It’s been a big couple of weeks for WT and her alter-ego “Mama Rucha”, who despite being a humble housewife actually got up to some serious rocking and rollin’ TWICE this month! How did that happen you may wonder? Well, me too.
Here it is:
Tucked up in bed one average school night, probably in a flannel nightie, I was perusing the entertainment section of our local alternative weekly (SNR), and I saw an ad for a show at the all-ages music venue, Ace of Spades. The line up was Panic at the Disco, Patrick Stump and there in itty bitty letters there at the bottom, Foxy Shazam.
Now I had never heard of the first two bands… but Foxy Shazam?! I just about fell out of my fuzzy granny slippers with excitement! Some of you readers may remember that I waxed poetical about Foxy Shazam as the rocking-est new band I’d heard in long time in this post about their awesome video for ‘Oh Lord’!
As I said then, I consider this song my personal anthem to the bittersweet work of parenting and raising another human being. Maybe that’s getting to deep?? Nah.
The passion and the power of this song capture what I would say to my boys if I could, and the lyrics?…. so spot on! Okay, okay…just for fun, here it is again:
So I rounded up some like-minded girlfriends and we rallied to go out to the show, on a Monday night no less. True their kids are older and they are less tethered to the early rising of the preschool-set, still we were all glad for the 6:30 start to the show.
The line of young, Panic At the Disco fans, stretched for almost two blocks when we arrived. By the time we got to the will-call window though most of the crowd, presumably the under-age kids, had filled up the downstairs area and we breezed into the upstairs bar and got a great view of the stage, a stiff mixed drink, and we were ready to rock.
And so was Foxy Shazam! They rollicked onto the stage a few moments later and right away declared their infectious energy and showmanship. “Some people say ‘all the worlds a stage’ ” called lead singer Eric Nally, “but I think that’s bullshit. This is a stage and we’re standing on it…so let’s Rock!” and they blasted into my favorite, Oh Lord.
Foxy Shazam brought it’s ALL right from the first notes. The sound mix on the vocals was a little too quiet, so the full power of their songs didn’t always come through but their physical energy and commitment to putting on a great show totally did. They were as fun to see live as their videos have been to watch, and despite the sometimes zombie-like crowd (here for the headliners), who didn’t quite know what to make of Foxy, the band kept it up the whole set through. It was great, but was far short, and they left us wanting more.
During the long wait before the next band, my friends and I caught up, and befriended another ‘older’ woman in the balcony section. Turns out she had driven her 14 year old son and two friends’ down from Grass Valley “just to see this Panic at the Disco?” she said in a sweet french accent with a questioning lilt. We confessed to only coming for the opener and being generally unhip. We bought her a beer and talked about our kids.
Just about the time that Patrick Stump started his set, Stef, the friend who I drove with was getting the I’m-ready-to-go itch. I just wanted to get a t-shirt I said, peering down from the balcony at an extra special Foxy Shazam tee with a winged basketball motif hanging up at the merch booth. “Hey,” I said “there’s the band”. Stef took one look down at the guys from Foxy Shazam greeting fans and posing for pictures, “Come on!” she said and grabbed my hand.
Here’s the thing about being almost forty. You don’t care about things in the way you did when you were twenty-something. Self-consciousness isn’t so crippling anymore, no more “should I??” and “I’m not cute enough to talk to the band”. When you’re my age, you wanna talk to the band…you talk to the band.
Stef had promised her niece autographs so we hit up awesome pianist Sky White first and then guitarist Loren Turner. They were both super nice, obliging and genuinely friendly guys who seemed truly surprised when we told them that we had just come to see them and were going home now.”Really?” they said.
I got Eric Nally to sign the back of my new t-shirt, like goofs we forgot to get any pictures with them and then poof! , like magic, we were outta there. Revelling in our good fortune on the ride home, (we met the band! we got autographs!) I almost laughed out loud when I saw Stef’s clock. 9:15.
Ten minutes later I was back in my flannel nightie, grateful to be home early on a school night….cuz that’s how mom-fans do.
As soon as I saw the listing I knew I’d be there. This would be my third time seeing English Beat here in Sacramento and they never disappoint. Before I even get the ticket, I know it’s going to be a great show, worth all the planning and effort it takes to go out again, and the only thing I am sure of is to wear my most comfortable dancing shoes.
2 Tone up! Rock steady!
The night started out well, meeting up with friends for drinks at the Shady Lady, a few doors down from the show venue. No driving involved, we were free to imbibe in a variety of the incredible handcrafted cocktails that are the Lady’s siren call. I had a delicious beachy concoction involving Brazilian rum and lime the name of which I can’t remember but the effect of which I can. Smmoooth.
Our little posse ran into some more friends there and together we finally made it over to Ace of Spades as the last of the openers The Snobs were finishing up. Not to be a snob, but I just wasn’t feeling their sound and the volume was so loud that I started having an old-folks moment, wishing I’d brought earplugs and grizzling about getting tired. But then The Beat took the stage.
The thing about an English Beat show is no matter how serious or exhausted or miserly your mood, their infectious sound, pure energy and postive vibes just take over and bring out the best in everyone. Suddenly EVERYONE was dancing. Glad I wore my special pink sneakers, I skanked the night away until I was a sweaty mess. But it’s okay, all those around me were happy, smiling, sweaty messes too. My friend who works as a professional political dude in the state capital by day, looked like he’d jumped in a swimming pool, so drenched was he from the mosh-pit.
And who was in the mosh-pit with him? Old-ish reformed-punks, housewives (like me), high school students, a kid too young to even know what ska is decked out in a fullstudded leather jacket, boppin and grinning the whole night long. Two women ( in their 50’s I’d say) sneaked on the stage and danced like matronly back-up singers for the whole of “Tenderness” before being graciously shooed off.
I saw my yoga teacher there, some high-schoolers whose moms I know, even a couple of Waldorf educators! The joyous melting-pot of the dance floor just carried everyone away. It was a life-affirming trance, and a total work-out.
Dave Wakeling, the incomparable front man and vocalist knows how to entertain a crowd, pace a show and is full of funny anecdotes and stories in-between songs (if you can track along with his cockney accent). The sign of many decades of success is a band that still brings their best to every show and is determined to make it a night to remember for their fans.
My kids are used to the drill by know. Mom plays ska and two tone real loud the morning after an English Beat show. It’s hard to pick a favorite song from the night, each one was so good. I think Ranking Full Stop currently holds the place as my number-one Beat song to skank to. …Turn it up!
(For all-day play, I found the youtube mix for The Beat to be a great place to start relieving the night and recommend it as background music to this post!)
So (at midnight this time) the show was over. And yes, I got another shirt to prove I was there. No autograph this time but that’s okay.
I’m totally satisfied and satiated. Well….until the next time they come around that is. When they do, I’ll totally be there.