Show: Jaill/The Hold Steady
Venue: Velvet Jones in Santa Barbara
Drinks: Five Newcastles. Thankfully, I didn't have to drive.
Song I Most Wanted to Hear: I really wanted to hear "One for the Cutters" which is the song that finally got me into The Hold Steady after years of resisting them. I even yelled for it during the encore but alas they did not play it. They played almost everything else that I wanted to hear.
Musical Disappointments: I can't think of any. In its way, this show was just about perfect. I was positively surprised that the opening band was Sup Pop's Jaill and they really impressed me, I need to listen to their album more. After their set, I predicted that I had already experienced the high-point of the night, fully expecting The Hold Steady to not live up to Jaill's energy and humor. However, to my surprise, The Hold Steady really blew them away.
How Was the Crowd: An interesting mix of hipsters, old Santa Barbara yuppies and UCSB bro's. I was there with a pretty big posse (seven people) and two of them ended up getting in a fight with some douchebag after the show. The bouncers rushed him out in a headlock and I was faced with the dilemna of either helping him or closing out my bar tab. I closed out my bar tab and found my friend raving outside about how he normally would have killed that guy but was trying to change his life choices. My friend did however take the douchebag's hat as a fight trophy. We're going to burn it next time we hang out.
Superficial/General Impression on Singer's Appearance: Craig Finn looks like a friendly dentist or accountant. It's a little surprising to see him take the stage and proceed with the rocking.
Merch Table: A disappointing lack of vinyl at The Hold Steady's side of the table but they did have a nice selection of t-shirts. I got one with a repeating logo on "The Hold Steady," it was the second best one they had. The best one was already purchased by my close friend Brian and I wanted to avoid the potential deep embarrassment of wearing the same shirt as him to a party. At the Jaill side of the table, I bought their most recent vinyl, their previous vinyl and an old 7" that I was assured was a limited pressing of 250. I also bought a yellow t-shirt for Jaill.
Run-in's With the Bands: Vincent Kircher ran the Jaill side of the merch booth and for some reason I was the only one that rushed their booth after they performed. I talked to him a bit and he explained to me that they changed their name from Jail to Jaill because some German band from the 1970s had the name Jail and they were encouraged to change it to avoid potential lawsuits. We talked about Los Angeles, opening bands, the insane concert bickering of Harlem and various other things. I had him sign their most recent album and he seemed like a very friendly dude. I didn't meet any of The Hold Steady and honestly it might have been for the best, I've heard reports that they are flaming assholes.
Best Onstage Moment, Non-Musical: Craig Finn is always busy onstage. When he is not singing he is usually talking or singing away from the mic, encouraging the audience to clap in double speed (which is fairly exhausting) and he is particularly fond of pointing to the guitar players when they are about to solo.
Best Onstage Chatter: The best onstage chatter belonged to Jaill frontman Vincent Kircher who attacked Santa Barbara for being too cold compared to Milwaukee and having shitty beaches compared to "condom-filled Lake Michagan." Later he told us that Milwaukee has the biggest music festival in the world and that we should really come visit and stay at his house, unless we're allergic to cats. Unfortunately, I am allergic to cats.
Did the Bass Player Look Bored?: I was pogoing for most of The Hold Steady's set and I can't really remember what the bass player looked like or if he was bored. I think he was hidden onstage behind the three guitar assault.
Overall Scientific Rating of Show (out of ten): 8.9