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Fishbone: Still Stuck in my head

I had a absolutely wonderful evening last night, start to finish. It's not that I don't normally have nice evenings, this one was just a standout for the sequence of enjoyable experiences and moments.

My former sister-in-law, Charity (of Hollywood in Heels fame) was in town so I met her for preprandial aperitifs at her new inamorato's dwelling. A gorgeous place, very classy and with a great view of SF (how can you not when you're on top of Potrero Hill?). The conversation was lively and spirited, and the L.A folks held none of the characteristic snobbery that I've come to associate with "L.A People". All very genuine, nice people, people I'd be glad to hang with again. See, my wife is a fan of celebrity news, (though I am not) and I get a lot of the gossip by proxy, like it or not. If the gossip rags and websites are all you read, you get the impression that everyone in Hollywood is a prima donna or a self-important prick. Charity and her cadre of friends are slowly changing my mind, but I should have known they would: Charity doesn't waste her time with the other kind of ilk.

When the party was assembled, we headed off to Oakland to dine at À Côté. My brother and his lovely fiancee joined us there and we made a cozy party of ten. The food at À Côté IS all that it's cracked up to be. The clams in particular got a lot of attention from me, and they really are ALL THAT. If you like clams and you go to À Côté, be sure to get them. There were several notables in attendance from Charity's blog: The Man in Black and Strawberry Kisses. It was nice to finally put faces to a fictional names. While still in SF, we had been introduced with real names, and I didn't make the connection until dinner. Oh well, it's not the last time I'll call myself a simpleton. My only complaint (and it's a minor one) was that the large tables at À Côté are linear, meaning if you're sitting at one end (I was), having a conversation with anyone more than 2 seats away is near impossible. Round tables work better, not only for conversation but for sharing food as well. There was no lack of conversation at our end of the table, and I think everyone enjoyed themselves. A shout out to my brother: thanks for keeping me laughing most of the night! You were at the top of your comedic game saturday night…

I had intended to leave dinner early to head to see Fishbone, but I stayed until it was over, as I was having so much fun and it seemed lame to leave such good food and good conversation/people. The DJ Smoke/Wisdom/Fishbone show was supposed to start at 9:00, so I figured that I'd skip the opening band and arrive at 10-10:15 and be there in time to see Fishbone. Our food at À Côté didn't even start arriving until ~9:45 so there was no way I was going to make the (imagined) 10:30 Fishbone start time. I'd let go of my expectation of punctilious arrival sometime around when the food arrived (I was starving at this point, as my last meal had been about 10 hours previous). When we finally rolled out (everyone else was headed to see The Lovemakers at the Uptown), I figured I'd catch what was left of the set. To my great surprise and ecstatic glee, my 11:40 arrival time had me 20 minutes ahead of Fishbone's start time. Jubilant glee ensued, and I NEARLY did the yippy skippy in honor of Charity. Somehow, I managed to contain that energy for the show.

Shattuck Down Low reminds me of the cousin who lives in his parents basement, only waaaaay bigger and with a bar on either side. There's tons of couches and seating, and the atmosphere is far more relaxed that it is at most Marin bars/clubs. I grabbed 2 drinks at the bar (almost no wait: bonus points!) and headed for the stage. When Fishbone came on, the cloud of uber pungent herb smoke that erupted from the crowd was enormous, and more than sufficient to put a permagrin on my face. The set was awesome! Angelo did at least 4 crowd surf sessions, but Dre Gripson kicked it off by doing the first one. In all the years I've been going to concerts (yes, I missed the legendary first Lolapalooza tour), I've never experienced the BAND crowd surfing, though I'd seen it done by fans. It's a different beast all together when the band does it, because though they may get close, they almost never crash to the ground. Angelo even managed to walk on the LOW ceiling several times. The energy in the crowd was electric and contagious and I rode the energy wave the whole night. I neglected to write down a set-list, but hopefully someone will put one up at They played a lot of the hits (Bonin in the Boneyard, Party at Ground Zero, Ma & Pa, Everyday Sunshine, Lyin' Ass Bitch) and a bunch from the new album (Date Rape, Behind Closed Doors, Party With Saddam, Skank 'N Go Nuts, Let Dem Ho's Fight, Jack Ass Brigade). Bottom line: if you like Fishbone even a LITTLE bit from their albums, go see them live and you'll be sure to walk away with a permagrin: I know I did. One final note: bring your earplugs, it's loud (that's how Rock n Roll's supposed to be done!).

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