Sunday, November 19, 2006
Some days it pays to get off your ass.
Thursday was a gray day… from the darkened skies and pouring rain to dealing with yet another layoff at my company. So I was on the fence for Thursday night’s Plimsouls’ show at the North Star (9 pm start, 4 bands, late night) but hoping to rally some support from a group of five that a few weeks earlier all said they’d be going. First… Jon bails, then Frank (wife away), then Pat’s sick and Angelo’s usual excuses. So I tried a boardie but to no avail. No takers. I get home at a decent time (a treat in itself), have dinner with the family, do homework with my son, then we read a half hour together (him Matt Christopher, me the Daily), then we watch Ugly Betty, put my son to bed, watch Grey’s Anatomy, chat with my wife about the day and upcoming weekend plans, put my wife to bed and by now it’s 11:00. Go or no go? I’m going – it’s the Plimsouls! They never play Philly.
Quick trip in the city and I get to the North Star just in time to snag a spot in the parking lot right behind the club (I don’t think I’ve ever timed it right to actually get a spot in this lot before – good omen # 1). I asked the guy if he was leaving and then asked if he knew what band was up. He says his band just played and that the third band (of four) will start soon. Sorry for missing your set, Nixon’s Head dude.
As I enter the club, there’s no doorman. So it’s a free show from now on, people (good omen # 2). The third band turned out to be the Parallax Project, a nifty little Yellow Pills-ish combo from Harrisburg that wore the mid-60 Kinks and Elvis Costello influence proudly on their sleeves (good omen # 3). Highlights included “Whole Different Mary”, set closer “To The Moon” plus cool covers of the Faces “Glad and Sorry” and the Kinks “Situation Vacant”. Cool stuff.
The Plimsouls came on at 12:20 (yeah I was clock watching at this point) and tore into Everywhere At Once' s “How Long Will It Take” (good omen # 4) at break neck speed. Two guitars, bass and drums can make quite a glorious racket, can’t they? From there they did just about everything you wanted to hear – including “Great Big World”, “Zero Hour” “Oldest Story in the World”, “Everywhere At Once”, “Everyday Things” and the timeless “A Million Miles Away”. They also threw in the Kinks’ “Come On Now” and the Easybeats “Good Times”. My only beef – no “When You Find Out”… but that’s a small quibble and not really a Plimsouls song. The band sounded 1983-ish great as guitarist Eddie Munoz tossed off power chords, tough as nails bassist Dave Pahoa (who looked like he could take you out back and beat your ass) added rough harmonies and Peter Case drove the whole thing forward with the enthusiasm of someone half his age. As the set wore on, the years and extra pounds seemed to melt away… and by 1:30 it was over. Sometimes you can go home again.
But where was everybody? Including members of opening bands members, merch girl ("the lovely Sue"), sound guy and bartender - there were 34 people in the crowd during the fourth song "Everyday Things" as I went to the bar to get another beer. How can that be? Next time you’re thinking of going to a show…GO!
Some times it pays to get off your ass.