Monday, March 17, 2014

The Slackers at 89 North: Not At All Like Chelsmford Prison

While I had high hopes for the show, I had low hopes for Long Island.  Aside from driving the endless highways reminiscent of Connecticut, 89 North might be the nicest place I ever see a ska show.  Patchogue is a town on the rise, full of antique stores, theatres and mediocre pizza, like many of the nicer towns I've encountered in New Jersey.  And the club was immaculate, with a huge stage, two bars, plenty of room to have a good crowd and great acoustics.  So, my hopes for Long Island, aside from paying $15 to enter Staten Island from the rest of New York, were well met. 

When I arrived at the show, the opening act was on stage.  I can neither tell you whether the band was good or not, because their style, with a white guy looking like a rapper and someone with samples prominently involved did little for me, but their keyboard player was very attractive, which is the nicest thing I can say about their work. 

With an early start, I was excited that I might get home by midnight after being out until 5 AM driving home from Rhode Island the night before.  With a big stage, I was once again able to get right to the front of the stage, by Vic's organ and prepared for a second set of the Slackers in a 24 hour period.  It was almost like going to a boat show, except I replaced my utter hatred of watercraft with 600 miles of driving...a fair trade in my book. 

I was also glad I went to see the Slackers in Rhode Island the night before.  As they always change sets, they did not have Sarah or And I Wonder? on the set list for the night.  But Married Girl was added for Sunday night's show and Married Girl never disappoints.  In fact, when the Slackers started off Married Girl, Vic decided he didn't want to play the song and took advantage of being in Long Island to play a few bars of Scenes from an Italian Restaurant, much to the chagrin of the rest of the band.  The band then segued right into Married Girl, which was excellent as always. 

The band also played a fair number of rarities.  I mean, they played Schooling the Youth, which is on The Slackers and Friends, which almost never gets anything off it played live, but that is the joy of tri-state area shows, you get a mix of songs you always want to hear, like Wasted Days, Have the Time and Runaway and you get deep, deep cuts, because there is a portion of the fan base that goes to more Slackers shows than my sixteen times.

During Runaway, Vic finished the lyrics to Scenes from an Italian Restaurant and I can say it is by far the best cover of a Billy Joel song I've ever heard.  However, during the encores, my request for What Went Wrong was shutdown by Glen Pine, but I assume that was solely due to my failing to provide my lyric from the audience the previous night, which is better than any other narrative I can cobble together.  They played Self-Medication instead, which I think I've heard once or twice before live, so I can live with that as well.

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