The Boulevard Ear

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. 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.

In our attempts to record the essential essence of what is was like to live in these times, the following was noted:

South Van Ness and Division, 9:25 PM

“Did you get my email?”
“About Hanky Codes?”
“I did, thanks. It was. . . comprehensive. I only got about a third of the way through it. . . I was impressed that some even use lace.”
“For uncut.”
“Yeah. . . see? there’s no one around. That’s a good sign. I’m telling you. People are out of town.”
“I dunno, The Oh Sees are still really popular.”
“The operative word being, ‘still.’ It’s only 9:30. . . It’s up here on Harrison, right?’
“Yeah, right here.”
“Awwwwwwwww, shit!!!! Look at that line!”
“See! I TOLD YOU!”
“Whaaaat? Have they not started letting people in yet?”
“We can only hope.”
“Quick! Jump out and get in line. I’ll park.”

Outside The Eagle, 9:35 PM

“Where’d you park?”
“I lucked out – got a space in the alley up the street. What’s going on?”
(Young man with Brylcreamed hair in line): “It’s at capacity. They’re letting people in as people leave.”
“What do you think? Should we stay?”
“There’s easily 50 people ahead of us. Everyone who’s already in there is probably staying.
“And even if we do get in, it’s gonna be a suffocating frottage pageant. AND, they haven’t even started the show yet.”
“We’ll be here til dawn.”
(line lurches forward 3 feet)
“Ok – let’s stay for 10 minutes. . . ”
“. . .Geez, look at these kids. . .I feel so disconnected from the scene, whatever that is.”
“What scene? The scene is dead. Oh Sees, Sonny and the Sunsets, Fresh and Only’s. I love ’em, they’re great.. ”
“. . .But yeah – where’s the next wave?. . . Last two Oh Sees records were some of their best, though.”

(10 minutes later, same spot)
“Ok, this is bullshit. Let’s go.”

The Phoenix, 10:15 PM

“I think it’s louder in here than at The Eagle right now.”
“It doesn’t help that they’re cranking that awful music. . . Is that U2?”
“No. But it’s someone who listened to a buttload of U2. . . I’ve never seen it so crowded in here before. . . OK, so let’s get ourselves organized and start checking the club calendars again.”
“There’s nothing. It’s over.”
“It’s never over. There are fertile times and more stagnant times.”
“Stagnant – yes.”
“But there’s stuff going on. I just don’t have time to keep up anymore. I’ve been so busy.”
“But it’s just not great. I mean, how many albums you bought over the last 5 years do you still listen to, like classics?
“You mean new releases?”
“But is that the music or us?”
“It’s not me!”
“I need to come up with some angles. I had a connection to this gal in a band that plays the Boom Boom Room once a month, but she quit. . . Did you hear those friends of yours outside Amnesia talking about Malcolm Mooney at The Lab this Saturday?”
“I wouldn’t have high hopes for that. I saw him a few years ago. He was OK. But without Can. . . . It’s next Saturday?”
“That’s what they said.”
“We should check that out.”

Apartment, 19th Street near Dolores Park, 11:20 PM

“Yeah, this is good, but it’s all over the map. I like the synthy tracks better.”
“Sonny plays a lot of synth on his new one.”
“Oh, Sonny. Ok, put that one on.”
“No, he’s going somewhere on this new one.”
“Yeah, that’s pretty good. . . Ok, so let me write this down. That new Oh Sees EP . . . really good, but how can you keep up with them? I think I have to pass in favor of some of this other stuff.”
“You liked The Moore Brothers.”
“That was effin great. I wish I had time to go pick that up at Amoeba tomorrow.”
“And Alex Calder.”
“Yes. You called it – mash up of Mac de Marco and Unknown Mortal Orchestra.”
“Alasdair Roberts? I dunno if you would go for that.”
“And that was Jar. . . Moff?”
“M-O-F-F, yeah.”
“See, there’s new music.”
“We didn’t need to go to that hype fest anyway! We’re the cutting edge right here.”
“Got that right, baby!”