Wednesday, August 17, 2005

It Was Better Before They Voted for Whatshisname

Saw the Knitters last night at the Cradle with JennySlash and PC and... damn! Two hours of country-punk goodness. I used to want Warren Zevon's voice until I first heard John Doe and he's only gotten better. Last night was also the first time I'd ever seen Dave Alvin live and he absolutely blew me away. Damn fine crowd for a Tuesday night - I think Exene was a little confused by the lack of dancing, not realizing that apparently a law was passed in Chapel Hill around 1988 making any dancing other than moshing and stage diving an offense punishable by kicking your ass all the way to Durham. But the band did finally seem to realize that the audience really was digging it and they seemed to be having a good time too - good enough to not only come back for the obligatory encore but a second one as well. One of the best shows I've seen in a long time.

Speaking of great shows, Lex mentioned that Vassar Clements passed away earlier this week. I had the great fortune to see him in the fall of 1979 at the old Mad Hatter in Chapel Hill. I'm not sure what I expected but it was not this 50-year-old fellow surrounded by a stage full of kids half his age playing something that sounded much more like the Dixie Dregs than Bill Monroe. I just remember Clements playing these amazing licks with this unlit pipe clenched between his teeth, looking around every once in awhile at the guys in the band like a proud pappy. He was a one-of-a-kind musician as at home playing blues or jazz as he was playing bluegrass and we'll miss him.


At 11:11 PM, Blogger mapgirl said...

Thanks for writing about Vassar ... I should have posted something but didn't. So glad I got to see him live.

As you know, I love, love, LOVE Dave Alvin. The Knitters are about 90 miles from my home in September, and I am definitely going to be there. Thanks for confirming it will be worth it ... also, thanks for dB's "Amplifier" on your cheer-up list. It is one of my all-time faves. I am counting the days until the Sept. 17 reunion show in Chicago!!


At 9:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's right, rub it in! My fella got to go to the Knitters and I got to, well, shuttle kids to band camp. Hmph.

Oh, well...six weeks to Serenity!

At 9:09 PM, Blogger Tony Plutonium said...

mg - I saw the Champaign gig on their sched and was going to give you a heads up - glad you saw it! You'll love the show!

Kel - as I understand it, paybacks are hell! But thanks for letting us borrow him.


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