19 July, 2011

I saw Harvey Milk last night.

Yesterday, whilst putzing around on the internet and shirking my job responsibilities, this cat that Tony introduced me to, John, hit me up on Facebook and told me that Harvey Milk was playing the Triple Rock Social Club over in Cedar-Riverside and thus began my all-day internal debate: Should I just go because it's Harvey Milk goddamnit or should I fall back on any of my myriad excuses: the 110-115°F heat index, how far it is on bike, I'll know only one person there, it's too expensive to drink there, I have to work in the morning, I've got nobody to water my ficus, I don't even have a ficus, I'd go if they were playing in my neighborhood, I don't know how to get to the Triple Rock, I've never heard of Google Maps, it would cut into my getting-blitzed-and-sadly-masturbating-to-70s-porn time or I could just go because it's Harvey Milk.
I am ten dollars poorer and still a little tinnitus-y this morning.
I got to the venue about a half hour after the doors opened to find Myiasis - Minneapolis thrash metal - already playing to about a dozen people. I was feeling a bit sick from the heat and decided to drink ice water during their set. Just to be clear: It wasn't the band that had me feeling like I had to shit and throw up at the same time and that coming out was a bad idea, it was the fucking heat. The same heat that kept me off my bike on Sunday.
But I stayed, though making a note on where the bathroom was because I was sure that, at some point, either something watery was going to beat a hasty exit through my asshole or something chunky was going to depart post haste through my face hole.
After a lengthy wait for the Gay Witch Abortion - Minneapolis noise rock - to start (which John told me wasn't their fault; the drummer was still at work and Myiasis had started super early), my guts finally settled a little bit as I moved closer to the stage and further from the bathroom. I'm not generally a fan of two-piece bands; they have to really bring it before I get into them and the ones that bring it I've probably mentioned before. Gay Witch Abortion brought it and I was actually pretty impressed by the inventiveness of the guitarist, Jesse, as well as the - Jesus, I don't want to use the word "frenetic", everybody says "frenetic"... hmm... blunderbuss* drumming courtesy of Shawn. I will have to check them out again.
So they wrapped up and then my guts started going all Titanic in the Bermuda Triangle on me again and I thought about leaving like a pussy. This was almost as bad as that time Jimmie took me to see Kylesa at Emissions from the Monolith VI at the Nyabinghi in Youngstown and I had eaten some Popeye's that disagreed with my guts.
But then mes héros, Harvey Milk, came on and things were beginning to be right with the world. They opened the set with "Crush Them All" and from there transitioned into "War", both off of Special Wishes, before hitting my favorite song of theirs: "Merlin is Magic". "Merlin is Magic". "Merlin is" fucking "Magic". Jesus Christ, I about came and died at the same fucking time, man.
After that, they played one I can't find on any of their records that I have, so it's either new, a cover, or on their singles comp. After that it's a blur, I know "Motown" was in there somewhere, and fuck you if I can't remember every song they played last night, I think I'm doing OK so far. I didn't sit there with a fucking steno pad and I sure as shit didn't break out my camera phone; I was sucking it all in and experiencing it. Like I want to fuck around with a camera phone when I've got Creston Spears slinging his Gibson Marauder in my face.
Creston was a funny, engaging guy, introducing the band by saying the first band rocked his ass off and the second bad rocked his brains out (accurate, really). When he claimed he was out of drink tickets, a bunch of people went and got the band shots, thus cluttering the stage a little. After one of the songs Creston said it was too nice of us (the audience) and we in the front (Where do you think I was?) should help ourselves to the shots, just leave him one. (I declined because of my guts... and because I totally had a straight-guy-for-straight-guy hard on at the moment and didn't want to take his drink away.) He also told the audience that the night before, the weather man here in Minneapolis had tried to find another spot as hot and as humid as Minneapolis in the western hemisphere and the only thing the guy could find was a spot in the Amazon. Now that's stage banter.
The last two songs of the night were "Lay My Head Down" and "What I Want" off of The Pleaser.
After they wrapped it up, I walked right up to Creston and, over the din, thanked him for including "Merlin is Magic" in the set. He smiled and shook my hand and, mofo, at that moment, I was the gayest straight man on the planet.
But, like any good band, because they're the best band ever in the history of ever, they played an encore and broke out two more of my favorites. First, they broke out "The Anvil Will Fall" (replete with a recording of the string section coming through the PA) off of My Love is Higher than Your Assessment of What My Love Could Be. I looked to my right and saw Laurel from the Black Forest Inn and a small group around her raising their drinks during this section. Not to be out done, I broke out my Zippo and just let the fluid burn. Within seconds, I realized that a handful of people around me had broken out their lighters. It was fandamntastic. After that, they played "F.S.T.P." also from My Love..., and after that one, they broke out "I've Got a Love" from Special Wishes. It was fucking awesome. Yes, that's all one can say: It was fucking awesome. I made it a point to thank Creston again for playing "Merlin is Magic", stole two of Kyle Spence's broken drum sticks, said good night to Laurel and then John and headed home.
I didn't get home until 0030CDT and my ears were ringing and I was sober and I didn't get to bed until 0300CDT before having to get up at least by 0800CDT to get into the office by 0900CDT. My ears are still ringing.

ADDENDUM: The song I couldn't identify is indeed from the singles comp: "I Do Not Know How To Live My Life".

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