Getting Warmed Up On A Cold Winter's Night

Last Saturday night -- a week ago already -- the contrasting styles of the Retronauts and Lava Pups rocked Shine.  As a venue, Shine has a certain intimacy that warms an audience.  Warmth was a welcome commodity last Saturday night.

As we schlepped drums and amps out to the Prius after the show, I thought about the quality of the music and the entertainment value of the evening.  Both bands played really well -- on their games so to speak.  Even though both played instrumental rock, they were quite different from each other.  That prevented sonic overload or auditory boredom.



The Retronauts opened with a 45-minute set of their clean and well-honed Ventures-influenced rock.  The musicianship, hours of practice, and focus of the band were evident.  Spot-on timing.  Rhythm section in synch.  Rhythm and lead guitars working together.  No gimmicks.  No schtick.  Just straight ahead classic instrumental rock played by four experienced musicians who play out of love for the music. 



The Pups followed with our energetic, really raw and simple garage “surf.”  Robert and Sue were particularly animated.  We joked among ourselves and with the audience.  We engaged the audience from the start when I took off my hoodie to reveal a classic western shirt with snap buttons, piping, and embroidered roses and skulls.  Gimmicks and schtick?  Of course, we are the Lava Pups!  We had fun as did everybody else in the room.  By that measure, we had successful set.

As we loaded drums and amps into the Prius, I also thought about the cold -- 26 degrees.  Of course, wearing a sweat-soaked shirt and tee without a coat -- I know, stupid -- just emphasized the cold.  I then wondered why we scheduled a gig on a Second Saturday when the 49ers’ playoff game began at 5:00.  Who would want to brave freezing temperatures when a 50-inch (or bigger) HD television beckons with a NFL playoff game featuring SacTown’s favorite team?

The cold winter’s night was much colder by the time everything was loaded.  Let’s see.  Bass drum, there.  Damn, it is cold!  Stack the snare on top of the tom.  Watch out for the Hula Pig.  Wow, it is really cold!  Vibrolux, there.  Bass amp.  Hardware, under the seat.  Is it getter colder?  Why didn’t I put a coat on?  Guitars across the top.  Done!  Oh, man, this is too cold to be standing out here!

The defroster and seat warmer did not seem to help on the way home.  Maybe I should have put a coat on over my wet shirt.  But listening to Becky say how much she enjoyed the show took away some of the chill.  As we drove home, she related how others really had a good time and commented how much the Pups had grown as a band.

As we pulled into the garage, the chill was gone.  What Becky had to say -- biased or not -- really warmed me up on a cold winter’s night!

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