Here I sit, sluggish from my mostly store-bought but still delicious Thanksgiving dinner, killing time between episodes of the House marathon on USA (I've already seen the current episode) and averting my eyes from the debacle that is my alma mater's (TAMU) effort against Texas in the Lonestar Showdown tonight. (Ugh - as I typed the previous sentence the t-sips launched a bomb to the Aggie 1 to set up what will probably be a 33 point lead. By the time I finished this post, they had stretched it to a 39 point lead.)
Nothing exciting is happening today, so I am forced to reminisce about yesterday, which possessed a reasonable degree of excitement. After wrapping up my last "real" day of work for the calendar year, I headed home for some Q.T. with Smells. After a while it was time to rock, and I headed over to Collinwood.
Stop #1 was Music Saves, where I purchased the recently released Danielson retrospective. This purchase apparently put me over the top of the "purchase enough music and get a record for free" bar, so I snagged a gratis copy of Jessica Lea Mayfield's new album. I haven't heard it, but I've certainly seen a bunch of positive press about it. Ordinarily I'd dismiss the buzz as mere homerism, but I did have a chance to see her play at the Happy Dog last winter and she is the real thing. I'm looking forward to digging into the record soon.
Next and final stop was the Beachland Ballroom, which has evolved over the past 15 months to become my favorite place in all of NEO. I got in, ordered up a Genessee tall boy for a mere $2.50 and had a slice of pizza and mini cupcake courtesy of the folks at This Way Out, the vintage store in the basement that was celebrating birthday #3. I like the store and over the year-plus I've lived here I've found a few cool things, including a great long-sleeve beer delivery shirt I gave one of my brother's for Christmas last year and a crazy paisley mini-suitcase still waiting to be given to my baby sister (now 17!) to carry her cds to gigs to sell. As nice as the stuff there is (and, of course, the folks down there selling it), they weren't the reason I was there.
No, The Hot Rails were the reason I was there. I first saw these guys play a quick, haphazard set during the Waterloo Arts Festival and thought it was awesome. Great sense of humor, great stage presence. I've seen them open for bands here and there since, and when I saw they were on tap for the aforementioned anniversary party, I was all about it. The fact that The Dreadful Yawns were also on the bill didn't hurt, and even made up for the fact that To Be A High-Powered Executive was. I don't know why, but I don't dig that band. They are certainly very talented and mesh together well, but I just don't dig it. It doesn't help that each time I've seen them play they've had some lame, too-cute-by-half matching clothing thing going on.
But I digress. I was there to see the Hot Rails and, as an extra bonus, meet up with a new concert buddy and see a couple of cool folks that I had met while canvassing for Obama in March prior to the Arcade Fire show at the same venue. TBAHPE opened and did their thing, followed by the Yawns, which played well but not as energetically as they did the last time I saw them (though that was an album release party or something, so I guess it makes sense). Finally, The Hot Rails hit the stage and did what I was hoping they would do: rock. They started with some J. Geils band, filled the middle of their set with their own tunes, and closed with a two-song Geils medley. Throughout the show they peppered the audience with hilarious merch advertisements and filled the place with artificial smoke, a welcome staple of their stage show. My new concert buddy commented to me that someday, twenty years from now, we'll all find out that shit gave us cancer. Probably so, but you know what? Fuck it. I loved it. And I can't wait till the next time.