Last night I want to see Band of Skulls play at SLO Brewing Co. with friends Tim, Tim, and Jess. I was very excited to go, as Band of Skulls is one of my favorites. They cover all the great musical bases: power chords, bluesy riffs, short and sweet solos, male-female harmonies, and a fantastic quiver of songs.
Well first and foremost I was glad to see the place jam packed. It is tough to gauge the level at which a band like theirs is popular these days. They are not on the radio and I am not very tuned into the pop culture zeitgeist, so there is not telling just how popular they are. Also, the reason I was glad to see the place packed, especially with youngsters, is because I become more and more fearful as the days go on of the death of Rock-n-Roll. I think it is because of the vast attention received by mainstream Country, Hip-Hop, and Pop. And probably also because of the countless articles asking “Is Rock Dead?” And frankly there is simply not a lot of good Rock out there these days. the push towards a more twee Indie approach to Rock has generated a lot of bands that are just downright BORING. But a good Rock show is still the best, and last night was a Really Good Rock Show. It was nothing fancy, just fantastic music and fantastic musicianship. There was even a mosh pit. How quaint.
We were lucky to catch the band at a small club here in SLO, as they have been playing arenas on the West Coast opening up for Muse. As a musician myself, I imagine it would be quite flattering to open up for a band at the Staples Center, but i also imagine it must be a cold, cold experience. A half full arena, bad acoustics, a gaping chasm between the stage and the first row of seats, and a quick 30 minute set. Not the greatest of circumstances. However, for the SLO Brew show they were the headliner, and the club was jam packed and intimate, with concertgoers at the foot of the performers. I see a lot of shows at SLO Brew and there is a very listless energy to many of them. Several are sparsely attended (a testament to my age I suppose, as I, an aging rocker, attend the shows of aging rockers), so it was nice to have a packed club AND good energy, as they do not always go hand in hand. I suppose the best crowd other than last night was a few years ago when Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros came to town right before getting really big. The energy was great. And that show too was filled with youngsters.
So maybe there is hope yet that youngsters will continue to come out in droves and support ROCK. I do enjoy some Hip-Hop, but I think live Hip-Hop is pure torture. One of my favorite shows ever was Ice-T at the Anaconda Lounge in Isla Vista. He did a split set. He rapped for the first half and it was meh. But then, after a brief intermission during which live instruments were placed on the stage, he returned with Bodycount, his brand new hard rock band. They played a ferocious set of songs from their not-yet released first album. It was a truly incredible show. Ice-T is OK at rap, but he is a pure genius at ROCK.
If you have not checked out Band of Skulls, I urge you to buy one of their albums. Even better, go catch them live. They ROCK.