by Dan Bolles
Soooo . . . how have you been, Solid State?
I know what you're wondering. Where the hell have you been, Dan? That's a complicated question, frankly. But I'll give you the Reader's Digest version.
I needed a break.
There, I said it. Sometimes, you just need to step back and recharge the old batteries and I sort of unintentionally took last week off to do just that. And I'm glad I did. I really feel much better, thank you.
It's not that I didn't want to write. I sat down a number of times last week with every intention of knocking out a blog post or two (or three). But for the first time I can remember, I stared at my computer screen and it simply stared back. Nuthin'. Every scribe faces bouts of writer's block from time to time, but this was something deeper. I honestly had nothing to say. It was scary, to tell the truth.
Everything I tried to write came out sounding forced and trite, so rather than waste my time or yours, I simply didn't post. Fortunately, Bridget has been able to keep things rolling right along in my absence. She's good like that. Scratch that, she's just good, period.
Friday night I went to Nectar's to catch The Jazz Guys, Sweet Ass Pussy and Heloise and Th . . . er, James Kochalka Superstar. I hadn't seen any of those bands in quite a while and was really looking forward to unwinding with some cold beer and good tunes. As it turns out, that was just what I needed.
Nectar's was packed. I haven't seen that many people out for a completely local lineup in years. I arrived in time to catch the tail end of Sweet Ass Pussy's set, which was thoroughly rockin'. Then Kochalka took the stage and did what Kochalka does, which if you're not familiar with him, can be mildly unsettling.
I was with a few friends who had never seen JKS and new little of James beyond reading American Elf in "the" Seven Days — By the way, it ain't "the" Seven Days. Just Seven Days. Just like it ain't RiRa's. Just RiRa. I hate that shit. And while we're on the subject, why the hell does What Ale's You have an apostrophe? Then again, why does What Ale's You even exist? But I digress.
Anyway, I tried to give my friends the rundown as best I could: Longtime Burlington musician/cartoonist/writer/artist, wrote the the song for the short-lived Fox sitcom "The Loop," yadda, yadda, yadda. Then, just as I was getting to the part about Nickelodeon using his music, off came the pants. Awesome. "Will that be on Nick at Nite?," they asked.
The older folks in front of me — whom I believe were Jazz Guys Maarten and Herb van der Poll's parents — seemed to take it in stride. Being on the shorter side, my view is often obstructed at live shows, and for once, I think I came out ahead as I was never afforded a clear view. But one particularly inebriated dude I spoke with described the proceedings thusly: "He really has splendid nuts." Well played, sir.
The Jazz Guys followed and were in fine form. I still remember their first shows some years ago at Radio Bean. back then, they were one of my favorite local bands because they really weren't very good. Defiantly so, in fact. Now, I think they're one of my favorites because they're really good. But they still have the same flippant attitude I found so endearing when they kind of sucked. It's the best of both worlds really.
They started their show with a special Valentine's Day movie which led to a guest appearance onstage from Jason Cooley. I couldn't find the entire film online, but I did stumble across the trailer. Here it is:
I left between their first and second sets, fully satisfied and a little tipsy. The evening was a great reminder of how much people in this town care about their local music and left me feeling re-energized and grateful. There was a ton of great incredible music to see this past weekend — if anyone caught Apes at the Monkey, I want a full report — and we should consider ourselves lucky to have so many people with such vested interests in the vitality of our little scene. Sometimes you just need a breather . . .