  18th Century French fops in make up, wigs and period attire singing songs about being rich.  The other members of The Upper Crust were in Mente and Seks Bomba with drummer Jim Janota
The Bags, Jim Janota center
coming from one of my all time favorite Boston bands:  The Bags. 
Ted Widmer (Lord Rockingham) is a Harvard guy who left the band to take a job as a speechwriter for Bill Clinton and now works at the Library of Congress.

Twenty-two years later all the aforementioned bands are long gone, save for The Upper Crust who recently released their sixth album Delusions Of Grandeur. Back in the 90's I missed my chance to see the band play at the Covered Wagon Saloon in SF so I was very excited to hear they were coming back in May 2017.  

I called up my best friend Frank and he was game- we have gone to many shows together over the years.  I've known Frank since high school, here's a picture of us from back then.  We weren't a band yet but that didn't stop us from having photo sessions- there's no denying we had "a look."
Ted, Jim, Frank, Rick

When we moved to Boston after high school (me to go to Emerson, Frank to Northeastern) we had a band with our friends Pete and Jim called No Idea that played all the Boston clubs.
Rick, Frank, Pete, Jim

Frank was my best man when Jaime and I got married on March 14, 1992.
Lance, Rich, Paul, Frank, Rick, Jaime, Mary Beth, Jenny, Sarah, Sue
In 1993 Jaime and I moved to San Francisco and Frank came out a few months later.   When he married Joanna on June 6, 2004 I was in their wedding party

Frank's brother Greg was best man but didn't want to do the toast.  I was proud to do the honor myself- though I would've appreciated more than five minutes notice.

In the late 90's I wrote a song called "The Warm Up Band Sucks" about a less than stellar experience I had waiting to see The Plimsouls at Bottom of The Hill.  I got there early that night because I thought the club would be packed.  It wasn't, and I was subjected to not one but two terrible support acts.  On the plus side, The Plimsouls were AWESOME, featuring none other than Clem Burke on drums!
Plimsouls with Clem Burke circa 1997
Despite my aforementioned "Warm Up Band Sucks" episode, repeated numerous times since then, I remain ever hopeful that support acts won't punish my punctuality.  This night I once again cajoled Frank into arriving at Bottom of The Hill early and once again we were... let's just say the pump was primed for The Upper Crust who blew everyone else off the stage.  The band was resplendent both aurally and visually.
The Upper Crust 5/25/17

Even after a 20 year build up, The Upper Crust exceeded my expectations.  Frank was similarly taken- the songs, the look, the stage banter- they were on fire!  It is difficult to describe, the band was very tight yet also seemed to be careening out of control at times especially during Duc D'istortion's sublime solos.
The Duc Lets Loose!

We Are NOT
I especially appreciated relative newcomer Count Bassie, who joined the group in '96. His disgust at the rabble in the audience was apparent in his ever present sneer.  Yet thoughts of the guillotine are banished in your shock at hearing such a beautiful falsetto- clear and pitch perfect- emanating from such a debauched reprobate.  If you don't believe me, check out this live version of "Little Castrato" recorded last year in New Jersey.  Count Bassie also gets credit for the salute that adorns the Delusions of Grandeur album cover and which many of us in the crowd could not help but raise throughout the performance.  And I would be remiss were I not to mention the great Jackie Kickassis anchoring the rhythm section on, as the French say, "le batterie." 

I Want To Be
Jackie Kickassis

As a long time rock show attendee, I pride myself on being able to always spot band wives/girlfriends in the crowd, though at an Upper Crust show it is admittedly not that difficult.  You do not want to get caught standing behind these ladies!
The Crustettes

So it was a great night of rock and roll, made better by the fact that I was able to spend it with my best friend- Thanks Frank!

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