The Hemlock / The Stork Club
May 21 &22, 2005
Review by Jake Thomas
Shit, I finally got to see the A-Frames after missing them a bajillion times, most likely for far inferior bands.
The gig on the 21st at The Hemlock was packed to the gills. I actually had to wait outside for a bit because the club was “at capacity” – which is obviously great for the bar but a pain in the ass if you are just there to see music and there are a bunch of moops in funny hats flirting with each other and taking up all the space. I missed the opening band even though a friend had recommended them, but it was to see Okkervil River open a different show and I doubt I would have liked this opener more. But then the A-Frames finally came on, years of me stupidly not having seen them finally being swept under the rug, and it was everything I had wanted and expected (other than them not playing the best song off of their new album “Death Train”). I stood up in the front and did a dance/rock-out hybrid which fits their music perfectly, and they played a pretty long set, full of lots of their best songs spread across all of their albums…although curiously they played much more old stuff than new cuts from their recently released album on Sub Pop.
So that show was so fantastic, I went to see them the next night at The Stork Club in my new home of Oakland. In a perfect example of the SF vs. Oakland attendance wars, a show that was easily sold out at The Hemmy drew only 30-40 people across the Bay. I would claim I don’t understand how this sort of thing happens, but I know too well how many times I passed on perfectly good shows happening in Oakland when I lived in SF because I didn’t want to make the commute.
But that shit is all whatever, this is about the show…and this time I caught some opener action. The Pets are some sort of spin-off from The Cuts, and my math skills were never good but I think there are thousands of Cuts spin-offs now, some of which I have seen and many I have not. But this group was great, even better than The Cuts as far as I’m concerned, not that they sound exactly alike or anything , but they do occupy the same apartment building musically speaking. They reminded me a bit of the New York Dolls, the vocals mostly, with the obvious garage influence as well. Either way, they were damn enjoyable and I would definitely see them again.
And then it was the A-Frames again…and they rocked again…and I was quite happy again. It was a shorter set but no less awesome, plus Stork shows seem to always go late anyways so I wasn’t too bummed they didn’t play a long set. They still didn’t play “Death Train”, I wonder if they feel they need the female accompanying vocals like on the album to pull it off live? Whatever the case may be, even though the crowd was small they were probably more enthusiastic for the band than the previous night, and I was whooping it up right there amongs them…a damn fine evening it was indeed.