Monday, December 3, 2007

Chuck Ragan / Sundowner / Mischief Brew - 12.2.07

First Unitarian Church

Heather, Kev, Jon and I met at Five Guys before hand for burgers, fries and grilled cheese sandwiches. Damn right. Nothing like five pounds of fries to get you ready for a show.

So, we headed over to the Church and got there a few minutes before Erik Petersen (Mischief Brew) was about to start. I remember growing up listening to Orphans songs, and really loving them, and I liked the first Mischief Brew EP. Erik's stuff is good, and I like it better solo, but I've never been a huuuge follower. He had a ton of kids there eating everything up, and they were singing along to a bunch of songs and requesting others. I recognized "Boycott Me" and "Roll Me Through the Gates of Hell" and evidentially a lot of other "punx" did too. I like Erik's music, but I can only listen to so many songs with similar rhythms and lyrics before I zone out.

After a short break, Sundowner started, sans band. While I liked hearing Chris with just a guitar, I missed a lot of the vocal melodies and string parts that are on the record. He did a lot of originals, a Leonard Cohen cover, and some Lawrence Arms songs ("Boatless Booze Cruise," "100 Resolutions," and one other I'm blanking of). It was a good mix, but his vocals seemed a bit off. I'm not sure if it was just part of playing without the band, or the fact that he's been on tour for quite a while, but he was a bit nasally and off-key. Still, that did little to dissuade the huge Lawrence Arms kick I've been on the last month.

Kev and I made a quick run to Wawa and were happy to see that Chuck Ragan had just started when we got back. I was bummed that I missed half of "Open Up and Wail," but what I hear sounded great. Heather's quote was "I think that one song changed my life." Well, I stood absolutely enthralled for the better part of an hour, while Chuck played every one of my favorites from his LP (Feast or Famine), his live record (Los Feliz), and his many 7 inches. He threw in "God Deciding" for the Hot Water fans, and ended with the Rumbleseat song "California Burritos." The energy that he puts into just folksy acoustic songs is unbelievable. The addition of a banjo and fiddle on a lot of it made it interesting and kept things changing. Not to mention the fiddle player could wail.

As a side note, during Chuck's set some seemingly drunk girl kept trying to get a seemingly reserved dude to dance with her. Next thing I know, they're making out like savages, with her slamming this dude into the wall right next to me (seriously, rubbing shoulders). These two had been attracting attention for a while, but now half the room is expecting them to bang right there, as Kev is screaming "Be real man and fuck her in the bathroom!" over and over. Afterwards, the dude came over to Mike and said "I'd never even seen that girl before in my life!" Hilarious.

Regardless, Chuck was amazing. Absolutely inspiring and made up for the fact that I was pretty underwhelmed by the first two bands/acts. This has me super excited for Hot Water Music reunion in January, which will be outrageous.

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