I woke up yesterday with my first hangover of the year. Not bad, considering the past half of my life has been spent in a relatively unrelenting state of “Peter Pan Syndrome”. And when it’s not happening often, I find that being hungover can spruce things up a bit. I don’t feel great, but I find things funnier, and it tends to bring out my inner linguist. Hangovers can be the spice of life. It’s kind of like waking up with lemon zest sprinkled on your brain. Just so long as it’s not everyday.
The foundations of my hangover came from the same place as all other hangovers: the night before. After yet another lackluster night at work, I left two hours before close with a bit of a wild hair. I had a plan, after all. Or at least I did.
You see, my buddy Josh Robins from The Invincible Czars was having a birthday party/show downtown at The Russian House, and then my friends in A Giant Dog were playing their first local show in a while on the south side at The ABGB.
My plan was to leave work, go to The Russian House, catch the Czars, haul ass down south and watch A Giant Dog. Two of my favorite local bands in one night! It could have all been so simple. Except for the fact that Invincible Czars went on at 9:00… 15 minutes before I left work. Piss. Oh well, one out of two ain’t bad. Besides, you guys already know how I feel about The Invincible Czars.
So I figure it’s about time I direct my focus on some friends of mine…
I mentioned A Giant Dog in a previous entry. Bassist Graham Low is one of the fellow miscreants I count among some of my earliest friends in this city. We met in the kitchen at Salvation Pizza, “back when it was still cool”. And by cool, I mean that we could eat free food, drink free beer, the business was going under because of a bad Groupon deal, paychecks were bouncing, and we had a pretty bad problem with rats. We even managed to run out of cheese once. But we had a lot of fun. There was a permeable atmosphere of mutual respect and support between the workers there that can only be found in a place like that. As it was, I mean. It sucks now. It’s been terrible for years, in fact. Don’t go there.*
But friendship aside, the truth must prevail, and I will try to be as succinct as possible and avoid mincing words.
The truth, or at least my version of it, is that A Giant Dog are pretty much the perfect rock n’ roll band.
The majority of their songs are short and sweet, they have an immense amount of drive, and while the songwriting is catchy as fuck, it doesn’t drift into the realm of banality. The vocal harmonies whipped up by the Sabrina Ellis/Andrew Cashen duo aren’t conventional; they aren’t your typical 5ths, 7ths or octaves (I don’t have time to explain that, but rest assured, if you listen to the radio a lot, it’s the majority of what you hear). In the modern musical Hellscape dominated by EDM and auto tune, A Giant Dog are a beacon of hope that the world might one day be ruled again by bands with real instruments and raw emotion.
The content is adult. The humor is dark. But there is humor. And these guys have fun when they play. So does everybody else in attendance, unless they’re a complete fuckwit.
A Giant Dog are fetching (har har har) but imaginative; they’re serious talents, but they’re not serious on stage. They’re darkly amusing, and at the same time the between-song banter has a tendency to be somewhat impish.
Their set that night didn’t disappoint. As a matter of fact, I can’t remember ever seeing them and not being impressed or at least driven to move around. So if you haven’t been out to see them yet, do it. Unless of course, you don’t like fun.
I caught up with Graham after the set and shot the shit for a while over a smoke. We went to get a beer, but realized an unfortunate reality about The ABGB – being in a residential/commercial neighborhood, they stop serving alcohol at 12:00. Son of a bitch.
Well, I wasn’t ready to go home, but I couldn’t stay there. So I got in touch with Phil Davidson, violinist/keyboardist extraordinaire for The Invincible Czars, who told me they were meeting at his house for some drinks and.. enchiladas! It was on like neckbone. I was at his house ten minutes later.
My girlfriend and I wound down the rest of the night telling stories, listening to others’, discussing mutual appreciation for bands like Nomeansno and Mr. Bungle, telling jokes, and smacking random round objects with a tire thumper in the backyard. We eventually headed north and made it home at around 3:00 in the morning, after yet another excellent night in one of God’s chosen cities.
*these remarks were made more out of spite for the business owner and it’s new soulless, corporate atmosphere. The food really isn’t that bad.