Welcome back to the Boulevard Ear, a regular feature on The Bay Bridged, where our man about town examines a community’s live music offerings over the course of one evening. What is it like to be a show-goer whose experiences are dictated entirely by location? Follow Todd as he explores Bay Area music venues by neighborhood, finding a variety of independent music along the way.
What do we call the ground level areas of Potrero Hill? Potrero Flats? It deserves a name – it hosts a plethora of our favorite places, such as the San Francisco Center for the Book and Bottom of the Hill, and, in it’s own sphere of influence, Thee Parkside.
We must admit that, not only do we know fairly little about Thee Parkside, we know less about thee neighboring park. (We looked it up in the interest of journalistic dilligence – it is Jackson Playground). Our friends The Famous (the band, not the category of people, of whom we do also count many as friends), offered us a chance to remedy this gap in our gadding by headlining an afternoon show.
The Famous are into their second set as we arrive with an uncharacteristic surplus of sunshine at our backs. They are delivering their signature runaway train variety of roots music. Vic Barclay is squeezing an unlikely combination of aggression and finesse from his Telecaster, while singer Lauerence Scott uncannily channels both Peter Wolf and Howlin’ Wolf.
But what is this? Children, everywhere, reveling in this sleazy syrup of soul. As it transpires, Thee Parkside regularly offers “Twang Sundays,” all ages afternoon shows organized around their spacious patio and kitchen. And we are reassured that many of the youngsters call various band members Daddy, and so are already indoctrinated. They even present us with the guest book, a convention of which we highly approve.[nggallery id=be2-6-26-12]
We retire to the back, for research purposes only. One pulled pork and one cuban sandwich later, we are convinced. The absence of a cover charge; the geniality of the crowd; the quality of the music; the diverting pastorale of the back porch and lunch. We’ve been out of this loop too long.
Sonny Smith has been appearing around town with a country set calling themselves The Fuckeroos. The name was taken from one of the fictional bands on his “100 Records” project, but the sound they make as an actual outfit bares little resemblence to “Time to Split,” from that record. We stopped by the Make-Out Room to investigate and were pleasantly surprised to run into The Sentimentals, featuring some very well-regarded guests.
The Fuckeroos made use of most of the same musicians, and offered a more polished, sophisticated setting for Smith’s poetry and singing than his main outfit, The Sunsets. We look forward to devoting our full unit of energy to their set in the near future.