2008 sucked. When I think back on this long horrid year, I have almost nothing but bad memories. Personally, for yours truly, it was retched. Sure, I teared up with joy when Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert announced that Barack Obama had won the presidency, but still, I'd like to take 2008 out back and shoot it. Not a slow and painful death, but quick and easy. So long, goodbye, good riddance: I did not have the time of my life.
I was ready to ring in the new year of 2009 right: with a rock n' roll show to save my soul.
I really had no choice but to go to the The Knockoffs show at Old Ironsides. The Knockoffs are legendary here in Sacramento. They have playing together so long that they can't even break-up properly. After over a decade together, they "broke-up," only to "get-back-together" to play a reunion show, which turned into another reunion show and another one, so that it's pretty much a yearly thing now. I had to be present for the latest installment.
Originally, The Brodys were also headlining the show. The Brodys are a retro, pop-punk band that I have seen well over 30 times and they've rocked my socks off at each show. The Brodys cancelled, my heart sank, but I knew the show would still be the best way to ring in the new year.
The show was advertised to start at 9 p.m. In Old Ironsides-speak, that means 10 p.m. Bar shows have a way of starting about an hour after advertised. On the rare chance that the first band would begin before 10 p.m., my husband and I arrived around 9:45 p.m. When we saw the virutally empty parking lot, we knew we'd be waiting awhile before any music hit the stage.
Upon entering the venue, we were greated by Bobby Jordan and Tom H. of The Knockoffs and received Knockoffs buttons made by Sykotic Buttons.
We found a seat and waited, and waited, and waited. I began counting the number of girls that went into the two stall bathroom. Somewhere there's a rule that states females must go to the bathroom in pairs, if not in groups, at all times, whenever possible.
Finally the first band, Pets, took the stage. The band was actually a duo, Derek Fieth on guitar and vocals and Allison Jones also on guitar and vocals. I was skeptical of a band without a drummer so I stayed in my seat, not expecting much. Pets began with a no-holds-bar attitude singing, "Get butt naked and f***." It was kind of funny, and a little catchy, but I still wasn't sure about the duo. Then the petite Allison with the giant guitar began the opening lines to Joan Jett's "Cherry Bomb," and I couldn't help but sing along. (I've only been listening to Joan Jett and The Blackhearts greatest hits CD nonstop since I got it for Christmas).
Before I realized what I was doing, I was standing, bobbing my head along and really enjoying myself. Despite the fact that the band was using a drum machine, something which I normally loathe, Pets were rocking. Derek and Allison took turns on vocals and made the band seem much larger than just two people on stage with fuzzy guitars and a keyboard. A real-life drummer filled in for the last several songs, giving the band an even fuller sound. Pets play indie rock in the style of Le Tigre and Yeah Yeah Yeas that will make you want to dance, dance, dance.
The Knockoffs were slated for the middle spot, guarenteeing to ring in 2009 with some good old fashioned punk rock. The Knockoffs are unique in that Tom H. (guitar), Bobby Jordan (bass), and Danny Secretion (guitar) take turns on lead vocals, while Big Tom pounds the drums in back. The crowd had noticeably thickened by this time with long-time Knockoffs fans surrounding the stage, ready to sing along to every song. As always, the hard-hitting instrumental "Burner Barrel" opened the show, leading into "Rumble in the Housing Project." The band was in fine form and ready to say goodbye to 2008 with a kick in the balls.
A large drunk fellow with the most lovely tattoos on his face tried to act tough spouting nonsense about punk rock, GG Allin and gays (because that's so punk rock). The band just laughed at him and continued to play their blend of punk that is usually loud and fast when Tom H. is on the mic., can be poppy and melodic as with Bobby's "Never Fall in Love," and is sometimes just humorously sexual, like on Danny's "Baby, You Make Me Sit Funny."
Just before midnight the band added some estrogen to their testosterone-ridden rock with the addition of Jessi, the smokin' hot lead singer of the No-Goodniks, joining vocals for the Ramones' "Bonzo Goes to Bitburg." Then it was time to put 2009 to bed. With drinks and party poppers in hand, the crowd at 10th & S Streets counted down the new year together.After the standard "Auld Lang Syne," The Knockoffs treated the crowd to two more favorites, "Wham Bam" and the wonderfully bitter "No Time:"
So when I said I loved you/Well that was just a lie/I've got no time for you/So if you believed me, then I apologize/I've got no time for you.
It was offically 2009 and I had officially sweated out all the bad vibes from 2008. Outside the club, fireworks could be heard ringing in the new year.
One might think the show would end there; it certainly should have, but Th' Losin Streaks had yet to take the stage.
Dressed in matching lounge-player suits, complete with bow ties, the four guys in Th' Losin Streaks were ready to conquer and destroy. They play garage rock that relies heavily on instrumentals, never takes a breath, and never misses a beat. It's the kind of music that will completely exhaust every fiber in your being, as if The Knockoffs hadn't already done that. It was overkill, for me.
After The Knockoffs, I was ready to go home or at least listen to something more melodic and poppy. I stayed because I paid for three bands, not two, but I was spent. The crowd thinned out during Th' Losin Streaks and by the end, most of the people left dancing were filled to the brim with alcohol, but that's a consequence of the band's position in the lineup, and not a reflection of the band itself. Th' Losin Streaks rock hard. Tim and Mike (vocals and guitars) interact with the crowd and play into the feedback of their amps while Stan (bass) dances all over the stage, and Mike (drums) is so intense he can barely be contained behind his set. The magic of Th' Losin Streaks is in their live performance; unfortantely, a bill with The Knockoffs and Th' Losin Streaks back-to-back is just too much unless you're the energizer bunny hopped up on speed.
I left Old Ironsides with my ears ringing, my feet aching, my body freezing, and my face smiling. I was rejuvinated. Welcome, 2009.