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Monday, July 20, 2009

Meat Puppets and Stone Temple Pilots @ The Borgata Event Center 07/18/2009

Atlantic City- And already we've reached the seventeenth installment of the Jay Porks Never Ending concert series and the 2nd leg of this years Jay Porks Summer Concert series(last year STP was a part of that as well) on this amazing day weather wise here in Atlantic City, NJ at the Trump Marina located across the way from the Borgata hotel and casino. Tonight we will all be witness to The Meat Puppets and the Stone Temple Pilots sharing a stage at the Borgata event center. I'm going have to be honest this was a last minute thing. I wasn't buying tickets to an STP show ever again after the PNC debacle(refer to the blog posted 5/31/2008) but I'm on a mission to get to every Meat Puppets show that is anywhere I can get to so I bought it on like sunday night monday morning. It's strange, I have this thing where I enjoy hearing the live music of legendary, great bands-hence the Meat Puppets for a 5th time. Bare with me as this review isn't posted until a full night after because this hotel is having problems with the WIFI connect.

I walk up the steps into the Borgata casino and Hotel after I checked into my room at the Trump Marina and dude-the Borgata- that's high class right there. Freaking huge too, I almost got lost on my way to the Event Center which is inside the casino. Air Conditioning blasting in this utterly beautiful establisment. The place is amazing, like something I've never been in before. Millions of slot machines and poker tables and scantly clad ladies serving drinks. But no time to party, must get to the event center and try and find Cris Kirkwood(never found him).So after about two miles or so (it's an exaggeration of course) I saw an escalator that led up to the event center. Lets rewind a second because something with this night is prevalent. I had a Meat Puppets shirt on that I ordered online, and right before I walked into the Borgata around 7 o clock I noticed some dude tapping his girlfriend and mouthing to her “dudes got a meat puppets shirt”. I didn't realize until then that this would be happening to me all night considering the Meat Puppets were just added to this show a week ago. Some guy stopped me and said “wow man that's a cool shirt, I saw them in 94 with these guys(referring to Stone Temple Pilots)” and I said “yea man that's what I said, it feels like 94 with the Pups and STP sharing a stage” and with that his reply was “They're playing with them tonight? That's really cool” then quickly spits out “hey man you don't know where I could get a 50 of blow anywhere do ya?” I said the truth, “no” and he was said laughing “I figured hey why not give it a shot ya know” and I said “ Oh definitely, I'd be doing the same thing if I needed something.” Up the escalator I see people who are headed down on the other end noticing the shirt, and some drunk dude was like “yea man, awesome shirt”. I was like a frickin' rock star man. I made it up to where they sell the merch and there were only STP tee shirts and I have one already so I didn't even head over there-I didn't see the Meat Puppets dude Dennis I saw at mercury lounge so I grabbed a beer and headed inside the actual venue.

Imagine you're middle school auditorium. You know how there are seats that get higher as they get up but there's still seats on the ground level? Well, picture those seats gone and a way too much space in between the wide opening and the seated area. It was pretty big, but really tacky considering I'm at the friggin' Borgata like, come on. So 8:15 rolls around and Ladies and Gentalman, The Meat Puppets!!!

Let's get one thing straight, Curt Kirkwood can fingerpick with anybody you have lined up. Being that I did not have an opportunity to be up right in front hence all the STP fans being crammed up there - I got to see the Puppets full big stage(this stage is bigger then most clubs I've seen them at in there entirety) performance from behind where most of the people in the standing room section were. I'm usually in Curt Kirkwood's amp. Like I said I had only seen them in small clubs prior to this; but I gotta tell you they pulled out all the stops tonight. I enjoy that some

times when I see them it appears as if Curt is trying out new stuff with or maybe even polishing up some old stuff with his "GEEE-TAR", pedals(I don't even know if we call those solos-just long psychedelic jams away from the song and swings back), creating new sounds etc. But seeing it all perfected, seeing it all exactly how they planned it to be; so tight, yet so loose. So into it, this is also the first show I've seen where Curt had his hair down and not in a pony tail. Again, most likely because he's not in a sweaty club like we usually are. And the sound translated so well. Like, everything was on cue. Led it off with “Oh Me” and once I heard the first chord of that I knew we were in for great set. It was adventurous at times but in an amazing way. Usually people don't recognize the song until half way in because it's usually so purposely distorted that they make it difficult for you “3 songers”. That's what I'm calling these people now, the ones who show up to Meat Puppets shows for the three songs covered at the Nirvana Unplugged and have no other idea what any other song is. A dude after the set asked me(when he noticed my Meat Puppet tee shirt) asked me, and I'm not kidding- “Hey man, what's the name of that last song they played? I know its a Nirvana song,
but they played a cool version of it. I said “It's a Meat Puppets song, it's Lake of Fire”. He surprisingly replies “ now way, really? Wow” Dude had to be 15 years older then me. Come on. Anyway, back to the set-after “Oh Me”, they were tuning up and I said “Touchdown King?” and sure enough, they broke into it. It was like me and Curt were like synced and shit. It was weird. Then a song from the new record called “The Monkey and the Snake” which has Curt whistling over finger picked melodies that were (to me at least) mind blowing. At times they could be so sweet and calming but then mid song Curt hits a pedal and blows the place up-and it's freaking awesome every time. Then a sudden change of pace, as they burst in “Backwater”, forth song in there set. I believe one of two factors contributed to this decision: A) They wanted to get the STP crowd won over or B) To piss off the people who are only showing up for Backwater and know they usually encore with it. My theory is that it is the ladder of the two. And that kicked ass because the crowd that was there so far started to rock and probably saying to themselves “Ohhh yea I remember this song.” Then Curt lightly strums down three times and I said “Plateau!” and once again I hit the nail on the head. But here we are 5 songs in and they've already played the 2 of the 3 songs for the 3 songers. Then we were “Commin' Down” down the mountain as they played the acid folk/country classic song off there 1995 record 'Too High to Die'. After that I put the camera down for a second because we got into “Look at the Rain”, a great song to hear live-a total different experience from any recorded version. Then I heard a familiar song that I couldn't name. I figured it was a song I hadn't heard in a while, then all of a sudden I hear lyrics about a”Tennessee Stud ” and I'm like “wait a second, are the Meat Puppets doing Johnny Cash right now?” How cool is that. Even cooler is that it's a Jimmy Driftwood song(and its probably someone else's song before that) and Cash only made it famous(as he normally does). The solo was frickin' insane-this show is totally rocking. Then it was an 8 minute version of “Up on the Sun” which had Curt Kirkwood acutally looking thrilled to be there, rocking back and forth getting into it with Cris, just taking us normal human beings up on the sun where they reside. The guitar sound Curt had going was mind blowing and god like during the time they totally killed it during the song and then I hear a soft melody. I knew it was Lake Of Fire because that's what they always do- they try and sneak it in there loud and really fast generally. I mean, they get through the lyrics part fast and then just kicked ass for a about 8 minutes until They some how found there way back into the song to end their amazing set. They went off at 8:50 with a ten minute version of Lake of Fire to end it. Wow. Right when they went off I knew the ticket was well worth the $95. There's not a chance STP tops them, in my eyes anyway (and I'm the one with the blog). I just wanted to be back Up on the Sun right all night.

So I head out to concessions for a beer(beers are actually a moderate $7, at a casino I'm going to call that cheap) and I'm headed down the elevator as someones headed up and dude is like “How was the set?” after seeing my shirt I shook my head, widened my eyes and said “Crazy” with like this blown look on my face-it was my true feelings. That set was absolutely the best set I've ever seen them do live-everything was perfect- it's like, the only thing I could complain about is that I couldn't get close enough to the front and I wish they played longer. Two things the band itself has no control over.

Stone Temple Pilots are set to hit the stage at 9:15 says the event staff right in front of me(this is the guy that will later tell me to stop recording), as not I'm leaning on a railing but I'm all the way left of the stage where there's a gate blocking half my view but still better then freelancing in the back with all these people who should' have been on there high school basketball team-why is everyone so damn tall all of a sudden? Anyway, at like 9:25 I turn to people next to me and I'm like “Here we go again”, referring to the May 31st 2008 STP/Filter show at PNC Bank arts center. But they came out at 9:32 or so(event staff probably lying pricks anyway) and then it was on. There's Scotty Weiland in a suit which we all know will slowing be undone over the course of the night. By the second song (Wicked Garden)in they were rocking the joint. Scott looked on point , And Rob Deleo really showed me how much of a factor his bass plays into the sound of this band. He was rocking, with the shades on looking all 'Joe Cool' style. Dean is over all the way on the other side of the stage from me, but he is tearing it up over there. Lit cig hanging from his lips and head swingin-totally rocking. During “Vasoline” I distinctly noticed that the band was really tight, really going after it. They played a few new songs, says Scott in between”Big Empty” and “Lounge Fly”. He also announced to a roar from the crowd that the band is in the works of a new album. I guess Weiland realized where he cashes his checks; it's not with those lame solo efforts. They played a lot of my personal favorites (as they did at PNC). They got into a really cool sounding “Sour Girl”, “Creep” was where I noticed how packed the place had gotten. Everyone got into “Crackerman”. Then the climax for the crowd(besides the encore) that night was “Interstate Love Song”. They played a new song after that, good move on there part. There was also some crowd participation when Scott would hold the mic out and have us sing the chorus. True bred arena rock. I don't kill them for it like most critics because I don't let the fact that they like big crowds effect me liking the music. “Down” was amazing, I was screaming lyrics to all these songs attempting to blow my voice box out. I'm in Atlantic City in the Borgata seeing a crazy rock concert-life is sweet right now. Then “Sex Type Thing” I thought they were going out on cause they played the shit outta there instruments on that one but they followed it with “Unglued”-another one of there songs I really love. Then they ran off stage at 10:55. Killer set. Waiting for the encore, loud chants of “S-T-P!, S-T-P!” from the crowd as they ran back out to play “Dead and Bloated” and ended the night with “Trippin on a hole in a paper heart.” 11:04pm was where I clocked the show ending. Great set-good, professional band(if Scott is on the his hinges of course). Good to see them again, it was awesome.

Not as awesome as being in AC and catching the Meat Puppets again though! Wow, I need to recap how good they were. All I keep thinking about is that show and sometimes when I day dream I'll close my eyes and go back to it. It was such a great set, such an experience not only to see them for the fifth time but to catch them, and then head up to my hotel room I paid $320 for to write this review. There was not one thing about this trip, show, adventure that I can say I didn't like. Everything was so amazing. But the highlight of course is Saturday night 8:01pm to 8:55pm. Unforgettable, indescribable and overall the best night of my life. Sitting in the bed of my hotel room looking out at the Borgata, I can't help but think how fulfilling this show and trip were. Indescribable.

I don't have any tickets purchased, I'm wiped man. I'm catching the Meat Puppets again in November at the Bowery in NYC but I haven't bought those yet(they're not on sale I don't think). As I normally say at the end of these things, thanks for reading if you made it this far and check back within the next couple of days as I will be adding video from the show to this page. Hope everyone had a great time, because I had the time of my life.

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Germs @ Mercury Lounge 7/2/2009 (For Bobby Pyn)

He was once Landon Carter-Now he's Darby Crash. I'd like to welcome everybody back to the Mercury Lounge for the sixteenth installment of the Jay Porks Never Ending Concert Series. Tonight, I had the honor and the privilege of seeing The Germs, a band I have missed playing in NYC on many occasions. Not this time, bought my tickets around midnight last night. With public transportation not being friendly to me, I showed up about 9:30, same time the opening act 'The Krum Bums' were hitting the stage; The Germs slated to hit the stage at 10:30.

As we all know, the original lead singer of the Germs, a man by the name of Jan Paul Beahm later known as Bobby Pyn and then even later and most infamously Darby Crash is dead. He had “overdosed on China white heroin in a suicide pact with close friend Casey Cola,” And if her name isn't storybook enough here's the kicker- “who ended up surviving”. At the age of 22 in 1980 Darby Crash and the Germs were done. In the rock and roll history books the Germs are one of the first and most influential L.A. Punk bands to come out when punk was forming into it's own. Put it this way, your band has to be good if Joan Jett was so much of a fan that she produces your only record. Crash's death gets overlooked in hindsight due to the fact that the very next day he committed suicide another rock musician died. Some guy named John Lennon, you may know him.

As mentioned before I walked in at about 9:30, just in time to pick up my Germs tee shirt for $15 and a sticker for $1. Then on my way to the main room I grabbed a Heineken for 7 bucks. The Krum Bums seemed to have just started there set. They were loud. Almost every band member (5) had a mic and was singing harmony somewhere on a song-or should I say screaming harmony. The lead singer set the table, he had a Rancid style mo hawk and tightened up in leather. The band looked like they were Punk, but they played this loud, heavy all over the place hardcore stuff. You all know the riff, really fast and as loud as possible then the complete 3 second stop and back into it. We've all seen this one before. By their third song (or by the time I finished that beer), I had enough and it was time to go back outside and schmooze with my fellow punk rockers.

I was smoking a cigarette when I noticed Pat Smear sneaking into the door avoiding contact with anyone with that same old smile he's been rocking for 30 years. The Mercury Lounge is great spot because there are so many other bars and hot spots on that same stretch of blocks that the tail that passes by this place is amazing. One chick had on a pink dress thing on and the skirt was really short (don't worry this part of the story goes somewhere), boobs almost coming out and she just looked way past drunk. She was with someone who looked like her boyfriend and they headed in. 10:30 was coming up on me fast, so I headed in to try and nail my usual front row spot. I get up front, and I see that drunk chick lying on the steps that lead up on stage. Now she stumbles up, and she's in full slut mode by now lying on stage lifting her legs up, bending all sorts of ways and she's asking people if they have “connections”(to the band). Right now I'm thinking “damn, her boyfriend is going to go ballistic” but there was no boyfriend as she stood up and began to have her right boob pop out of her dress. And it wasn't even debatable, there was full nipple out. She was posing for pictures but is so whacked that she doesn't know her tit is hanging out while shes making these faces towards cameras. She was up there about ten minutes before event staff (one of the two dudes who are the event staff) tries to get her off stage and she's trying to make out with him. Then he escorts her out while myself and others booed the guy. I blurted out “hey, she coulda make a great riot girl.” The house music they were playing before the Germs came on consisted of heavy punk rock-and I can't believe they play D-7 by The Wipers. That was cool. But to the main event

About 10:39 here come the one, the only, THE GERMS!! On drums dressed in cub scout attire and a furry viking cap on was Mr. Don Bolles, he's a funny guy. Playing base the lovely Lorna Doom, who was outside on several occasions I just didn't know it was her. To be honest, she looked kind of like a high school teacher, but I got to tell you when she strapped that bass on-what is she 50 something?-I'd hit that. On guitar the one and only Pat Smear who gained more notoriety in the mid to late 90's when he played guitar in Nirvana for their In Utero tour and then with the Foo Fighters. And taking the place of Darby Crash, is Shane West-sporting a mo hawk and a glove on one hand that he said was “in memory of Micheal Jackson”. Shane West starred as Darby in the biopic of the Germs titled “What we do is secret”. The band members were so impressed with his portrayal that they decided to have him be the front man and reform the Germs. Don't think I'm fooled. In 2002 my girlfriend at the time dragged me to see “A Walk to Remember” starring Shane West opposite Mandy Moore. So it could have gone one of two ways: I could have enjoyed a great punk rock show or I could have made fun of this guy for an entire passage.

As soon as the first chord was strummed complete hell broke lose at 212 E Houston Street. I usually mean that in a figurative sense-as in the atmosphere, head nodding, etc. This time when I say hell broke loose I mean I'm physically bruised from the hardcore moshing and dudes jumping on stage and attempting to stage dive. I'm right in front, I'm getting pushed into other people constantly while trying to hold my camera steady because I was taking really long videos. I think Pat was trying to knock my camera out of my hand with his head stock, he was whaling away. Pat Smear,
definitely under-appreciated punk rock guitarist. He uses one switch, no pedals. The overall way he controls the sound of each song with how powerful his playing is. The riffs bleeding through the amps in unison with Shanye West's (He called himself Shanye- yes like Kanye)

rambling aggressive lyrics and style. He was nuts. He fell
off stage at one point I may have it on video, he had the Henry Rollins lean into the crowd thing going. He spilled water on us. Like I said before he was once Landon Carter and now he's Darby Crash. There were three main people that really kept the mosh going. I'm not even sure if it's a mosh it was just like a couple dudes bouncing off each other and slipping on the wet floor. Everything was with reckless abandonment except when one of them fell to the floor-that was when they were brought back to their feet quickly by their fellow moshers. But one of these dudes got on stage, sang some lyrics into the mic with Shanye, dived off stage and was caught by people, and then tumbled off of that crowd and landed into vacant space on the floor-trust me he hit the deck hard. But hey man, we're at a punk rock show this kicks ass. You could see Lorna smiling when she sees this, as if she's proud that there's still some people who know how to have fun. I mean, I'm bruised up, got poked in the eye, slapped in the face and my hair pulled and I was NOT participating-I wonder what these dudes will feel like in the morning. No one fought, people even lit up cigarettes and no one cared. They played every song in their catalog in about a hour, they went off stage 11:43pm. Such a fun time, so hard rocking. So punk, so.. well so friggin Germs!! amazing.

Keep checking back in the next couple of days as I will have added some videos to this. Thanks to everyone who gives a crap. Next stop is the Borgata in Atlantic City- Stone Temple Pilots with the Meat Puppets opening! going to be insane