On the suggestion of a few friends, I headed over to Barboza last week for a show that had some of the most unexpected elements—both outstanding and upsetting—of any I’ve seen this year. First up were locals Let’s Get Lost. Despite the piddly crowd, I had a great time watching these guys laugh and sing their way through their set. It felt like we were hanging out in their living room watching as they somewhat sheepishly, but still seriously, ran through the length of their songs hoping to get some positive feedback. Though, in the long run they just wanted to have a good time and who gives a crap what anyone else thought. That’s the best kind of feeling I get from a band. That’s when I know they’re doing it because they want to, not because they want to be in the paper or gain notoriety. I think you’ll be hearing more from me about these guys as time goes by… I’m keepin’ an eye on ‘em.
Brace yourselves. The cranky old-lady version of me is going to come out for a couple minutes here: It took River City Extension an hour (possibly even a little more) to set up. They were the second of three bands in a small venue… that’s unacceptable. It may have been issues with the equipment and I’m definitely not bagging on the Barboza staff, because they were great. It just seems to me that having eight people in your band is no excuse for taking that long setting up. Have your shit ready and work on slimming down your time if you have to coordinate with that many bandmates. It took a really long time for me to even crack a smile during their set even though I know for a fact I would have been dancing my butt off had my initial annoyance not tainted my enjoyment. Even after their set, I complained to my friends about the band’s set-up time. I got over it, but I’ve been to a huge number of shows and only one other time had I waited that long. Funny enough, it was upstairs at Neumos for Kate Nash. She didn’t like the way the crowd talked through the opening act (a ridiculous trio of self-indulgent overly-praised teens that shushed us repeatedly when they realized we weren’t paying attention. I mean, come on, their name was Supercute!, exclamation point and all) so she made us wait over an hour for her set. I left after the first three songs because screw that.
Anyway, onto bigger and better things… aka The Drowning Men. They were really incredible even though it seemed the majority of show-goers had dispersed after River City Extension finished up. This quartet of men, dudded up in wares fitting to characters in a sea chanty, had an incredibly fun aura about them the moment they stepped on the Barboza stage (which, not to beat a dead horse, was only about twenty minutes after RCE left it. Now that’s professionalism). They didn’t seem to be putting on an act—their naval theme fit the music to a tee. Yes, some songs were much like a rough and tumble, swinging ballad but there were a lot of good ol’ fashioned, solid rock songs in the mix as well. With a couple guitars, piano, organ, theremin and drums in the mix, the band had managed to balance sounds from their many instruments. Each element complimented the rest as the melody moved forward with effortless and enthusiastic grace. I had totally forgotten my annoyance and found a smile plastered on my face. It’s too bad these guys live down the west coast—hopefully they’ll visit more often.