The Random Griffith

Butthurt singer-songwriter for hire

Looks like I fiddlesticksed up again. Gosh darn it; sometimes I should look down at that third rail and say, “You know, that’s a third rail. If I touch that third rail, I’m likely to get all shocked and all, so I’ll just note that thought and move away from that third rail without being stupid enough to touch it.”

But no. Instead of doing one of a hundred other things, like sit in meditative silence, or call that platonic galpal back who wanted to meet for a meal tonight, I had to do a stupid. I got an Facebook invite to a show at a local coffee room, and I clicked on the page for that show and typed a message about wanting to come, but I’m boycotting any shows by the person at the top of the ticket until he lets me play on one of his shows. The top of the ticket guy immediately wrote back: “That’ll never happen.” Fine, I wrote back. At least you’re finally communicating with me, instead of giving me a passive-aggressive cold shoulder every time I stupidly abase myself to you for asking to play on one of your shows. Then he said something like “Butthurt singer-songwriters aren’t my style.”

Now, I’m not sure that butthurt is the correct word; I think that in my case the word “frustrated” is closer to the mark. Hey, maybe I come across as butthurt, or unnecessarily entitled, to people, and I’m just a poor self-observer. But not being named Cayce, or Criswell, or Kreskin, or Mesmer, I have no idea unless you tell me, preferably before I make an annoying idiot out of myself. Psychic I am not, contrary to what those astrologers tell me about my Pisces Moon-Mercury combo in the sixth house trining my Neptune in the second or something like that.

Yes, I have a lot of songs that I want to play for people. I thought that this certain DIY straightedge punk legend and onetime local cafe owner might be open to my little ambition, perhaps. I figured wrong, of course, but I kept persisting even though I wasn’t getting any kind of straight answer. Perhaps I was, but it was telegraphed in that unspoken way that non-Asperger types communicate, and I was too cluelessly autistic to pick up the signals. Story of my life, there, really.

I could go off at this point and rip the guy a new sphincter with my precision-sharpened critic’s scalpel, but I won’t. I respect the guy’s work and like a lot of his songs, really, and in the past, we’ve enjoyed reasonably warm conversation to the point where I thought I could consider him a friend. I admire his tenacity to keep going even when the world is throwing him the middle finger, and I think he’s got a great work ethic. In fact, I’d spoken to his wife at one point about asking him to help me sequence a set’s worth of my songs, which is a service I would pay money to have done, and she seemed to voice that it might be a decent idea. Perhaps I misperceived. Anyway, I ran it past him, and got that cold shoulder, and didn’t press forward with that idea anymore. Asking for help in a way that I actually receive it doesn’t seem to be one of my strong suits, which is one reason I don’t seem to have many musician pals helping me to flesh out my songs.

My only caveat is that this person and his cohorts seem overly chummy and exclusionary, at least toward me. Perhaps they think that I, my music, or maybe both, “suck,” or aren’t up to their lofty standards, but they never got around to telling me to my face until now. Which is okay; I’ve spent large parts of my life casting what few pearls I have before swine, and I’m just getting around to stopping that behavior, or at least reining it in. The funny thing is, this person has rattled off many column inches in one of his blogs bitching about the local music scene, and to me, he and his little treehouse of friends are as much of the problem as anyone he rails about, and the idea of him calling anyone else “butthurt” is more than slightly risible.

But I’d rather not focus anymore on something I can’t control, which is what he or anyone else thinks about me. I’m more interested in getting at the root of the problem, which is why people react to me the way they do. It’s kinda like my dad used to tell me: “If you’re walking around town and all you keep running into is assholes, come home and look in the mirror.” And I really want to figure out why people perceive me as too “butthurt” to want to work with me, so I can address those negative qualities or try to get help working through them. I’m sincere about this; I don’t want to die and then have somebody say, wow, he wrote some pretty good tunes; too bad he’s not around to play them now.

So at some point, I’d really rather move past that which is holding me back. I’d like for people to want to play music with me, rather than talk behind my back about what a jerk they think I am, or laugh at me for trying. I’m not getting any younger, but mostly I’m getting incrementally wiser. I want to use the time I have left to communicate with others, and I really would like the privilege and opportunity to play my songs to people. I don’t think that’s too much to ask. But I’ll have to approach people who feel warmly toward me, rather than people who secretly harbor animosity toward me.

So maybe next time, I’ll do the smart thing and shut up before I make any more enemies. —Jackson Griffith

Advertisements

I just wasn’t made for this town

Posted in local music, me and the nine one six by Jackson Griffith on 27/07/2011

Guess I missed out on the whole Sacramento lovefest a few weeks ago. There are things I love about this place, mainly Midtown, the American River Parkway and a bunch of places for cheap eats. And there are things I hate about myself. Sometimes, those two things go together like kiwi jelly and Marmite. I’m not so sure why I get so conflicted about this stuff. Most of me wants to be that warm and funny life of the party who shows up and lights up a room, or a backyard, or your life. Not the guy who cuts that trouser-burning brapper that clears the room.

Sometimes I have this most marvelous way of shooting myself in the foot. This isn’t a self-pity rant as much as it is the recognition that I habitually seem to fuck myself somehow, usually out of insecurity. See, I write and play songs, but I used to be kind of a music critic at the local level, and before that on the national level, and I got a little burned out on that over time, and I still make snarky statements about some local acts that come back to haunt me. Mostly it’s out of frustration; I’m still beating my head against the wall, trying to get my music out in front of people, and I’ve had a really difficult doing that in Sacramento. Part of that may be that I and my music “suck,” at least according to Sacramento standards, and part of it comes from the fact that some people just don’t like me because they feel I’ve treated them badly. (The reality is that sometimes I’m goddamn lucky to make it out of my apartment, and what people perceive as me giving them the stinkeye is really me flopping around the dock like a fish out of water, and any sullenness is just the proverbial storm clouds lurking around my head that I thrash in vain to dissipate.)

So tonight, I heard a story at an open mic from a local singer-songwriter, about how he’d tried to add me onto a bill at a local coffeehouse, but the booker told him, “Find some other guy. Anybody. But not that guy.” It turns out the booker is a member of a very popular local band. It isn’t that I don’t like his band; it’s just that I’m not over-the-moon multiorgasmic about them the way that a bunch of people in this town are, as much as I’ve tried, and when I’ve heard so many people gushing about the greatness of this band, I’ve wondered why I just can’t get onboard the Mondrian-patterned groovy love bus. So maybe that, coupled with my own frustration, caused me to say some stuff that I should have kept to myself. Like I said, I am an idiot much of the time, but I have to be an honest idiot, and I’m too old to fake enthusiasm for things that I’m just not feeling. So I don’t blame this guy for barring me from playing his club for mouthing off about his band. I really don’t.

To me, Sacramento is a funny place. I’m just woefully out of sync here for some reason. I know I write good songs, and when I play them elsewhere, like at the gig I played in Stockton last weekend, people respond. And I’ve had some really good shows at Luna’s (here on 16th Street, in Midtown, or Downtown, where I think I’ll be playing on Saturday, August 13.) But this place often goes nuts for stuff that leaves me scratching my head, and it ignores people I think should get a lot more support. It must be some residual toxin in the water that I’ve managed to avoid since I got here in 1984. Or maybe it’s just that my planets are in some kind of detriment in Sacramento according to astro-cartography. Or maybe it’s just that I’m an unrepentant and incorrigible asshole, but I’m the only one in the 916 who hasn’t figured that out.

But part of me really likes it here. I’ve got an anonymous life, and I could hole up in my apartment with a guitar and no one would be much the wiser. I love the feel of walking around Midtown, usually alone, and I’m on reasonably friendly terms with enough people here for me to feel somewhat at home. On top of that, the recovery community in Sacramento is like none other, and I’d really miss thse people if I left. But otherwise, this place has been pretty lonely, and I haven’t had the best luck with women here, or with making close friends in general for that matter.

Yeah, the grass is greener elsewhere. Maybe I should find out how green. Someday, I will. —Jackson Griffith

Just checking in to see what condition my condition is in

Posted in gosh darn it, local music, the 209 as in stockton, trippy by Jackson Griffith on 23/07/2011

Boy, do I have a lot to say, and I’m in this just overflowing with groovieness mooding, too! Peaches! We are special golf make shop! If I don’t put a damper on my effusive effusivious Vesuvioness, um, I’m just going to boil over with goody-goodness and get my dinkle squinkled so many times, I’ll probably lose count!

Heck whiz! Actually, I’m in Stockton, I seem to have misplaced my favorite hat today, and I’ve gotta blow this Peet’s popsicle stand and get to my gig, which is at the Blackwater Cafe on Yosemite Street, nine-something-something is the address, where I’ll be playing some music later with Dan Ambiance and whoever else shows up. You got a guitar and have some particularly odious jam-band hippie-rock anthemic 20-minute buttnuggets you want to foist on the sparse crowd? Come on down! Because if you don’t bring it, I will, and you have no idea what I will be pulling from my gigbag. Hell, I don’t either! Show starts whatever, like nine or something, and it’s Friday, July 22. The sun is trine my native sun, and apparently Uranus is in my trousers. Wait. That doesn’t sound good at all.

Aw, fuggit. Come on down. —Jackson Griffith

I’d tell you to get off my lawn, but …

Posted in local music, WTF? Seriously? by Jackson Griffith on 22/07/2011

Oh, goody. It’s summer again, and it’s Sammie season, which in this age of social media means that some of us are getting inundated by people begging us to nominate them, or their band, for the Sacramento Area Music Awards. Let me just say that I’ve got nothing against the Sammies; I used to work at the Sacramento News & Review, and while I never was the most over-the-moon believer in award shows, I’ll admit that they do help focus attention on this town’s music community — well, some of that community — and that a lot of people seem to like the awards.

So who am I to complain?

Where I get a little crinkly is with the begging. Now, come on: If your music is so darned wonderful, don’t you think the whole town would be beating a path to your door? Why do you have to beg people who don’t even know you that well to nominate you, and then turn around and beg them again to vote for you once you’ve gotten yourself nominated? And should you win, what does it prove — that you’re a better politician than everyone else? More like, oh, Tracy Flick with a guitar.

Then again, I have a problem with social-media hype in general, like, say, people coming onto my Facebook page and hyping their stuff. It would be like me coming over to your house and pounding a ten-foot-tall billboard into your lawn with my face plastered on it. You wouldn’t like that, would you? I mean, if you’re going to come onto my page and beg people to listen to your band or nominate you for a Sammie or sell your book, at least have the decency to send me a message and ask permission first. Anything else is just so goddamned gauche.

Yeah, I’m a grump. Sorry. I just got some devastating news two nights ago from somebody who has been finding fresh ways to say “fuck you” to me for over 20 years, and it’s still slicing me inside like a pizza made from rusty nails. I’m finding it hard to be happy, so stupid little things are setting me off: cutesy-poo couples burbling their affectionate little sweetnesses to each other in public places (this means you, yuppie couple in the bulk foods aisle of the Co-op this evening), idiotic entitled drivers (you bints in that white Isuzu Rodeo by the Weatherstone? Fellate me), dumbfuck fat-tire bike riders in Midtown who ride on sidewalks at night with no lights, ad infinitum. Then again, I’m just a grumpy asshole who needs a big hug.

But I’ve always thought the Sammie beggars were Kardashian-level tacky. —Jackson Griffith

Go down to the Outlet once again

Posted in local music, the 209 as in stockton by Jackson Griffith on 17/10/2010

“Let’s spend out last quarterstance randomly/ Go down to the Outlet once again.” If that line doesn’t ring a bell, it’s from a haunting and beautiful song called “Here,” off Pavement’s 1990/1991 album debut Slanted and Enchanted, released in 1992. Now, I have no idea if Steve Malkmus was singing about the Veterans Outlet thrift store on Harding Way in Stockton, but it’s as good a guess as any. For a lot of us who grew up in and around Stockton, the Outlet was a central fact of our existence, or at least a great place to go score cheap clothes once you had a topnotch and cheap lunch at Cafe Azteca on American Street (or, earlier, West Market Street for you purists).

I went through a long period where I was obsessed with the Outlet, and I used to go there nearly every day to check out the shirt racks. Being well over six feet tall, I never could find pants or suits in the racks, but there always was a pretty great selection of tops on hand — bowling shirts, Hawaiian shirts, weird soul brother polyester shirts. And they were dirt cheap, so I was always coming home with like five shirts and maybe a blazer or suit coat, plus some old records and books I’d scored from the dusty bins in the back.

For a while, I had my Outlet nemesis. He was this fairly tall guy, about my age, who wore his hair slicked back in the old-school pre-Liverpudlian lube style. My quite internal reference name for the guy was Elvis. At any rate, he and I had similar tastes in shirts. So if I got there late, all the cool shirts in my size would be picked out, and Elvis would have a neat pile of all the stuff I was going to buy that day, and I’d be pissed. But on other days, I’d get there, case the joint — no Elvis — and I’d get a nice stack of sweet-deal shirts and then he’d come sauntering in. He’d casually meander by, looking at my pile, and he’d glower at my swag. On rare days, we’d get there around the same time, and both tear through the racks, one eye on the shirts and the other cocked on watching what the other guy was getting.

I’d forgotten all about that little rivalry for at least a decade. Then, in the late 1980s, around the time David Lynch’s ABC series Twin Peaks was a big hit, I was in Burbank at the old Warner Bros. Records “ski chalet” headquarters to do an interview. I’d gone there to get a story on one of my homies. So there I was, sitting across the table from Stockton expatriate singer Chris Isaak, and he gave me this weird look, then he pointed at me and said: “Hey, you’re that guy from the Veterans Outlet.” I looked at him and started laughing.

Um, I guess you had to be there. Anyway, the Outlet made for some pretty fine thrifting. —Jackson Griffith

All butthurt that nobody likes my music, boo hoo hoo

Posted in local music, me and the nine one six by Jackson Griffith on 14/10/2010

I never quite made it to the Sammies this year. Part of that is that, more and more, I feel alienated by the local music scene, but this has more to do with the contents of my own head, and my own longstanding frustrations, than it does with anything else. I’m glad that the Sacramento News & Review stages the Sammies each year. And I’m even happier that I don’t have to work them, like I used to have to do when I was employed there.

That said, I understand the reasoning behind the Sammies, which are what you do when you want to brand your publication as the place to go for information about local music, and you want to show your advertisers that you’ve got a young, hard-drinking readership that likes to go out and spend money. It’s business, good business. My problem with the Sammies stems from their participatory democracy aspect, which is beautiful in theory, but in reality it tends to manifest as everything I hated about high school, a horrifying popularity contest where the people who are rewarded again and again are the ones who do best at politicking all their friends and mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles and cousins and people who work at the local grocery store and people they randomly stop on the street or in coffeehouses or on their Facebook pages to vote for them as “best” whatever. I’m not saying that the whole thing is tainted that way, and more often than not, the right act wins, but there’s enough of that high school madness going on to make me look for other things to do on whatever day or night the Sammies are being held, because to stand and watch just bums me out too much.

Yeah, I know certain people might take this the wrong way, and I mean no malice. Besides, no one from the SN&R invited me to participate in any way this year, and the last time I wrote for the paper, or adapted something I’d already posted here, local photographer Jesse Vasquez and a guy I don’t know named Richard Stofle responded with this, which I didn’t even bother to read because Nick Miller told me upfront it was pretty scathing. Just not in the mood for that these days, I guess.

But lately I’ve also been thinking about a comment that Marty DeAnda, the Dig Music impresario and Jackie Greene’s manager, made in the comments section on local jazz magnet figure Ross Hammond’s Facebook page. Tonight I’m too lazy to look it up, but I think I can paraphrase it: Why do musicians think they need to leave town to find a measure of success, he mused, when they oughta stay here in Sacramento and make it big first with a local audience?

I think I can answer that. Sacramento is a weird place. Some talented people get a lot of love, and others can’t find anyone who gets their art. As a music journalist, I saw a lot of that, and it was hard to watch some brilliant but misunderstood person fade into the woodwork after getting repeated snubs from the powers that be — and I’m not talking about music scribes, who have very little pull, but the people who book the venues and can make a difference by putting people in front of audiences that might develop love for them. And as a somewhat reticent singer/songwriter, I experienced plenty of that phenomenon personally and up close.

What makes Sacramento a generally lousy environment for music, from my experience, is that, for some of us, there aren’t any places to play music. Instead, we get to watch certain acts get booked over and over and over, just because a particular booker or promoter has taken a special interest in them. (And I do know one person in particular who might read this and get offended because we’re friends, but I’m not talking about him because he doesn’t book old guys like me unless, y’know, they run his soundboard … well, I can’t exclude him totally, because he definitely plays his favorites, but I’m really referring more to the city in a larger context, and all the little cliques of musicians that I’m too goddamn clueless to be a part of.)

So, anyway, I’ve lost my affection for this place as a springboard for the arts. Not sure if it’s permanent, but for now I’m going to practice my songs and play them to four walls and maybe some select friends. I’m working on a project with some old pals from out of town who are interested in doing some of my stuff, and that’s pretty inspiring. But the local show thing? Probably not going to happen. Hell, when I do play, I’m such a chronically lousy self-promoter that I’m lucky if anybody shows up. And yeah, I could go to the Fox & Goose every Monday night, but sometimes you don’t get to play, and when you do, it’s three songs, and, well, I won’t say any more because I’ll get in trouble, what with people taking up slots to do half-baked cover versions (instead of half-baked originals, like me). And the Fox & Goose open mic is no way to get a booking in that place.

I did manage to get booked into the Naked Lounge a few months ago, which is booked by the same guy who books the Fox & Goose. He’d paired me with a local media superstar jack of all trades who happens to be a singer-songwriter. The other guy made a big deal of needing to go on first because he had some kind of big interview the next morning, so I acceded to his wishes, and then he didn’t show. Only a few other people had drifted in, and we waited for a half hour after the start time, and finally I began my set. Then Mr. Sacramento made the scene, slightly hammered. I cut my set short because I’d started late, and then he went on and played an epic, Grateful Dead-length set that went on for like two hours. It may have been the worst gig of my entire life, and I doubt I’ll be getting any more bookings from those guys. It was bad enough to kill what was left of my desire to play live music, and I think that may be the last time I played out.

I’d had one sparkling, incandescent gig right around then, maybe a week before, at the Sacramento Poetry Center of all places, as part of a music and poetry thing put on by Franklin W. Dixon Graham (kill me if I’m bollixing your name, Frank, but you probably won’t bother reading this and no one else will either so I guess it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things). If the Naked Lounge gig was the worst, this was the best, most fun gig I’ve ever played. And if I could plan another one like that, I would. That was one moment where I felt like people really were getting my music, or were appreciating what I’m trying to do as a songwriter.

See, you gotta have a champion. And the elephant in this room is that I had one once. This guy started showing up last winter when I was playing the Fox & Goose, and he’d be bummed if I’d already played, and if he was there to see me play, he was really encouraging. Yeah, he had opinions, and he wasn’t afraid to tell me when he thought I was off track or something wasn’t working or artistically I was full of shit. But generally his commentary was quite positive. Sometimes he’d ask me to play a song again in the side room so he could pick it apart. And he was really smart and he knew a lot about music, more than I do, and sometimes he and I and Sal Valentino would stand in the parking lot on R Street after the open mic and talk about music.

His name was Tommy Vanwormer, and he died suddenly last May. I miss the guy terribly, still, to this day, and playing music out in public just isn’t the same for me anymore. At least in Sacramento. So there’s my highly personalized answer for you, Marty. Some people are lucky to find champions, like Jackie Greene found in you. Others, well, we’re not so lucky, are we? Or we find them, and then they’re taken from us.

Every artist needs to find at least one champion who believes in his or her art. —Jackson Griffith

So, the other night, I went to the ballet

Posted in laundromat posts, local music by Jackson Griffith on 20/09/2010

Okay, so in typical fashion, I realized five minutes before the Ballet + Music gig the other night at the Crest Theatre was set to begin that I was three miles away. I sprinted out of the room full of people where I’d been sitting quietly and raced across town and got in just as DoomBird was beginning its performance. Thank God or whatever deity was watching over me last night that I’d had that sudden realization, because I would have been pissed if I’d missed DoomBird’s performance.

A quick recap: Ballet + Music was put together by Clay Nutting and his Concerts4Charity, and it featured four musical acts, which were set up in the dark to play stage left, while dancers from Pamela Hayes’ company, directed by Zara Hayes, performed to the music on the main stage. The lineup began with DoomBird, then featured Exquisite Corpse, then there was an intermission, then Drifting Shapes, and finally, Sister Crayon. Because I’m not a dance critic, and in fact know virtually nothing about ballet, and because of my late arrival I was forced to take a seat way up at the top of the nosebleed section, where the distance between the stage and me made it possible for the music to take my mind elsewhere for large portions of the performance, I won’t comment much on the visual aspects, except to say that the dancers moved with far more verve and elan than I can muster walking from the couch to the refrigerator, or anywhere else for that matter.

As for the music, DoomBird was brilliant. They did the lovely “Mood Ring,” perhaps my favorite number by them, and a host of others. Suffice it to say that their album, which can be downloaded here, is the best thing I’ve heard this year by anyone. Anyone. Live, I think there’s still a tentative quality, especially in contrast to what followed immediately after, and more performances might build confidence and sharpen their game. But no one else in these parts is delivering this combination of Beach Boys’ Smile sophistication coupled with SoCal Randy Newman-Van Dyke Parks-Harry Nilsson style with a hint of post-Detroit (L.A.) Motown. And with a string section, too. Kris Anaya and Joe Davancens are fricking brilliant, and this isn’t the first time I’ve said that.

Next up was Exquisite Corpse, which I think were the crowd’s favorite, or they got the most spirited audience response. I don’t want to say anything bitchy, like Journey’s Steve Perry always got the crowd rooting, too, but I guess I just did. Okay, here’s the deal: Singer Bryan Valenzuela has one of those male voices some of us lesser singers might kill for. But it isn’t just the voice, it’s what you do with it. After a couple of songs that alternated between Bono-esque banshee wails and the sort of Thom Yorke mewls over abraded-sphincter minor and diminished chords a la Radiohead, the weaknesses of the band’s material became pretty apparent. Well, to me, at least. There just didn’t seem to be any real songs there. Or maybe it was just that DoomBird is such a hard act to follow.

And that’s just me bitching, because the crowd clearly ate up Valenzuela’s ululating over four tympanists situated in front of the stage, along a drummer and other musicians stage left. And the dancers, who enacted an adaptation of the Orpheus myth, seemed to move with energy and grace, when I was watching and wasn’t muttering under my breath how at that moment I’d rather be in a fleabag motel over on Seventh Street with a bottle of Thunderbird, a bag of Slim Jim’s and a flip-top hi-fi with a pile of Tom Waits records. Sorry, that’s just me; certain acts take me back to my old days at Pulse magazine, listening to piles of major-label advance CDs and cassettes, many of them by derivative acts who got signed because they were friends in college with whoever it was who’d landed the cush A&R job, or because they sounded a lot like an act that was making money for a competing label: “Ach, this Radiohead is big with the kids and radio is eating them up! Go find me a band that sounds just like them!”

Intermission: Buttered popcorn, medium Coke. Just thought you’d like to know. After that, Drifting Shapes, Ruben Reveles’ trip-hop project. Mostly I dug Reveles’ minimalist grooves and prerecorded narrative snippets, along with the movement Hayes had worked out with her dancers. The vocals reminded me of the enervated rhythm and blues singing from my old pal Michael Ivey’s Basehead group back in the ’90s, which had a just-woke-up, where’s-the-mic feel, much of it done here over short, recurring motifs. To be honest, I was working on my bucket of popcorn, looking around, marveling that Concerts4Charity had sold out a gig featuring dance and four local acts.

Sister Crayon was next. I suppose one could apply the same criticism I just made of Valenzuela’s arena-rock muezzinry to Tara Lopez, but then, Lopez’s voice doesn’t sound so carbon-copy close to the voice of another very popular act. She’s clearly got a nice set of pipes, and the melodies she was singing generally were a nice thing to wrap that supple voice around. To me, her voice was so captivating that I kept looking over at her singing in the dark, rather than at the movement onstage. Which brings up a problem: Yes, you want people to focus on the dance, and you want live musicians out of the way, or in the orchestra pit. But there should be some kind of visual reference point, perhaps. Well, that’s just my opinion.

And here’s another point: A reshuffled order of acts could have improved the presentation. I would have set it like this: Open with Exquisite Corpse and the Orpheus dance, which would have pulled the audience right in, both with Valenzuela’s strong voice and Hayes’ choreographed moves. Follow that with Drifting Shapes. Then, intermission, followed by DoomBird, and then close with Sister Crayon. If there was some time-chewing technical problem between the striking of DoomBird and the setup of Sister Crayon, that’s where you have the emcee — here, Nutting — come out and talk to the audience about the event. Or maybe you bring out someone who can throw some kind of strange and funny story to the crowd.

Anyway, that old saw about how opinions are like assholes — everyone’s got one — maybe applies. Kudos to Nutting, not only for putting this together, but for selling out the Crest on a Friday night with a show of all local music. At a time when local clubs can put on great shows that should be selling out but don’t even come close — like the Red Meat, Whispering Chingaderos and Freebadge Serenaders gig I attended last night at Old Ironsides — it’s remarkable when lots of people do make the effort to come out. I think one reason might be that people will respond to shows when they are framed in the context of an event, and that if you’re promoting a show these days, you have to work extra hard to make sure people get the message to come out, as in flyers and posters everywhere, and other forms of pre-show publicity. You can’t just book three or four excellent bands and expect people to show up.

Promoting shows is hard, occasionally heartbreaking work. Which is one reason I don’t do it. —Jackson Griffith