Thursday, August 28, 2008

don't worry, desmond dekker's doin' fine

Always late but worth the wait, right? This blog has dozens of pictures so maybe you want to take a minute for the page to load.

Seriously take all the time you need.

Do you any of you old school Sueditos and Suedettes remember my Travel Guide to Denver? Go read it, or read it again. It's a good time. If you refuse to read it (jerk) the point is that one time I drove to Denver through Wyoming and it sucked. Maybe I should have read the blog myself, because last week I got it into my head to do it again.

There was a good reason though. See, my idiot brother Sean lives in Denver. He's going to court reporting school. Also last Friday there was a big show at Red Rocks that me and my two bros. wanted to go to. Also the Rockies were in town, so ... game on.

The beginning of a road trip is always so exciting. You're probably awake earlier than usual, the air looks pretty, you get an absurdly large amount of snacks and breakfasts, you got your tunes going, you shout "Wooo road trip!" (but only once). Even better, Mike and I had what we both agreed was the best iced coffee ever, from the McDonald's on 45th and I-15 (fyi).

Parley's Canyon, just outside of the valley.

Wyoming actually wasn't as bad as I remember, and Mike proved to be an excellent road trip companion. I did notice that Wyoming has a severe FedEx infestation though.

Windmills too. Maybe that's why gas is cheaper there. They have so much wind power.

First stop was Green River. I just wanted to stretch my legs. It's a neat little town.

Whenever I leave Utah I'm always interested in seeing the different chains of gas stations and grocery stores and fast food eateries that exist outside of my little world. To think that somewhere out there people are filling up at the AM/PM and buying groceries at Ralph's and eating Popeyes every day. Anyway, Wyoming has some badly named gas stations.


I like this one though. Hearkens back to the golden age of 'mats.

Another stop later in the middle of nowhere, because I felt like kickin' some dirt.

I think Mike might have been tripping on 'shrooms. Maybe that would explain his ridiculous glasses.

A whole heard of kangaroos bounded into view. Those things can run fast.

The kept to one side of the road because the other side was guarded by a Critter.

Finally made landfall in Denver (actually Westminster) after about 8.5 hours. Sean took us by his school.
Proud home of the Denver Court Reporting Academy Fightin' Critters.

Red Rocks! A concert I've been waiting for for years!

Tesh was everything I hoped and more. He encored with the NBA on NBC theme song while a massive video screen showed a Charles Oakley highlight real.


Actually it was an event called Punk Rocks. The promoters hope it will become an annual event. If it does maybe I'll go again. What an epic venue.

One big complaint though. Too many stairs. I had to pee like a dozen times because the show I downed ten mini-bottles of Jaeger in the parking lot. Restrooms were at the bottom and the top, but either way you're dealing with stairs.

It's not that I'm in bad shape, it's just the elevation or something.

The Lineup for Punk Rocks: Street Dogs, Circle Jerks (cancelled due to near death), Bouncing Souls, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and NOFX.

Street Dogs were a nice surprise. I need to check out their stuff. The singer kept talking about the Ramones. He said "This song is dedicated to the Ramones! Everyone sing along!" and I thought they were going to play a Ramones song but instead they played another Street Dogs song. Weird.

Bouncing Souls. Boring. Seriously. The crowd loved them and I know they're a mainstay of punk rock, but man.

The bands I came to see were the Bosstones and NOFX. The Bosstones were probably the band I listened to most during high school, and I listened to NOFX constantly during my first year or two of college. Both bands played SLC during my junior year which would have been 1997. I missed both shows, and then neither of them ever came back. (aside from maybe a warped tour appearance, but who wants to go to warped tour?)

The Bosstones actually broke up a few years ago, but now they're back! I don't know if they're back back or just playing a few dates, but it doesn't matter because now I've seen them.

The stage went dark as "War (huh-yeah) What is it Good For (absolutely nothing)" blasted out. The song ended with an explosion and an air raid siren as the band took the stage.

These guys were better than ever. I thought the show would be fun for nostalgia's sake, but I figured Dickie Barrett's gruff voice would be shot by now, and a lot of the time ska bands' horns sound crummy live. No suh! The band sounded perfect, and the time off must have done Dickie some good because after looking at old performances on youtube, his voice is much clearer nowadays.

Here's what the band looked like while I was skanking.

I really couldn't have been happier with the set. They played for maybe 90 minutes and played every song I wanted to hear, covering their whole career. They ended with "The Impossible Dream" from Don Quixote (man of la mancha) and then unfurled this banner of that guy that's always on the news. Chills, man.

Say, why not go check out their new song, Don't Worry Desmond Dekker.

Before NOFX I moved down a couple rows to get a better view. My brothers thought I was an idiot, but then they got hit by lightning. Who's the idiot now?

Before we get to NOFX, how about some Red Rocks trivia? In 1971 Jethro Tull played there and hundreds of people showed up without tickets. Eventually they tried to crash the gates and had to be tear gassed. The wind carried the tear gas into the paying crowd and onto the stage. So next time baby boomers get in your face about how great they are, just remind them that they rioted at a Jethro Tull show.

NOFX. They were better than I expected. I've heard that they suck live. They put a lot of energy into it and played a long set, including Punk in Drublic in its entirety. Fat Mike had bronchitis though and sounded terrible. Thing is, he pretty much sounds terrible without bronchitis, but this was even worse. It was fun, but I can check them off my list.

The End.


I was reading about the Bosstones on wikipedia and found this description of their big hit, "The Impression That I Get."

In the lyrics, the singer asks listeners if they have "been close to tragedy" necessitating "a strength most don't possess". The singer says while he has not faced such a daunting situation himself, he "know(s) someone who has" and makes the understatement that he is "sure it isn't good." The singer also expresses doubts about his own mettle and wonders how he would perform in such a situation himself. While stating "I like to think that if I was I would pass" he confesses "I'm afraid of what I might find out."

The opening line of the chorus states "I never had to knock on wood," and it may be more accurately rendered as "I never had to...(knock on wood)" referring to something that the singer has never had to do (i.e. face a huge crisis) and utilizing the superstitious phrase "knock on wood" which is said in the hopes that a good thing will continue to occur after it has been acknowledged. Similarly, the mid-chorus lyrics "It makes me wonder if I never had to knock on wood" are more easily understood with the insertion of ellipsis and other punctuation, i.e. "it makes me wonder if I...? Never had to... (knock on wood)."

Well I just found my new hobby. Explaining song meanings on Wikipedia.

The protagonist, "Jude," is encouraged to not "make it bad." The singer suggests to Jude that he "take a sad song and make it better," which can be considered a metaphor for bringing positivity to a negative situation.

Sean is a weirdo magnet. I don't know why, he just draws them like fluttering insects to a flame. We encountered five weirdos during the show. One was an afro-bearded hippie with a bad case of the crazy eyes who told a joke: "what do you call a frog that's illegally parked? towed."

Then this couple came up and tried to talk to Sean before realizing they didn't know him. "You look just like our friends! One of them has a beard, one of them has that shaved head thing going on, and one of them is ... look like that guy." Then the girl grabbed Sean's beard and kissed his neck while the guy rubbed my head. Presumably for good luck.

During NOFX this coked up a$$hole started messing with Sean. I don't know what the guy wanted, but when things went to far I leaped down and punched him the solar plexus. Actually I didn't punch him I kind of shoved at his wrist but the important thing is that I stepped up without hesitating.


  1. Hey, wow. Those are two bands I never got to see during my punk/ska-loving phase either. I did have NOFX's live album, and think I've pretty much got the idea of how their shows go (lots of banter in between songs that was really funny to me as a teenager, but probably not so much now), but I would love to see the Bosstones. I didn't know they were back together, that's so fantastic!

  2. There is potentially a good deal of fun to be had in delving into lyrical meanings. I think the Beatles could be a rich source of such fun. F’rinstance:

    “Paperback Wrtiter” describes an aspiring author’s attempts to break into the tough world of publishing: “I need a break and I wanna be a paperback writer.” The song is composed in the form of a letter to, presumably, an editor or some other individual in a position to make publishing decisions: “Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book?/It took me years to write, will you take a look?” The letter-writer’s ambitions border on desperation, as he demonstrates an extreme willingness to conform to the standards of the publisher: “I can make it longer if you like the style/I can change it ‘round…If you really like it, you can have the rights.” The song ends without any real resolution, as the listener never learns whether, in fact, the amateur has made the coveted leap to professional.

  3. Holdinator - I have that album too. It captures the live experience perfectly. If you get the chance to see the Bosstones, don't miss it!

    Kat - that's the spirit! this is gonna be great.

  4. HEY!! I just heard a (sucky) cover of The Liquidator at Fred Meyer here in Fairbanks. So Desmond Dekker, although cringing somewhere, is alive and well.

    AHHH! That's another parrallel!

    -The Bosstones played a song about Desmond Dekker at a concert with an Obama poster
    -Fred Meyer played a song played by Desmond Dekker in Alaska, where McCain's running mate is from!