went down to Oly last

went down to Oly last night to see Chad’s friend Keith’s band – Who Cares – play at the 4th Ave. A very odd experience.

We got there early and went for ‘za at Old School – yum. I would not have thought that broccoli would’ve been good on pizza, and yet I’ve been proven wrong. Dashed out to catch the guys (and Paul – the singer’s – gf) bringing their stuff in. Snuck in the back door, because paying cover sucks.

So here’s the scene: the 4th Ave is a gritty, gritty bar. As in: pool tables, chicks with BIG HAIR, and guys with cowboy hats. The back room/stage is a big open zone with a low stage on one side (very dusty red backdrop curtains), rows of tables, an upper zone with a long counter, and lots and lots of the same metal/naugahyde chairs. Fairly dim smoky light.

We thought they were going to be playing at 9 – turns out 9:30 or 10, depending on how many other bands – sound guy says two other bands, then comes up with this young gal, both looking surprisingly officious. Apparently there’s been a mix-up, and the other band thought they were going first. Paul says, rather definitively: “we suck after a rock band” (they play acoustic), and that seems to be that.

Aside about Paul: he definitely has the same kind of energy as Franz’s dad: a libertine, masculine energy – both seem to take Bukowski as some kind of guiding influence. It’s a compelling but unnerving aura. (He’s a really nice guy, though, for all that.)

Except that the guys from the other band (who all look like late 70s – early 80s metal grits, very skinny with long ratty hair) come in & start setting their stuff on the stage. D’oh! For a minute it looks like there’s going to be some kind of rumble over the order of play – but they all smooth it out, and eventually Who Cares takes the stage.

Oh, but before that, this most obviously schizophrenic (and possibly drunk) woman – late middle aged, wearing a sweater and a soft knit hat in a soft shade of pink – wanders in. She tries talking – yipes! Jesus talk! – but we pull away. She spends the whole show waving her arms and giving little shout-outs. It would be entertaining if it wasn’t so damn distracting.

I don’t think the sound was set quite correctly, either – it seemed really hard & tinny throughout the show.

But I enjoyed their playing immensely. Here’s the deal: they only have one song which is “radio-safe” – a tune called No One. Everything else is insanely rauncy & totally obscene. And yet funny…absurdist and sing-able. Paul joked around a lot with the other singer, Dave (also the guitarist), while the bongo guy kept to his bongos and Keith looked totally deadpan. They rock, but man, I would’ve loved to have seen them in a better situation.

We snuck back out the back door and left as soon as they were done. Chad’s coming down with a cold & was feeling not so great. 🙁