February 09, 2004

Clash of the Titans

The gods seem to have decided to do what they can to make each MTX show as "intimate" as possible. I don't know why. But they're up there on that big mountain, playing an insane game of chess upon a diorama of the western United States, moving a tiny little blue van here, a venue there, interfering with the weather and so forth. Hera's mad at Zeus again. Well, can you blame her? Still, why take it out on us? No one knows why. They can do whatever they want.

In Sacramento, lingering Great White-related paranoia has resulted in the strictest venue-capacity rules in the country. Even though we've had well over three hundred kids in there before, the official capacity of the Capitol Garage, in the post-Great White era, is 149. And they have to include all the band members, bar staff, guests, and girlfriends in that number. The result was that after a hundred and one paid admissions, it was "sold out." It was heart-breaking to see them turning away the disappointed kids from a half-empty venue, but that's the law, baby.

(Sacramento may be the capital city of the most important state in the Union, but it still has a cozy, Anytown, USA feeling to it. That's one of the things I love about it. It's like Grover's Corners with more believable scenery. When they were talking about the capacity situation, someone said "the Fire Marshall might be coming round tonight." As a joke I said, "oh yeah? What's his name?" And, with no trace of humor, someone said "it's Bob, right?" And then from somewhere in the background a voice said "yeah, that's right: Bob." In the event, Firemarshall Bob didn't show up. Anytown, USA. Or the Neighborhood of Make Believe. Or maybe both.)

In Portland, the gods decided to play a game of Hide the Venue. The address we had was wrong; the phone number was "not accepting calls at this time." We drove around looking for a scuzzy warehouse with a bunch of kids standing outside, our usual method in these situations. No luck. (Don't get me wrong: south east Portland is very well stocked with scuzzy warehouses. No kids though.) We stopped in a couple of Tattoo parlors to see if anybody knew where the Meow Meow was, and nobody did.

One of the alt weeklies had a Meow Meow ad with the wrong address. The other one had an ad with no address. It was starting to look like even if there was a show, we wouldn't find it in time.

We found a hot spot and I checked my blog. Nate Schmoe had left a comment with the new address. We drove there, but still couldn't find it. I phoned Michael Totten (whom, by the way, I'd never met before-- we had a nice little talk about music, politics and internet dating after things settled down a bit.)

Michael said he had seen the Butthole Surfers in a space in that area a few years ago, and if it was the same place, it's off the road a little bit; he recommended getting out and walking around to check it out. That seemed a bit, well, Judgment Night, but OK, we were game. Result: still no scuzzy warehouse with kids in it. So Ted called Bobby Manic from Sacramento; Bobby M. had Nate's number. We called Nate, and he directed us to the unmarked, closely-guarded, secret location. Take that, Hera!

So in the end we found it. And I'm totally impressed with the investigative powers and tracking skills of the 50-80 other people who managed to find it, too. It's like a gimmick that they might have had on that VH1 show, Bands on the Run: OK, bands, listen up. There's a gig in Portland tonight. But here's the catch: we're not going to tell you or anyone else where it is. Your job is to find the venue and try to promote the show and pull in a crowd anyway. The winner will get one hundred dollars and a chance to enter the semi-finals.

We went around looking for confused kids stumbling around looking for the gig, and even found a few. And we put up a sign at the old, wrong address. All in all, I think we did pretty well. Better than Harlow, anyway.

Posted by Dr. Frank at February 9, 2004 07:02 PM | TrackBack

"It was heart-breaking to see them turning away the disappointed kids from a half-empty venue, but that's the law, baby."

Whatever happened to the grand old days of punk rock when something like that would have resulted in a riot? I tell you, those kids in the capital got no edge. Black Flag, anyone?


Posted by: Emily at February 9, 2004 07:52 PM

While MTX was in search of the Meow Meow, Live 105 was playing She’s Not a Flower as part of “It’s a Homegrown Weekend”. It was weird hearing an MTX song on the radio (even stranger that I was listening – I pretty much abhor Bay Area radio save little KFJC from Foothill College). The voice of a young sounding female caller immediately followed the song. She asked, “Who was that new band you just played?” Priceless!

Posted by: j. francis at February 9, 2004 07:59 PM


Posted by: Chavo at February 9, 2004 09:04 PM

Yeah, the DJ said he thought they were okay, kind of reminded him of Green Day. (words changd a bit to fit scenario) tee-hee

Posted by: Channon at February 9, 2004 09:27 PM

Please don't get lost on the way to the Brooklyn show later this month! If you'd like, I'll shoot fireworks into the sky from the roof of the place or something.

Posted by: geoff at February 9, 2004 10:43 PM

Glad to be of some help.

Posted by: BobbyM at February 9, 2004 10:48 PM

Aw, nobody treats you right! Do a show in Honolulu. It's an island, you can't get lost.

Posted by: nancy at February 9, 2004 11:35 PM

Not only does the Meow Meow's web site still have the old address and directions up, directory assistance has no listing for anything called "Meow Meow" in Portland.

Still found the show though. :)

Posted by: Jesse at February 10, 2004 12:08 AM

Ah man... tonight's show is at Graceland in Seattle, which should be plenty big... and judging from the last couple of shows I've seen there, they have no problems packing people to the rafters. I just hope it hasn't sold out or won't sell out before I get there, cause I forgot to get a ticket.

Posted by: DamnDirtySteve at February 10, 2004 12:41 AM

Always glad to be of assistance. Thanks for playing 'I Believe In You'

Also, now that I know exactly who Rebekah is, I can say hi the next time I see her, since she lives in my town and all...

Side question for Ted and Bobby J: Did the My Father's Place mozzarella sticks give you guys the squirts too? That would be a most unfortunate situation in the van, I'd imagine...

Posted by: Nate at February 10, 2004 12:47 AM

Hey Frank, speaking of wrong addresses: Climax Lounge in Denver is at 2217 Welton Street, not the address listed on your "Shows" link. (Just called to verify that.)

'Still hoping the crick don't rise...

Posted by: Laurie at February 10, 2004 03:25 AM

Regarding the Brooklyn location: North Six is always really hard for me to find. They don't have a sign and their building looks no different than all the other dirty warehouses around them. If they have their street numbers visible, I'd be surprised. To get to the venue, you have to walk until it seems as if you're headed straight into the East River, all the while resisting the urge to check whether you went in the wrong direction or walked by it already. The only clue to finding it is looking for the bouncer sitting on a stool outside the door (I don't remember if he does that in the winter though).

Posted by: Patrick at February 10, 2004 06:31 AM


Posted by: James at February 10, 2004 12:31 PM

harlow? you mean harlow in the UK?

nice venue they have there..

Posted by: mark at February 11, 2004 12:22 AM

no way! harlow like the all girl gothy band from the VHI show "bands on the run." www.harlowland.com

Posted by: christina at February 11, 2004 01:41 AM
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