opening for Coldplay
June 20th, 2001
The show: We know that certain members of Grandaddy were displeased with their performance at the Sophtware Slump release party at Cafe DuNord, and we finally have an inkling of why. It was one of the first public jaunts that featured the new songs, and it must've been very difficult to hear those symphonically produced tracks on their first live run-throughs. A year of touring da Slump all over the world has perfected their timing and tone across the board, most notably on songs like 'First Movement/Message Send: I.D. #5646766' that began with a gorgeous static ridden wall of sound before sweetening into the actual song itself. Daz was also quick to point out that the downtime between songs has been drastically streamlined from those first performances she saw about three years ago. Shiny and polished, all the way round, and most especially in the guest star department. That's right, NorCal daddy fans were finally treated to the same fun the LA crowds got a while back when the band was joined by Elliot Smith for 'He's Simple He's Dumb', He's the Pilot'. Very cool, particularly the Willie Nelsoneqsue braids that Smith was sporting. The latest additions to the stage design featured new home movies with placards bearing the names of song titles in random places. A very cool way to clue in a neophyte audience, who, in spite of all our Coldplay bitterness, were an extraordinarily polite group of young adults who drank the whole thing in with nary a "Dude, who are these guys, man?" Impressive. Most impressive. But they are not Jedis yet. Let's hope they picked up copies of Sophtware Slump along with all those $25 headlining band t-shirts. Or what.
The circumstances: somewhat less than desirable. It aaaaall started back a few months ago when we learned that they had landed the opening slot for Coldplay. Let us tell you: had it not been for the amazing Kyle Lussier, aka Ticket Angel, we wouldn't have made it to this show. Seriously. These tickets, (which had sold out in forty minutes), were being sold for $60 - $90 dollars each on craigslist. And at a certain point, you have to evaluate the bigger financial picture and swallow the irony of missing your favorite band on their (relative) hometurf because some pauncy English pop group has fans that wake up early on the weekends. We say : Dear V2 Records: target demographics, market crossover and unit shifting notwithstanding, how about two sold out nights at the GAMH? Four sold out nights at The Make-Out Room? A two week residency in someone's garage? Anything that precludes dedicated fans from being shut out of a Grandaddy performance. Just a thought.
June 21st, 2001
An incredibly welcome change of pace from the Warfield. An excuse to leave work exactly on time...or earlier. A chance to record shop and spend all the money you have and some that you don't. Most importantly, a chance to see Grandaddy for free with about a hundred of our closest friends from the city. Oooh, not to mention the entire Central Valley posse who had trekked into town: Neil, Matt, Suzie and David from BLA, Sean and Taylor from Stabone/Demar, Lauren...Even Lady L.and Child. (The latter of whom made at least $20 in "swearing violations". Don't ask.) Let's not forget the promise of a big pitcher of sangria at Sweet Heat afterwards. Rad.
So maybe it was just because we were at the very front in the Photo Pit, (which wedged us in amongst all the psychobilly box sets that have strangely remained unsold), but aurally speaking this was the best sound we've heard in ages. At a record store, no less. A.M 180 sounded so crisp that it was downright shocking. Was this the first time we'd heard 'Jed's Other Poem (Beautiful Ground)' live? It sure seemed that way...We finally, finally got to hear that sonic love paean commonly referred to as 'What Can't Be Erased'. (We were told that this song is about the drummer's love for his car...sure, why not.) Listening to 'He's Simple, He's Dumb, He's The Pilot', we noted how close Lytle is to a perfect live realization of this deeply layered masterpiece. Why, Squid was even granted a special visit from The Street Bunny in all his caustic, furry glory.
This was the closest SF fans were going to get to a show that was all Grandaddy, and consequently, there seemed to be a massive vibe of admiration bouncing all over the room. The band seemed to appreciate being recognized within their own context and not having to explain themselves to yet another set of blank faces. (As was probably the case during the majority of this Coldplay affair.) The fans for their part appreciated not having to blow $30+ to see a band they love for 25 minutes. The place was packed all the way to the very back of the store. (It's just the used techno vinyl back there, anyways.) Good Lord, it was an All Around Musical Love-In made even lovelier by laughter and playful smack talk. Kumbaya and roll on Xfest...
Read our other Grandaddy reviews:
Acousticfest - April 1, 2001, Lauren's Barn, Oakdale, California, where Grandaddy performed a short 5 song set.
The Warfield, June 30th, 2000 opening for Yo La Tengo & November 13, 2000 opening for Elliot Smith
Unscrubbed, October 8th, 2000, Slim's - Jason Lytle performs a solo set.