Friday, April 17, 2015

Now Stop. Then Wiggle With It

Western Settings - Lysolgang - Just In Case - Sledding With Tigers (4/17/15 @ The Tower Bar, San Diego CA)

I wasn't going to write a review of this show, mostly because I figure: 1) I don't have to write about every fucking thing I go to, and 2) How many times can I really say Western Settings is good and you should listen to them? But then the other bands played and holy fuck! And, well, here I am.

We didn't get pizza before this show because we went to Mother Earth Brewery in Vista before hand for our buddy Trevor's "surprise" birthday party. Mother Earth currently has my favorite beer, Cali' Creamin', which I'm sure I have rambled about before. My personal opinion though, that shit sucks on nitro tap. I get what it's supposed to do, but it tastes too much like a flat cream soda and not enough like beer. But, you know, that's just me, I have the refined taste of that six year old kid who eats the disgusting sand on the playground and gets worms. 

Anywho, the show! This was the Western Settings tour kick off/vinyl release of their album show. After Mother Earth, Kenny and I had to fly down the 15 at 90 miles an hour to make it in time. And thank god we did, because...

Sledding with Tigers

On the way down, Kenny was kind of explaining this band to me. He kept saying something about he hopes he plays in the crowd like he did last time, which at the time made absolutely no sense to me. But once we got to the Tower Bar right it all became clear. Tonight, SwT was 2 people, one on acoustic guitar and one on banjo. The first thing that happened was the singer declared they didn't need a stage or amplifiers or microphones, so everyone just gather around. What happened next was roughly half an hour of some of the funniest, well written "pop punk folk" songs I have heard. I mean, when you have a song that references shitty 311 and Sublime tattoos, you automatically win. Definitely one of the better things I have seen in a while, and I'm super stoked we made it in time to catch them. 10/10, would see again. Bring on the Space Jam album.

The gather call for beards

Just In Case

Its not that this band wasn't good, it's just that I was just blown away by the previous band, and nothing really stood out about these guys minus the fact that they were really loud and hurt my stupid old man ears. What they did, they did well though. I just wasn't feeling it. 5/10, will need to investigate further. 



Funny story (not really) about Lysolgang, at Awesome Fest last year I ran into the singer Patrick outside of the Office and he had a dilemma, should he stay at Awesome Fest or head down to Chula Vista to see the Offspring, Pennywise, Bad Religion, and the Vandals. He already had tickets to the very 90's punk show, so I told him, fuck it, get your ass down there. Later, when I ran into him he said that was a good call. Now, since then, I have had at least 4 chances to see his band play (twice as an Against Me! cover band) but each time I didn't go, with some variance of the excuse of I don't want to fucking drive to L.A. Well, this time they played in my hood, so I had no choice but to see them, and I'll be damned if I'm not bummed this was the first time. They ripped. They fucking covered Lil' John's hit (?) song Get Low, and it sounded awesome as fuck. Even Matt Caskitt was ready to declare them the best punk band in southern California. 9/10, will definitely see them again (Maybe even in dreaded L.A.) plus I want to download their songs.

Plus that logo. Respect.

Western Settings

I actually stayed inside and watched them play! Go me! 10/10 to me for defying expectations. 

That mullet though. Damn girl

Western Settings has quickly gained and tied with Caskitt as my favorite San Diego band. In an earlier blog, I defied San Diego bands to step up their game, and WS did in a big way*. If you are in one of the cities they are touring through, go out, watch them, and buy their new album Yes It Is. I promise you won't regret it.

That's it. Tonight I will be seeing the awesome Bad Cop/Bad Cop, A Wilhelm Scream, and Good Riddance at Brick by Brick. Go support your local music scene you jerks.

*This is actually a lie. Western Settings has always been good. I've just been a piece of shit. Don't tell anyone. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

You're a Scared Mother Fucker, Go To Church

Andrew Jackson Jihad - The Smith Street Band - Jeff Rosenstock - Chumped (4/10/15 @ The Irenic, San Diego CA)

Last Friday's show was fucking weird. It started off normal, with delicious pizza at Luigi's, then cruise down the street to the venue. Nothing out of the ordinary here!

Except the venue is a church. Like a real life, worship by day functional church. Apparently it is run by a non-profit organization who rents it out for all ages shows, including a "bar" in the back (so what if it's a cooler and a fold up table, they have PBR!) This is the 3rd time I have been to this place, and every time I feel weird as shit being there.

The crowd was a weird mix of X'd out hands children and surly looking old dudes with beards. I'll give you one chance to guess which half of the crowd I fit in with. Before we went in, my body was still sore from the car crash I was in earlier in the week, so I was given a couple of hydrocodone pills. Needless to say, I was feeling a little floaty. Not a fucking care in the world. You probably could have drop kicked me in the face, and I would have just been like, that was an impressive drop kick man. Walking into the venue, I decided to get a cup of wine from the "bar", it being the blood of Christ and all and me wanting to cement my position in hell.

Chumped Jeff Rosenstock

This band gets on stage, and I have no idea who they are. I'm a Bomb the Music Industry fan, so I was excited to see Jeff Rosenstock, but I haven't seen BtMI play in like 3 years, plus I was technically on drugs, plus Jeff kind of looked like a Muppet. So I didn't immediately recognize the band. And on top of that I expected him to play before Andrew Jackson, not "first."

Anyway, once I realized it was Jeff Rosenstock I was stoked. They played songs off their 2 albums, I Look Like Shit and We Cool?. Surprisingly, they didn't play a single BtMI song, which to me, is a good thing (since this is a different band entirely, and you don't want to get stuck feeling like you HAVE to play your old bands songs), but I can tell some people were a little disappointed. They did still have the BtMI-esque 20 minutes of talking in between songs, that I personally love. 

Actually, everyone kind of looked like a Muppet.

Chumped The Smith Street Band

The next band took the stage and I again had no idea who they are. I wasn't sure if it was going to be Chumped or Smith Street Band, but the singer had an unmistakable Australian accent, so I knew it was the SSB. I never really listened to them before this, and they started kind of slow and a little bit boring, so I went to go buy a new PBR and smoke a cigarette and talk to Matt Caskitt and Steffen about the awesome show I missed the previous Saturday (Masked Intruder, Success, Brian Wahlstrom and Caskitt). Eventually I wandered back in and checked out the last few songs, which I enjoyed more this time around. Also, the pills started to really kick in. 

Oh, I see you've played knifey spooney before

Chumped Andrew Jackson Jihad

Andrew Jackson Jihad got on stage, and now I was seriously confused. Was Chumped headlining for some reason? Whatever, just go with it. This is the 3rd time I have seen AJJ, and at first it was a little jarring to see them play as a full band. They came out and ripped through their set, not playing as many songs off Christmas Island as I thought they would. They were at one point joined by Jeff Rosenstock playing sax on the song You Don't Deserve Yourself , and by members of Chumped and Smith Street Band for the song Big Bird. I'm not the biggest AJJ fan in the world, but every time I see them play I am reminded about how hate filled, brutally honest, and awesome most of their songs are. This is where the church thing came into play though, they didn't have the time to do an encore song because the place was on a strict curfew. Bummer. 

Andrew Jackson Jihad featuring one of the Muppets


Turns out, there was some confusion on what time the show started. Facebook said 6. The website said 7. I guess it started at like 6:30, and we fucking missed Chumped. Bummer.

About this time, the hydrocodone started to wear off and I was left with a sore body, headache, and dry mouth. Stupid pills and wine.

All in all, it was a good show. Nothing really super exciting happened, but it also wasn't super boring. I do want to thank Brendan and Julie for buying my ticket and going with me. And I want to say fuck you to that step. Brendan knows which one. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

And If I Wrap My Car Around The Guardrail, It Ain't Got Shit To Do With You

Sometimes you decide to do something a little crazy. I told a few people about our plan and they looked at me like I lost my fucking mind. 3 of us drive from Oceanside to Seattle and back, stopping in San Francisco and Portland, in 4 days. Easy Peasy.

This story starts on a Friday afternoon. I left work early so we would have more time, something that in retrospect is super laughable, but I was at my friend Jessica's house by 4pm ready to fucking roll. Unfortunately our 3rd party member, Kristyn (who's car we were taking), had to wait for her room mate to bring it back, so we didn't leave until about 6pm. But eventually we got our assess on the road and began to head north.

The first part of the trip went extremely smooth. We were up and past the hellhole known as L.A. in an easy 2 hours, and quickly on our way to Northern California at a brisk 80 miles an hour. We had to stop for gas somewhere around Sacramento, and that's when bizarre incident #1 happened. We pull into a gas station, everything is eerily quiet. Then all of a sudden about 8 or 9 cars pull in, bass thumping, rims shinning, and we were surrounded by a rap video with no camera's. People were yelling for no reason, dancing on top of cars, and just kind of having a good time hanging out in the parking lot. It was like some clouds just rolled in, but instead of rain, it brought a fucking party. By the time our tank was full, some rent-a-cops came and broke it up, and the party cloud packed it up and peeled out, and we were back on the road.

I was driving at this point and everyone else was sleeping. It's a weird thing to be driving by yourself on an unfamiliar road, speeding into the unknown. Just me, my thoughts, and the blackness beyond. The sides of the road were completely black, but I could tell just beyond the blackness was some sort of forest. Was it pretty? I had no way of knowing. My thoughts started to wander to places that matched the surrounding darkness. The people I love. The things I regret. People I have lost. If I could just go back and change just one moment, would everything be different or was always destined to lead to where I am as it was? I put on Tim Barry's live album and gave myself a new goal, shut the fuck up and make it to Oregon.

And make it to Oregon we did! The sun started to rise and the nature became visible. I had to stop driving and take a nap at this point, but not before we stopped at an awesome truck stop gas station that had everything from creepy fairy statues to ponchos to giant stuffed dogs to Elvis Presley leather jackets. If I only wasn't on a budget, I'd be the proud owner of some pretty stupid shit right now.


Finally we made it to Portland. First thing was first, we needed food. I remembered from my last time here a really good little place called Broder, they serve Scandinavian breakfast food. I personally loved it, but could tell I was the only one really stoked on the decision. Next stop was Powell's books, a bookstore so massively huge its a little overwhelming. Jessica found a book she had been looking for for apparently ever, Hunter S. Thompson's Generation of Swine. So that was cool. I found a few things, but again, on a tight budget so I had to leave them behind. We had some time to kill, so we drove across town to a little record shop which ended up not being worth our time. We did head for a "Barcade" at the suggestion of Jared, but the place didn't serve alcohol until 5pm and we were already on several days with no booze, so we headed for the Martini glass shaped sign we saw down the street. It ended up being a relatively new bar called The Plank, a kind of pirate/sea themed bar that would become the theme of the weekend. We had to pee and b-lined straight for the bathrooms to the cries of the owner telling us we had to buy something. Finally acquiring alcohol, we shot the shit with the owner and the bartender, a strange fellow who wouldn't look you in the eyes when he talked and stuck his fingers from orifices to glass drink rims with little care. The owner was rad though and gave us a corn dog he was experimenting with breaded with hot Cheetos. 

Also, the Easter bunny was there (at the bookstore, obviously)

After a few drinks, it was time to head off to the main event. Get a steak dinner at a strip club called the Acropolis. This was also one of Jared's suggestions, apparently the guy who owns the gentlemen's club also owns a cattle ranch and produces steaks for the fine diners of Portland as well as his super sketchy club. It was here that bizarre incident #2 happened (shocking, right?). On one of our smoke breaks, we found a group of Canadians standing outside fucking shit housed. The drunkest one proclaimed he could do the worlds best cartwheel, so naturally we got him to do one. That somehow evolved into doing high kicks while the Canadians cartwheeled and chanted my name. I immediately added and crossed that off my bucket list. We went back in to devour our steaks and watch our favorite stripper one last time (She had America themed shorts, red hair, glasses, and chucks and must have been late to work because she came in and threw her purse and coffee on the ground and got to work. She won automatically) and then took off for the 3 hour drive to Seattle. 


Oooooh. Aaaaah.

We got to Seattle and decided to get seeing the Space Needle out of the way. I mean, honestly, how long could you stare at it anyway? After that we headed straight for a hotel because we were all tired as shit and desperately wanted showers. The next morning we headed out to a restaurant that was gluten free and vegan since Kristyn has dietary restrictions, and could finally eat like a normal happy person there. After that we went to another record store and a cupcake shop and this is when things got weird for me.

Warning, it's about to get a little personal all up in here.

So, for most of my life I have struggled with depression. It's something I hate talking about and It's something I'm super embarrassed about. I do not like talking about my problems, and I think it's part of the reason why I am so quick to put anyone else before myself. I've learned to adapt around it (which I know, not healthy, whatever), to hide it best I can when I feel like shit, but sometimes it's written all over me. Normally, I'm at home or close to home when it hits, so I can just shut myself off in my room and curl up and try to disappear. Not so easy to do a thousand miles from home. So here I am in the middle of this record store in Seattle and I get hit with this feeling of sadness and loneliness all because I look at this one fucking human being and know in the back of my head I will never be good enough, and all these fucking feelings I have raging inside of me will all amount to absolutely nothing, because there is nothing further I can do. So I retreat best I can to this really creepy stairwell I found behind the record store and try and calm myself down. But instead the complete opposite happens, and not being in control of myself and not being able to do any fucking thing about it triggers a fucking panic attack (Something else that has been happening with an alarming frequency). So now I'm shaking weird, I can't think right, I'm getting asked a million questions of what is wrong with me? am I having fun? am I bored? and I can't answer a single one because I don't even know what to say and I am on the verge of tears for no real reason. I do finally get a grasp on it on the car ride to our next destination though and go on like nothing happened and just hope no one mentions it again (which thankfully is what happens).

Anyways, next stop was the pier and the biggest Ferris wheel in the United States. The adjacent building had a bunch of creepy wood carved people everywhere, and a look into the shop where they make them. I swear looked like they were currently building a lady wiping her ass after a shit. It was weird. Kendra said we had to check out the gum wall, so we went there. It was gross. So much gum everywhere. On the way though I ran into a guy dressed as Krieger from the show Archer, apparently there was an anime con going on somewhere near by. Then it was a trip through Pikes market place, including an awesome comic shop with a million little nerd things I would love to own, and then off once again to find alcohol.

We ended up at a punk pirate/sea themed bar called The Kraken. This is the place all of our friends bands play at when they are in town, so we decided it would probably be our best bet. It didn't disappoint. The bar tender was rad, the drinks were poured heavy and good times began. Through a series of events, I eventually stuck my entire fist into Jessica's drink and yelled something about "well now I'm fisting your drink" when we were approached by an older man named Swan. He said he was compiling quotes for a book he is writing about weird shit he overhears in places, and wanted to include our recent exchange. He then read to us some of the ones he had already written, non of which I can remember at this point. They were fucking funny though and I honestly hope that book gets made someday because it is a hell of a good idea, I also recognized the guy who cooked our tater tots as the guy from the band Successes new album cover, Radio Recovery. Jessica and myself drank our weight in whiskey, finally able to let loose, but eventually we had a schedule to keep and a long long fucking drive, so it was off the San Francisco we went. 


We eventually took the 101 down the coast through the Redwood Forrest. It was absolutely stunningly beautiful and cool. We stopped at some point on the side of the road to take pictures and shit, and the only thing I could think of was this episode of Parks and Recreation where Lesley and Ben are walking through the Redwoods and Ben just stops mid conversation and says, "Wait. I'm in Endore..." We eventually found that tree you can drive through, and it turns out, the hole is super fucking small and really tight fit to get through. We also drove past the Ocean, which even though we live in OCEANside, was still impressive. Must have been the giant rocks and gray sky. Also, driving the 101 from Oregon to San Francisco takes fucking FOR-EV-ER. If you ever do it, prepare yourself.

Nature and shit


I didn't know the 101 was the highway that crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, something I have never done, so when we got near and I saw signs, I got off the highway to a view point to surprise the sleeping ladies. Unfortunately, it was so fucking windy and cold no one cared, and we crossed into the city. The first stop was Haight and Ashbury, home to past hippies and present scum. And the Grateful dead house. After that we went to Fisherman's Wharf, but the girls got bad news from back home and we were kind of on a time crunch at this point, so we bounced to a pirate/sea themed bar called The Riptide to meet our buddy Jared (who was in town on tour with his band Sic Waiting) and to have a beer before we left. This place was having some sort of acoustic music night or something and Jared of course talked his way into playing a song, which was cool to see. We had a rule that we had to leave the city by 10pm because Jessica and I worked the next morning, but of course 10 came and went, so we settled for 11pm and said our goodbyes and started our journey home.

The good times. They were had.


We had it all worked out perfectly. Jessica would drive for the first 2-3 hours so Kristyn could rest. Then they would switch and Jessica could sleep. I got to sleep the entire time because I had to work at 6:30am. We executed that part of the plan flawlessly, and I slept in the back seat bed we made for a good 4 or 5 hours. At one gas station, I asked Jess if she wanted the back, because it was way more comfortable and she said yeah and we switched places. So now we are cruising down the 5 at 4 in the morning, I'm asleep in the front when I'm shaken awake by the car slamming into the guardrail by the fast lane. I'm fully awake when I realize we have lost control and are flying across all 4 lanes of the freeway. And I almost shit myself when I see that we are about to crash head on into the beginning part of the guardrail next to the slow lane. I have had nightmares of this exact thing happening. We hit the corner part of the guard rail and it kind of sends the car up an embankment and back down into the backside of the guardrail. The drivers side window shatters and we come to a halt on this hill side. After we all figure out we are ok, we get out of the car and some dude called the cops because he thought for sure we would all be waaaay more hurt then we were. We were about 10 minutes from Magic Mountain and all our planning just went to shit. They had to shut down the freeway for a few minutes to get 2 tow trucks in position to remove the car. Yes, it took 2 tow trucks. It was freezing and we all had to pee, so the tow ruck guy stuck us in the truck and put on 22 Jump Street on his phone and asked the cops if we could all pee on the side of the road (after he said he would have just went up and peed right next to the cop car if he had to go so bad. He was pretty cool.) Eventually we got a new rent a car and Jack in the Box for comfort food and headed home. I was only 7 hours late for work!

You were good to us friend

So here I am, 3 days later, still sore as shit, and minus the hiccup at the end, the episode, and the bad news for the girls on the road, it was some of the most fun I have had in a long while. Not showering, experiencing new things, and just hanging with good people really does wonders for your soul. I highly suggest grabbing some buds and hitting the road. 

Also, Seattle totally won.

First of all, it's Dr. I'll Solve Your Ant Problem

Friday, April 3, 2015

Dear Colorado - A Wrecktrospective

The following story takes place in January of 2012...

Lindsey is definitely my best friend. The first time I met her I'm pretty sure I told her I was going to steal one of her dogs. The second time I asked her if she wanted to go see Frank Turner with me. After that, BFFF's. She is the reason I know about most of the bands I love. She introduced me to the DIY scene and is the reason I go to so many shows. We have matching tattoos for fuck's sake.

I remember distinctly being at work and getting a text from Lindsey that said, "Hey, I know it's short notice, but do you want to go to Denver in a few days to see Hot Water Music and The Descendents?"  I had never seen either band play at that point, so what the fuck was I supposed to say? No? Please. Fast forward a couple of days and Lindsey and myself are packed into her Honda Civic on our way to Colorado (She doesn't fly). The plan was to take turns driving straight there, since we had a place to stay once we arrived, which turned into myself driving 90% of the way. Somewhere in the middle of the night in Utah, I think, we hit a little snow storm, which I was fine with. It looked like driving through hyperspace in Star Wars. But Lindsey freaked out and made us stop and get a hotel room for the night. Which in retrospect was probably a good idea, we didn't have chains or whatever you do in snow and I was busy pretending to be piloting the Millennium Falcon.

Eventually we trudge through the foreign weather and make it to Denver. We end up at a bar called Illegal Pete's because Tim (Elway), Garrett (Red City Radio), and Jay (Nothington) were playing an acoustic show there. Look, here's the deal, the altitude in Denver ain't nothing to fuck with. People kept telling me, watch out for it, you will get way more fucked up. But I was like, "Fuck that, I'm basically a functional alcoholic, air can't do shit to me!" Well, a shot of whiskey and a few beers and I was already drunk. A few more shots and beers and I was blacked out. The bartender was really nice and kept feeding me drink after drink after drink. I only remember 2 things from this night: 1. Tim covered Andrew Jackson Jihad's Brave as a Noun, which I left my drinking post to scream along to. 2. My old friend Melissa, who is from out here in Carlsbad, surprisingly was working at the food counter, and hooked it up with a Denver burrito (resulting in a 3 hour rant about how it had bell peppers on it and I fucking hate bell peppers. I was told about the rant later).

I woke up the next morning on a couch to a stranger smoking a bong in the recliner next to me.

"Hey man, want a rip?"
"What?" I replied, "No. Thanks man. Hey, Am I in Colorado?"
"Yeah, dude. Fuck, you look like shit. You want coffee? I need coffee. Let's go get coffee."

And then he took me to get coffee. We fast became weekend best friends. We were not really sure where anyone was, and were to lazy to even fucking look, so we just decided to nurse our respective hangovers watching Louie. Eventually, we all regrouped and were lazy as team. Finally after watching about 3 movies and taking "naps" (a little obvious guys) we headed out to go to the main event of the weekend. No one had any idea who any of the opening bands were, so we stopped by a liquor store and got some bottom shelf whiskey and some tall cans to drink in the alley near the venue because we are classy as shit. Eventually we went in and watched Hot Water Music who was amazing as always. By the time the Descendents played though, I was feeling sick again, mostly because I stopped drinking because this place was one of those $10 Bud Light places, so I hightailed it to hang out as far away from the crowded center of the venue as I could get, and just sat and watched them. Afterwards we tried to go out to a bar again, but it was too late for me, the redrunk descent had already began and I was done living for the day.

The entire weekend was filled with drinking, debauchery, and I think we tried to play a game of basketball at one point. It being Colorado in January, I don't think it went so well. On our last night, we went to go sing karaoke at a bar and the DJ was this weirdo guy who talked shit on everyone and was on American Idol once. I think I sang Danzig. We were supposed to leave at like 8 or 9 in the morning, but 2 am rolled around and we said fuck it, lets go now. We had had our fill of Colorado.

Pretty sure I drove 90% of the way back.

Lesson learned: Fuck altitude and fuck bell peppers.