Hard to believe, but before the Love Is All/Crystal Stilts show last Saturday (scratch that…this was written a while ago and I’ve just gotten around to posting this. Full account of the show over at Glorious Noise), I had never been to the Rock Island Brewing Company, affectionately known as RIBCO from this point forward. Nice joint. Check it out. Green Day played there once.
And the grilled cheese sammies ain’t bad either.
It was an all ages show, with what I would assume to be a consorted effort to get as many patrons as possible in a town that probably had zero familiarity with the two bands on the bill. There was another band on the second show (ours had a 5:00 pm start time) but I had no interest and no energy to stay. Actually, I like early shows at my age; it gave the wife and I time to hang out at the World’s Largest Truck Stop later and make it home in time to watch Iron Man.
For those of you who have never been to the I-80 truck stop, make a special trip because it’s totally awesome. It has everything you’d expect at a full-service truck stop, but it also has so many amenities that it’s as close to trucker heaven as the Snowman would ever get. They have a movie theatre, a dentist, a chiropractor, and plenty of accessories for your eighteen-wheeler. Need a pair of lady mud flaps? They got ‘em. How about a religious t-shirt made up to look like a soda logo? Sure, in fact they have several brands to choose from. Seeking out that cassette copy of Depeche Mode Catching Up With Depeche Mode? You bet. In fact, there’s a bunch of overpriced cassettes to choose from, all in their original packaging.
The Largest Truck Stop in the world is a wonderland of kitsch and I could spend hours there and lots of cash on utterly worthless crap.
Getting back to the Crystal Stilts: they actually sat at the booth next to ours, enjoying a big dish of nachos and other bar food until the house soundman stopped by and told them they had fifteen minutes until show time.
“Check. Check. We’re going to need some more reverb. A lot more” the drummer announced to the soundman. It’s true: Crystal Stilts utilize that same Jesus & Mary Chain canyon mentality along with a bit of Velvet Underground N.Y.C. detachment. The thing is, the more lead vocalist Brad Hargett acted cold, nonchalantly swaying with eyes closed to the repetitive beat, the more I kept thinking that he had a plate of half-eaten nachos next to me, getting cold. The limitations were there in the live setting, and their debut is a lot more fun than their performances. And why do I always think of the Doors cover band Crystal Ship whenever I say Crystal Stilts?
They only played about eight songs before relinquishing the stage to Love Is All.
I only had enough money for one cd after my shot of Jager and a bottle of Stella Artois, so I chose the new Love Is All. The Stilts’ debut is pretty good, though. A review for both efforts is to come later.
The photo is courtesy of a shitty camera phone shot as I left the digital camera in the diaper bag.