Iceage Cobra ::: Photo by Abbey Simmons
The nice thing about getting to put together our own shows are the opportunities to act on little more than a lark and a dream and still have things work out. Our dream was to bring the best of the Blue Moon Tavern circa 2007/2008 to Columbia City Theater, but that would involve reunions and cross country travel.
Our bill on Friday July 1st, truly was a lark and a dream, though its success wasn’t certain at all in our minds. If we could wrangle the bands, would a Blue Moon crowd come to Columbia City Theater? These were questions that could not be answered ahead of time. But as 9:30 struck and the room filled with old familiar faces on and off stage, we had what we’d hoped for all along: a full-on return to the Blue Moon Tavern circa 2007/2008, a one-night only reunion of Iceage Cobra, the return of the Hopscotch Boys and current favorites What What Now.
What What Now have an entire catalog of catchy melodies and incredibly catchy pop-punk lyrics, which felt even larger as we were given a set of new songs on a new stage. What What Now craft the kind of lyrics and melody that inhabit your unconscious until just the right moment a day later, and you’re suddenly headbanging in vegetable aisle, “Tired Head! Tired Head!” The foursome launches into just about every song, a kicking off of the momentum of Rob Dyrdek careening through a playground of obstacles, navigating his board over and through avoidable hazard after avoidable hazard while never falling off. Its youthful disregard braking is slightly crazy but ultimately thrilling and fun as hell.
Friend of the blog and Blue Moon Tavern booker Jason Josephes agreed to wrangle his band the Hopscotch Boys for the special occasion of an honest-to-god rock show under the Sound on the Sound Presents banner. Frontman Blowdog arrived on-stage with hum bao Hooters, a blonde wig, and a menacing orange ski mask, and entered the crowd to challenge our collective personal space before the first song was over. His beady eyes peaking out from just big enough holes amounted to Blowdog’s creepiest stare yet. As he pulled off the mask (but kept the wig) and began pulling hum bao from his pants shirt to stuff in his mouth the night descended into that hazy place where you’re not entirely sure if you just saw what you think you saw, where drinking is called for to help you process and forget it all at the same time. By the end of the night marshmallows and hum bao carcasses littered the floor under the place where a minor pit spun up and the crowd was more outright grins than uneasy smirks.
We started Sound on the Sound in search of rock and Iceage Cobra was one of the first to emerge to us as the best of 2006′s crop. Thus, with just one record under their belt, Iceage Cobra’s 2008 demise was far too soon for us. Guitarist Jordan West is Angus Jr., a swirling mayhem of hair and kicks and guitar play. The songs were penned with testosterone on the mind after all so the rest of the band sweats their share of male prowess: Hobosexual’s Ben Harwood on bass is a guitar god in his own right, and Mitch Brasch who took some time to visit from higher education to break his symbol at soundcheck and give a go at the same for the rest of his set during his hour on stage. Few bands we’ve seen since feature in one song’s time the same balance of showmanship and fist-pumping anthemic rock that Iceage Cobra dishes out with every song, and seeing it all in action again, separate from the era in which it existed, it stood up on all levels. Far from a slapdash one-off “reunion,” the threesome delivered for their gathered fans in spades, and sweat it out like every other show before it. It’s no favor for them to have followed the Hopscotch Boys, and yet even today the presence of Iceage Cobra effectively stomps out the thought of all others.
Word is Hopscotch Boys might be lurking around a bit more in the coming months so be on the look out for that. As for me, hum bao will never quite look the same. Thanks to those of you who came out and fulfilling our dream of bringing the best of the Blue Moon to Columbia City Theater. You know what I mean when I talk about hum bao never being the same, and Friday wouldn’t have been the same without you.
Hopscotch Boys ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth
Find some photos from Friday night below the fold…