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Column 7 – Part 1

Don’t sincerely ask me, if you aren’t prepared for my sincere reply.

“You need to get out more” Sara, my co worker, judicially brings to my attention last week. “All you ever do is sit at home in front of your computer”

“That’s not true. I …” but I stopped, realizing that the observation was partially true.

Most of you know my wife, Sarah and that we do stay in a lot. That is mainly in part to how I feel about paying off our college loans, and everything you do, kind of costs money. (PS, I just paid off my mine, thank you, thank you. I am very proud.)

I’m an artist, she’s a teacher. What’s more, she teaches in a parochial school. It’s like we looked at the bag full of high paying careers and said, “No sir, not for me. I’ll take a lifetime of struggle over wine and cheese for breakfast any day.” Besides, we don’t really have many friends left in the area. I have two in Grand Haven, and we have one couple we occasionally hang with here in Grand Rapids.

Wanna see us play? Doya Doya?

My coworker Chris approached me last Monday, “Hey,.. so my band will be playing at the Blue Note in Muskegon on Wednesday. I know it not exactly close, but, you should go”.

This sparked my usual penny pinching internal debate. I could spend money on gas, money to get in to the Blue Note (BN) and have at least one drink, and who only wants to stop at one? Or, I could sit at home and play the, “Watch-my-butt-chunk-multiply” game and not spend anything.

I was trying to find other reasons why we should make the trip, other then the main one that we wouldn’t be around after August to see him play again. The bottomless pit of never-ending headaches that is my transportation needed some more of my attention. A body repair I had done in January while still living in Grand Haven, specifically the molding, was pulling away from the passenger side door. If it wasn’t bad enough that you can’t count on people to do something right the first time, I had to zip over at blinding speeds right after work because the repair shop was only open till five, and not on Saturdays, no exceptions. Not even for botched repair jobs.

So, we went…

The hammer was dropped, the decision made, off to the dust speck of a town that is Grand Haven. We took care of my car and we hocked some food at my parent’s house since we saw hers for the fourth.

After dinner, I gave the two friends I had left in Grand Haven a call to see if they wanted to go with us to Muskegon and see Chris’ band play, have a drink, and catch up.

“I don’t know about bands, they seem like the sinful work of the devil” one friend said. “But you can drink copious amounts of cheap beer” I countered and this seemed to appease their conscience, or drown it out in ale. In the end, both wanted to come and the party was started.

(The band does have a name, Unknown Common. Don’t ask me what that means, cause I will give you that stupid look you give when you ate the last breadstick at dinner, that was actually supposed to be your sisters. I will be referring to the band as “UC” from here on out.)

After taking the back way to the BN, which involved going four miles too far north and then touring the exotic and tropical “suburban” environment of the typical living and breathing muskegonite, we still made it there fifteen minutes early. However, our overly prompt arrival worked to our advantage. The BN must have a loser policy. If you are stupid enough to come out to a bar at 9:30 on a Wednesday night, we won’t make you pay to get in. So, no cover, which means, more drinky drinky.

Beer tastes real good with music

UC got on right at ten like Chris promised, and we stayed until the end of their set.

We had a good time. Miller Lite pitchers were cuatro dollares, and the toothpicks were free, oh yeah.

Even Sarah had “At least one whole mug” which at the BN, is about half the size of a normal stein, and three quarters the size of her stomach. I knew it wouldn’t be long before her increased giggle ratio at my retarded jokes would be followed by a tummy ache. Translation, this is Sarah’s dainty girl way of saying big greasy flatulence.

Laughter was as prevalent as the beer. Megan brought along her culprit in crime, conveniently named Sara. (I know a lot of Sara’s) Picture Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble, but more female and definitely more funny and you will get an idea of their interaction.

For example, I felt the thumping of redundant pop music at Rush Street, a small Muskegon dance club next door. “Hey, we should poke our heads in next door.” I suggested with a collegiate nostalgia in my eye.

“Oh, Totally.” Megan said with a giggle.

“But it’s a Wednesday and it’s dead in there. We have to come back sometime on the weekend, on a Friday night.” Sara added with an evil smile, as they kind of bumped shoulders and laughed in agreement.

“Why” Carl asked in disbelief that it wouldn’t be even worth it then.

“It’s funny. It’s all of these 18 year olds…”

“Hormones!” Sara burst out mid sentence, and their giggles turned into strong gusts of laughter.

“They’re all hooched out.” Megan continued, and as her tongue met the roof of her mouth to annunciate the end of “out” when we saw Sara angle her hips down and back, her thighs gave way as her elbows met above her head, her arms together and she did that unequilateral booty twist, “Shake what your momma gave ya” she demonstrated with a little groovy attitude.

Megan joined in, and I about cried laughing as the Flintstone girls were doing something like the Bedrock rumble, but with a lot more ass.

But not to get to get too far off track into demonstrations of the raging hormonal teenage lifestyle.

The concert starts

Chris came up to the mike and said something in garbled live band speak. I made out some comment about the name of his band, and the name of their opening song. I turned back around to the rest of the group to translate.

“What’s their name?” Megan shouted over a blaring guitar riff.

“Unknown Common” I roared, leaning into Megan so she could hear me over the blasting system.

That set the conversational standard for the rest of the night. We shouted to communicate and the drinking didn’t help our comprehension.

Sara pointed out with Pride, “I came here when Warrant played.”

“She’s my cherrrieeee pieeee!” I screeched out, playing my air guitar and wrinkling my nose.

“Yeah, and even they played some covers.” She added as we paused in reflection midway through the opening song.

“I would like to hear a local band play good covers, badly, more then I would like to hear them play their own music”, someone else added.

“They’re kind of shouty. Its like, they’re trying to sound like Metallica. Listen. Their riffs seem to be going some where, but never quite make it there.” someone else added.

We sat in silence for a little bit and then someone else added,

“You know when a band has it. I mean, I might listen to a type of music, blues, rap, whatever, and even though it might not be my musical preference, I still know whether it is good music or not. I am not feelin’ it here with these guys. You know, that special something.”

Someone else agreed and then I added, “But you know, it is really hard to play such a small crowd.”

“It is really hard for local bands, to play these little venues, just trying to get noticed.” Megan added.

That comment got me thinking. They probably didn’t own any of the equipment, the venue probably didn’t have the best speakers and mikes, and the sound in the building probably wasn’t designed for bands, but instead for drunken men to sound sexy to drunken women.

It is. It’s really tough to get noticed under such extreme circumstances. I added, “You have to give them props about their energy, and they look like they are having fun, and that’s all that matters.”

That got a murmur of agreement. I poured a mug of frothy disillusionment, finishing off the pitcher. Sara quickly hopped up to take on the next round.

One of the reasons that I hesitated going to the concert was that I know Chris, and I knew that he would want some feedback when I saw him at work the next day. At the very least, he would ask about the show and if we had fun.

Continue to Part 2…..

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