Friday, May 23, 2008

That many people still smoke? Jesus.

As alluded to yesterday, The Presidents of the United States of America were indeed elected to rock our asses til' midnight at Sundown in the City last night. Actually, it was more like 9:30, but I had to work a song lyric in here somewhere; it's a hard and fast blog rule when writing about music, right?

For those not from these here parts, Sundown is a free concert series held in downtown Knoxville's Market Square. The series' lineup is mostly lesser known but quality acts with the occasional widely known has-been act thrown in to get people excited. PUSA, or as I prefer PotUSA, is this year's has-been act. Because it's free and live music in general is a good thing, each weekly concert is well attended. This also means that a much broader cross-section of people show up to rock, from seniors cruising around in their Rascals to self-conscious high school goth-punks. The opportunities for people-watching (one of my favorite pasttimes) are boundless.

The opening band was a local group that I've been wanting to catch for sometime, Cutthroat Shamrock. Their brand of music, acoustic Irish folk-punk, has always sounded intriguing and I wasn't disappointed. Replete with mohawks, lots of buttons, and impressive beards to go along with acoustic guitars, a stand-up bass and bongos, these guys really rocked. I'll have to catch them again sometime.

We worked our way to within about twenty-five yards of the stage during the opening set and were in a pretty good spot by the time the Presidents came on (I'm actually not a big fan of acronyms at all). At this point I refer back to the title of this post. Seriously- where did all these teenage-looking kids with bottomless packs of Marlboros come from? I normally don't mind being around smokers all that much because they are usually courteous enough to blow it away from other people, but in a crowded elbow-to-elbow concert situation that's just not possible. What was really annoying, though, was how much the people around us just would not stay still. After the first song starts is not the time to fight your way out of the crowd to go get a beer and then come back trailing eight new friends, all of whom top 6'5". Assholes.

That's a concert, though, and I can deal with it. The flailing arms and lit cigarettes tend to cause a bit more claustrophobia, however, for the barely five-foot set. I was about fed up with the face-full of hair I kept getting from the girl in front of me anyway when Courtney said she needed to get out of there. I needed no convincing.

We would have liked to have taken Wigshop kingpin C.K. up on his offer to let us join him in his second-floor offices above the square at that point, but there was no way anyone would have heard us shouting up at that point had we even been able to get over that way. Thanks anyway, C.K., and congratulations on the sweet location there.

Instead, we fought our way away from the stage and back to where there was room to breathe and that breath was occasionally smoke-free. Only occasionally. And there we were able to enjoy the show like the old farts that we apparently have become.

The Presidents rocked out pretty good. They are a tight little Seattle three-piece that seems to really appreciate the opportunity to play music for people. They spared not a single jump-kick or windmill in entertaining what was a very supportive and energetic, if emphysema-doomed, crowd. Good show. And it was heavy on the 1995, as one would expect. Actually, the lead singer, in introducing the song "Lump" said, "This next song was a big hit for us back in 1870." They clearly had a sense of humor about themselves.

Enter the madness.

Performance art, right? One of those guys that just stands really still.

Cutthroat Shamrock. The bass player is wearing a Rancid t-shirt and the drummer looks like Billy Gibbons if ZZ Top had come of age at CBGB instead of in Texas roadhouses.

In case you can't read it, the sign in the window says "The man who lives here is loony." I just always wanted a picture of it.

What my lady is up against in crowds. I told her to just punch Sasquatch in the kidneys, but she wouldn't do it.

Los Presidentes de los Estados Unidos de America. This is where we started out.

This is where we ended up.

This kid was feeling the rock. We should all be so fortunate. Anybody see "Air Guitar Nation?" Here's your champion, 2018.


surviving myself said...

I envy that kid.

Courtney said...

Sasquatches suck. I mean, that guy should just avoid the front of the crowd altogether, because all he does is block everyone's view. Jerk. Of course, everyone over 5'4" is a view-blocker to me.

I loved that kid, though.

nancypearlwannabe said...

Courtney looks like she might punch YOU in the kidneys right there.

Allie said...

That kid really does rock!

You have a theme of kids feeling the music on this blog, don't you?

It totally surprises me how many people still smoke. We went out to dinner last night and the place was packed. Sometime standing behind my table while I was eating smelled like smoke so badly. We had a whole conversation (loudly, because sometimes I'm obnoxious) about how ridiculous it is that people still smoke.

JustinS said...

Gotta be careful with those guys, though.

I once saw a 20-something woman at a Sex Pistols show get head-butted in the face by the dude in front of her, bloodying (and quite possibly breaking) her nose.

She thanked him for it.

Chick was hardcore.

Mickey said...

sm- Don't we all.

courtney- But you can't really blame Sasquatch for being tall, can you?

npw- From that side I was more worried about my nuts than my kidneys.

allie- It's tough, but there really is no point in being obnoxious about it. I think everyone gets all the facts about smoking by now. It's just annoying.

justins- Never been cool, my ass.

Jacob said...

It seems that the more rural the area, the more smokers. I don't see a whole lot of smoking in Atlanta or even outdoor Atlanta concerts. Where I am now, it seems that half of the people smoke if not more. Knoxville is a city, but not a huge one and is surrounded by very rural areas. That's my explanation.

sid said...

I loved the pictures of the buildings. That kid is so lucky to simply let go within a crowd full of people.

TravelingEm said...

Your air guitar photos scared me before I read the caption. My first year of teaching I had a kid have a seizure in my class; he looked much like your air guitar kid.

Yay for outdoor concerts. I need to find some here. The do a big jazz concert at one of the parks here. Hopefully I'll still be around for it.

Stefanie said...

Poor Courtney. At concerts, more than any other time, I'm very thankful for my height. I'm always looking around at the tiny women at the show and wondering if I'd even bother. I think I'd just get claustrophobic and annoyed. Yep, a punch to the kidney would probably be in order at some point.

Mickey said...

jacob-That could be it.

sid- I agree.

travelingem- It did look a lot like a seizure. Russians are into jazz? That's pretty cool.

stefanie- Yeah, I'm not particularly tall, but I'm tall enough to be able to see through crowds. I feel for the shorties.

Chris said...

Sounds like you should have been in the office building across the street -- with some binoculars if you really wanted to know what the band looked like.
I suppose that would have altered your people-watching perspective, though, and certainly would have prevented good photos of air-guitar kids on the sidewalk.