I gave it my best shot, but in the end, the commitments of middle age won over.
It was a Tuesday night show, something that I’m usually opposed to in the first place, but on this weeknight, it seemed like I’d be able to take advantage of some social networking and check out a band that I’d barely heard before.
The band is the Dirty Pearls and they are from
New York City.
They have a record out, Whether You Like It Or Not, and a friend of mine played me a copy of a couple tracks a few months back.
Evidently, a friend of his from way-back-when left the safety of a small town abode and made his way to
York City to become a studio engineer. He brought his
guitar along, and when he approached a band called the Dirty Pearls to lobby for a production gig,
they decided that his skills with the instrument were needed more than his engineering chops.
My friend reluctantly handed over the cd that he received to me to examine, possibly fearing that I wouldn’t receive it well. But I am a man of admirable tastes, and I can appreciate more than the average music fan.
This includes lite glam rock ruffians with a penchant for the noun “irony.”
Then I see it. Tucked away in a modest font is the producer: David Kahne.
“Holy shit!” I exclaim, “This thing was produced by David Kahne!” My enthusiasm is neither shared nor understood between the two other gentlemen in the room.
I begin to spit out the obligatory “Albums produced by David Kahne” list, trying to make a case for his credentials.
“Fishbone! Romeo Void!” I begin, immediately noticing that I am seriously dating myself and not bringing up anything relevant to the others present.
Instead, I suggest that landing a production spot with Mr. David Kahne could possibly be a six-figure investment. Obviously, my knowledge of this is seriously flawed and based entirely on my love of Truth & Soul and “Girl In Trouble (Is A Temporary Thing).”
The songs within Whether You Like It Or Not weren’t bad, but they also weren’t enough to remember Dirty Pearls. That is, until I got that aforementioned digital invite.
To make things easier, the band member with the local ties to the area offered “No Cover Charge” at a sports bar not to far from my comfortable home in the suburbs. It’s quiet around here, and with a “Doors open at 8:00 pm” tag line, you just begin to get into that feeling of not wanting to move, let alone take the five-minute drive to another fucking sports bar.
One of the comments that stood out on the number of automatic updates that I was receiving on my phone was the promise, “Don’t worry, we’ll have you home by midnight.” I should hope so, because I had already planned to saw a few logs well before that promise, and as I pulled up to the partially hidden cinder-block building just off the interstate.
I see an expanded late model van with
New York plates pull into the parking lot
ahead of me. It’s around 9:00 pm by this point, so I’m starting to beam at the
notion that I’ve timed this outing perfectly.
I pull past the Indian grocery and then past the Mexican one. I find an open spot not too far from the bar and pull in to have a conversation with Bernie Kosar. Directly across from me, I notice someone in their car talking to Herb Tarlek. Conversations like these are common, if not required before a show featuring the Dirty Pearls.
It’s just a hair above freezing as I walk towards Otis' Tailgators, an impossibly bland sports bar with absolutely no personality or theme. There are several big screen televisions and even a few medium screen ones. In the back is a small stage, and making a very polite racket is an atypical power trio type.
I wasn’t expecting an opening band. For some reason I was thinking the entire event was some kind of organic uprising. A collection of locals celebrating their N.Y.C. transplant’s return to
Iowa with a small performance at a cruddy
With the clock at a quarter after nine, the tepid trio with the practice amps and part of the Dirty Pearls own drum kit played a competent collection of loud/soft offerings. I nursed a Crown and Diet Coke as the band, later discovered to be Resist and Reward, wrapped things up in their brief set.
A guy in a Hawkeyes hat and a
chapter of the pipefitters union jacket stood next to me and challenged gravity
with his intoxication. Bettendorf, Iowa
Someone recognized him and came up to say hello. After initiating some polite conversation starters, the union guy mumbled something incoherent and accentuated it with “What the fuck is this shit?”
His friend was confused and changed topics.
“I just got in. Was the opening band any good?”
“Nah,” replied the union guy, “they fuckin’ sucked.”
“What was their name?” asked the friend.
“Wait,” said the friend after a long pause, “are they playing next?”
They didn’t. Five dudes took the stage after the longest set change in history, which was “managed” by a chubby bald dude in a black polo shirt who just seemed to watch the band members set up their equipment and point to the floor of the stage every so often.
"Wire go there. Fire chord. Big bang pow. Hungry."
The drunken union guy moved towards the front and began yelling at the band to “Play some fucking rock and roll.” It appeared that the band(s) all had a few relatives in the audience, and this second band was no exception. At least, I think it was a relative of one of the band members who suddenly attempted to shut up the drunken union fellow by knocking off his Hawkeye hat.
He smiled at the middle-aged woman, had what appeared to be a nice conversation with her that included a drunken hug, and then returned to demanding that the band getting ready to perform, “Play some fucking rock and roll.”
John June Year listen to a lot of Strokes and Velvet Underground records. At least that’s what I heard during certain moments of their set, a moderately enjoyable one that could have used a bunch more guitar interplay and some justification as to why a synthesizer is even needed in the line up.
By now, we’re after 10:00 pm, and it becomes clear that when the Dirty Pearls say that “We’ll be out by midnight” they mean that they’ll get around to starting their set around 11, which is not something that I’m willing to endure on a Tuesday night.
Otis' Tailgators was nicely populated for a weeknight, but this big pussy would call it a night well before the headliners played a note.
Fuck that noise. Rock and roll is competing against more distractions than ever before. Why anyone would want to sacrifice more of a potential audience just to feed the fantasy that we’re all in a great big Slaughter video is beyond me. Up all night, sleep all day. That’s right.
We’re not. We go to work in the morning. We go to school in the morning. And we tell everyone there about the shit hot band that we caught at a reasonable hour.
I make dumb decisions about my sleep schedule when there’s a band that I want to see, and sometimes these decisions end up being very poor ones. But there is barely a chance in hell that I’m going to turn into a royal cunt for a couple of days because I decided to stay up past my bedtime to catch some band that I knew nothing about.
Here’s what I know about the Dirty Pearls at this point: They have a record you can buy. It was produced by David Kahne. The guitar player is from
When they stand next to a drunk dude wearing a Pipefitters Union jacket and a backwards
Hawkeye hat, they look like total rock stars.
What I can’t tell you is if the Dirty Pearls did indeed play some fucking rock and roll.