My Older Bostonian Brother Doug came out for a long weekend visit. We seriously packed it in.
It began with a shabu-shabu lunch at the Babo Cafe (across from organic sausage goodness hut). We sat down at the bar, and they asked if we’d like to watch something on their fabulous flat panel TV. We chose to watch the first half of the Incredibles, in surround sound no less, while we “cooked our meat” in the crazy spicy Tom Yum broth.
Stina suggested that we go to lime for dinner. The whole concept at lime in mini food. The decor is a not subtle mash up of retro and extremely modern seating and lighting. Everything was fantastic, especially the mini-burgers and the mojhitos.
Doug and I passed the evening playing Techmo Bowl, Super Dodge Ball, and Pooyan. This led to many enthousistic announcings of “Pooyan!”. We polished the evening off watching an episode of our favorite childhood game show: Starcade.
I took Friday off. We ended up going on a long hunt for a half moon cookie This was a childhood favorite sweet of ours. Since we were sans car, we proceeded to walk from my apartment, down Haight to Market, then along Market to the Embarcadero. We went into many a bakery – with no success. We had a nice long walk though, capped off with bloody mary’s and pool at Kezars. Pooyan! Stina let us know they sell half moon cookies at the JCC bakery. The jews clearly keep it real.
On Saturday we headed up to our Aunt/Uncle/Cousin’s ranch up in Napa. Even rainy, the place was gorgeous. Our Aunt Vee wasn’t feeling well, but it was great to see everyone. Neither of us elected to get on top of “Cowboy”, the wet bull.
We hit the Mumm winery on they way home.
Sunday we fully embraced our decadence with Brunch at the Ritz. Holy shit. I guess the word for it was sumptuous. I cannot describe all the very fancy foods we devoured. Some highlights were the smoked trout, the apple strudel surprise, unbelievable eggs benedict, and the chocolate soup. I think we ate for over two hours. We walked it off with a long stroll through GG park with his friend Val, which helped the battle in my stomach come to a peaceful resolution. Doug even got a flatted penny souvenir in the Tea Garden.
All was well.
It was great to see Dr. Doug. It was cool to see/meet his bay area friends. They seem like good peeps.
I’ve already unembarrassedly professed my love for Benehanas. I’m cool with it, even if y’all think it’s nasty. Munch my balls, haters.
Well, Benehanas was a strong contributor to the ultimate Friday night. It started off by meeting Jeff and Natalee where dinner is the show. Soup, salad, shrimp, habatchi chicken, veggies, oh my. Fruity frozen drinks. The crazy chef guy made an egg dragon. It was wicked. It’s also conveniently located two blocks away from the Fillmore, where Umphrey’s Mcgee were starting a two night run.
So we wobbled over to the Fillmore after dinner. This has got to be the fullest I’ve ever been walking into a concert. We met up with Zaq, Ryan, and Lizzie. Umphrey’s was raging. They are total music geeks – they love to play in weird time signatures and off kilter scales. They were bringing the heat. Good times all around. They brought up Keller Williams for an amusing vocal jam. We made it most of the way through the second set.
Ryan Kerrigan had been commissioned to do the poster – and it was fucking amazing. I think they might have sold them out, which it totally should have. Its gotta be one of my favorite posters he’s ever done. That’s saying something.
We woke up to a glorious Saturday. It was like 70 degrees out. We kicked it off with some tasty Dim Sum at the Seafood Express place right next to our apartment. Then a long walk around the park. There was a big memorial for James Kim over at the half shell – they had all sorts of crazy origami mounted everywhere and some DJs spinning. Everyone was out – it was simply too nice to be inside.
Later that night, I cruised back to the Fillmore solo for Umphrey’s round 2. I walked in as Ryan walked in. I wasn’t feeling it quite as much, but that might be three days of back to back shows. That and I was starting to feel kinda crappy. I caught Garren Benfield’s set in the poster room during set break. He does all sorts of crazy shit with looping pedals to build up a wall of sound, which he can then sing and solo over. Its pretty impressive. I ran into a bunch of different folks who I knew independently, and found that they all knew each other. There’s the little SF jam band community, right there.
I stuck around for half of the second set, and went home. On Sunday I woke up pretty sick, and spend most of the day watching West Wing. Boo to the sickness, which is kicking my ass today.
I’d been looking forward to Thursday all week. The Phoenix House was having a valentine-ish day party and Assembly of Dust was playing at the Independent. These two events were happening one block away from each other.
Stiners and I headed over to the party nice and early to get things started. There were a handful of people who didn’t know each other lounging around. Most people don’t enjoy this somewhat awkward phase of a party, but I do. All the food and alcohol is at your disposal. You actually get to meet some folks before the party gets into full swing. I was somewhat excited about my snazzy new business cards, so I got a little aggressive with the self promotion.
When things were going full tilt, I took off for the Independent. I sat down only find Dan Lebowitz sitting next to me – doh, he had just played with the opener. What a nice guy.
I love the Assembly of Dust. I’d been streaming them all week of archive.org. They didn’t disappoint. I’m not such a big singer/songwriter fan, but for some reason I love Reid Genauer. He always seems like he’s giving it his all when he’s singing, and his voice just carries the music. The band can fucking jam – seriously integrated musical bliss. I had a great time during the first set. I even slipped Bill Nereshi a general fuzz disc as I saw him wander through the crowd.
I headed back to close out the party during set break. I got to see some folks I had missed, like Dan T! Angel has just started her job doing accounting for Good Vibrations, so I wanted to hear all about that. I think I spend a little too much time having fun at the Phoenix house, cause when I went back to the Independent, the show had ended. Must have been a short break and a really short set. Ah well. It was a fabulous night.
Today I feel like I’ve been run over by a bus, which is an excellent start for two nights of Umphree’s at the Fillmore . . .
I’m a pretty anti-valentines day kinda guy. I find it to be a slap it the face for those not in a relationship, a fabulous excuse for price gouging, and a undue cause for stress. So fuck valentines day. That is, until Tuesday when Stina calls to say she’s seeing flowers, chocolates, and balloons everywhere, and she wants some love.
So I spring into action. I get peperoni pizza (she’s been craving), gummi bears (damn those are hard find), a movie with Ed Norton in it, and a nice bottle of Mumms. We make some popcorn, get tipsy, and watch the Illusionist (pretty good movie).
I woke up this morning, and I keep finding little notes everywhere. Text from our wedding seems to pop up in all sorts of places. Instructions to sing the HBO theme song.
Saturday was perfect. It started with shooting some pool at Kezars with Lars. Turns out they make a very tasty bloody mary at Kezars. Then a lazy afternoon full of West Wing and lasagna.
Then some folks come over for some fun and games. Somehow this evolved into a serious poker game. Fortunately I was able to eventually derail it into a less serious poker game.
Seth, lawyer in training, is a serious poker player. He’s quite helpful to have around, cause he’ll explain how he’s playing the game. I really appreciate his ability to embrace the less serious poker games, which is rare. He was a big fan of “Do it three ways”.
He even went so far as to invent a new game: “Follow JimmyK’s dick into the box”. This is basically follow the queen, only red jacks and black kings are the wild instead of queens. I was honored, to say the least. First, though, you need to open the box.
After three days of basically not leaving my house because I’m scared of the rain, I was going a little batshit. Stina was taking the brunt of it, and by friday night she fled. Well, that is, after a couple episodes of West Wing. Oh sweet jesus, we love the West Wing. I had a couple hours till my show and I couldn’t handle being at home at more, so I headed to the sanctity of the sausage joint.
As I’ve befriended the shop keepers, I’ve learned some fascinating thing about their home life. They have 2 dogs, a cat, and several salt water fish tanks – basically a small zoo. The cat, Okie, thinks its a dog. As a kitten, he nursed on one of the dogs. Now Okie wags its tail and tries to bark instead of meowing. Its sounds pretty freaky. He will only drink from the dog water bowl. If the dogs go for a walk, Okie has to go. If left behind, he will destroy things out of displeasure. Okie gets put on a leash and they are a pack.
I then went to the Independent to catch the Stockholm Syndicate show, which was a benefit for Wally (the drummer) who’s undergoing cancer treatment. I arrived mid opener (Ronkat’s Katdelic Revival), and they were smoking. I was definitely digging it – high energy funky sounds with a solid front man. They spun the dial to 11 when they brought out Eric McFadden. Good freaking times.
I take in the crowd during the set change, and I’m not seeing too many familiar faces. That is, until I notice that I’m standing right next to old hippie dude. So I strike up an overdue conversation with him. He’s a lawyer and ex-dead head. Last year he attended 188 shows. To be fair, a lot of them were on the same day – he’ll go to an orchestra concert, to a rock show, and then hit up the boom boom room for a bonus set of music. He gives me hope that I can one day be the older hippie dude. That’s what I want to be when I grow up.
Stockholm Syndrome take the stage. They are fucking good. Serious rock and roll. Fronted by Jerry Joseph, Dave Schools (widespread panic) on bass, Eric McFadden, Danny Louis (gov’t mule) on keys, and some other hot players. I got some sweet relief for my cabin fever, and got some boogie on. They went through a range of material, and it was good. It finally dawned on me what an amazing bass player Dave Schools is. You should listen to a show of theirs
I’ve been streaming shows of archive.org all week. Its better the internet radio – I’ve been listening to all sorts of great bands. The recent Steve Kimock lineup with Robert Walter has been pretty hot. After hearing Trey talk about the halloween Vegoose show with Phil Lesh – BAM – streaming that shit all day. Some soundboard Dead complements the morning rain perfectly.
Yes, I truly love the internet.
On Saturday night, Rachel, Aron and I headed the Fillmore to see Zero. It was ok. Far to mellow for my tastes, especially with the heavy hitters on the stage. There were moments of greatness, but they were few and far between. I saw Garren Benfield for the second night in the row – he was playing in the poster room. Fortunately, they had a wicked poster.
On Super Bowl Sunday, Stina and I decided to completely ignore football and spend the entire day enjoying the absolutely gorgeous weather outside. We wandered through the park all day, where we encountered a large upside down apple orchard,
an intense angel wine making consortium,
and the worlds best female led zepplin tribute band “Zepparella”
Turns out they were out doing a photo shoot for a press kit or cd or something. I actually saw them play for a bit at the Oracle World party – and they tear it up. They were surpising sweet when not armed with their instruments of total kick ass.
Last night we trekked out to the Connecticut Yankee for Izabella’s CD release party. Rachel, Aron, Stina and I went early to have some dinner. The grub is pretty good there, but the buffalo wings were most disappointing. Fortunately, they have Poppy Jasper on tap, and all was right in the universe. Matt, Amanda, Brian, Seth, Angel, and DanT met up with us, so the good times kept on rolling.
Garren Benfield opened up. There’s some serious talent there, but its tough for a singer songwriter to hold the attention of a friday night drinking crowd. I got to catch up with Sean (the guitar guy from Izabella) for a bit – interesting to hear about the bands evolution to a now 7 piece. Amusingly, they got 6 of them on the stage at once, which is quite a feat since it is a very little stage. There were far more people in the Yankee then I’d ever seen. Good for them.
The absolute highlight of the evening was when Izabella played “Shakedown Street”, and 6 former members of the Shakedown Street house were present – Stina, Brian, Seth, Matt, Angel, and myself. Epic, even though the band lost their place towards the end. I’d been asking Sean to play Shakedown for a while now – it was the ultimate time to bust it out.