Slim's exterior(Source: Slim’s Facebook)

So yeah, Slim’s closed down. In a normal world, that would have been the most bummer thing to have happened last week. I use that term “normal world” loosely because who even remembers what that looks like anymore (Looks into camera, shrugs a la Jim from The Office)?

But I think it’s important we remember the good times. In times like this, it helps to remember what we’re fighting for! And also I got some time to kill while hanging inside. So without further ado, I’ll be sharing a few stories from Slim’s over the years, along with some other people’s in a later segment.

I’ll start at the end. The last show I saw at Slim’s was similar to Jurassic Park 3. A fun, well-crafted storyline, complex and nuanced characters, but a bummer ending. Mostly because I’m an idiot. But we’ll get to that later.

It was late January and the bill consisted of Cursive, Cloud Nothings, and Criteria. I left my car parked in front of the same chain store I’ve always parked in front of (I’ll refrain from naming which store, but it begins with a “B” and rhymes with “Test Tie.”)

“Artist” re-creation

I always seem to walk past, like, a dozen ravers outside of DNA Lounge when I walk to Slim’s. It doesn’t matter if there’s a rave happening or not. There’s always a crowd of green dreads, trench coats, cat ears, and various face masks. I know it’s been joked about before, but the cyber-goth scene has been prepared for this pandemic shit for decades.

Upon arriving at the door, I ran into my friends Josh and Sara just outside of Slim’s where all the cool kids hang and smoke cigarettes. None of us smoked, but  we looked cool. I got in there just in time to catch the last few songs of Criteria’s set. Some quick observations of the evening:

  1. The men’s restroom has seen quite the de-evolution in club’s final years. The stall went from having walls, to having a shower curtain, to nothing at all. Which means unless you and your bro are peeing together, it’s one at a time, boys. This is all my way of explaining that there was a long-ass line for the men’s room.
  2. I like it when Cloud Nothings play real fast. And they played real fast.
  3. Tim Kasher from Cursive is charismatic. And I’m really glad they are not lumped in with the rest of the “emo” bands from the early ’00s, because their lyrics, song arrangements, and stage presence are noticeably more insightful and poignant than people gave them credit for in that time period. I remember lot of people (punks) labeled them as “emo” because they had shaggy hair, wore cowboy shirts, and you couldn’t mosh to their music. Check out my favorite song/video below:

As Cursive wrapped up their set, I returned to the parking lot, which was devoid of cars. Also the gate was locked and my car noticeably absent. Well, shit. Keeping my calm while the adrenaline started to kick in, I called the tow number on the parking lot and sure enough: My poor car was locked up.

And look — I know this one is on me. But for real, I’ve seen probably at least 50 shows at Slim’s and I’ve parked my car there almost every time! I’ll explain later.

A somehow worse recreation.

My phone had just updated and none of my ride-share apps were working. It was getting so bleak, it looked like I might have to call a taxi. OK boomer, I immediately chuckled to myself.

But wait! My friends Josh and Sara were still at the show! Now, earlier I said we were the cool kids hanging out. But they are legit cool kids who were hanging out backstage after the show. In a last ditch effort, I texted them to see if maybe they would drive me to the tow yard, and without a moment’s hesitation, THEY DID. Cool kids status: LEGENDARY.

We were slightly perplexed as we pulled up to the address the tow guy gave me on the phone, located deep somewhere in Hunters Point, as there seemed to be nothing resembling a tow yard. Just a series of warehouses, half of which were under water for some reason. Josh and Sara agreed they’d drive away slowly and to call them if the situation took a turn for the macabre. At that same moment, a man began shambling out of the darkness towards me. After a few minutes of twitching, he let out a scream like a zombie from 28 Days Later.

“Yeah, we’ll stay with you,” my extremely supportive friends decided.

After a quick (and somewhat painful) exchange of currency I was cruising out of Hunters Point and back over the Golden Gate, $500 none the richer and the city skyline shining behind me.

Actual picture of me (second from the right) rolling up to the tow yard.

I wish I had known that this would be my last show at Slim’s, because it’s kind of poetic. My habit of parking in front of Best Buy (dammit, I forgot I wasn’t going to say the name of the store) is a throwback to the salad days of my youth. My ragtag group of nerds and I would park there when we’d go see shows at Slim’s in the early 2000s because this period might as well have been the dark ages. Without the aid of iPhones or GPS, we had to rely on landmarks and hastily-printed MapQuest directions to navigate our way through San Francisco.

That Best Buy sign shined out the way to salvation. It was a relic of a more innocent time, when brightly-lit symbols of capitalism were beacons of safety and trust. When shopping malls, chain stores, and neon signs were sanctuaries for the  youth of America. A time that, like so many other things, is quickly fading into oblivion as we move into an obscure and uncertain future.

So for now I’m just going to go with it and get heavily into some cyber-goth.

Part Two: Fat Mike, Stephan Jenkins, Spiritual Cramp and more remember Slim’s.