April 11. Awesome opening band

#aprilconcertchallenge Awesome opening band: Kyuss opening for Faith No More, Anaconda Theater, Isla Vista CA, 1/21/93 Considering they're the Velvet Underground of stoner rock, it's strange how I was totally unprepared for Kyuss. I thought I knew my bands from college radio, indie rock, thrash metal, and the Los Angeles/Riverside/Orange County region pretty well back in 1993, but these guys from Palm Desert flew completely under my radar until I saw them open for Faith No More in January 1993. "What is this, heavy metal?" I thought when Kyuss laid down their stoner rock (not a term people used back then). Singer John Garcia's rockstar posturing, which reminded me of Danzig, seemed a little at odds with the droning metallic rock of Josh Homme et al. Kyuss confused me, but they fascinated me. I don't know that I came away liking them, but once I discovered their records, I quickly "got it." By that time, of course, the band was pretty well close to breaking up. Meanwhile, all I remember of headliners Faith No More was that they performed their cover of the Commodore's "Easy" twice in a row. #Kyuss

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April 12. Mellow show/crowd


April 13. Wild show/crowd

#aprilconcertchallenge Wild show/crowd: Slayer Ever since Devo on Saturday Night Live freaked me out as a ten-year-old, I've had a taste for an element of confusion and danger when I go to a concert. Slayer's 1988 show at the Hollywood Palladium set the bar for this standard, which for me no band has ever surpassed. After a roundly booed set by Danzig — pity the opening act for Slayer — the lights went down, the sinister riff from "South of Heaven" leaped out of the PA, and the place descended into an actual melee. You see, in Los Angeles Slayer brought out more than the die-hard crazy fans they're famous for world over; many gangbangers loved the band as well. The mosh pit up front may have been safer than where I was, a little further back on the general admission floor. I saw some people literally kicking the shit out of hapless souls and figured the safest place to position myself was next to the giant immobile biker dudes. The event was both terrifying and beautiful to behold. And that was just inside. Little did I know that a riot had erupted outside after disgruntled fans were turned away from the sold out show. Search YouTube for "Riot footage outside of SLAYER DANZIG show at the Hollywood Palladium 80s" if you don't believe me. PS: This is not my ticketstub. #Slayer #Danzig

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April 14. Bought tickets but didn’t go

#aprilconcertchallenge Bought tickets but didn't go: Nirvana Here's Nirvana at Raji's in Los Angeles, February 15, 1990, opening for SubPop Records labelmates Tad. They were not the phenomenon they became at this time. Their first album Bleach had just come out, and people who listened to cool music knew it was good, but they generally categorized Nirvana as a "SubPop band." If you asked me then to guess which of those groups would have broken out big, first I would have laughed, and then I would have guessed Soundgarden or Mudhoney. Nirvana came to the UCLA college radio station on this day for an on-air interview, and I got to interview them along with @strrrrong and @murkijee, I think. The band was a little wiped out, smelling and feeling like a stinky van that had just driven 6-7 hours down from San Francisco to make a promotional college radio stop they probably were not all that excited for. I remember three things from the interview. First, Kurt asked if we could play something from blues originator Robert Johnson. We went into the music library and dug out a dusty soundtrack album and played it on the air. A few seconds in, Kurt looked at me with a serious frown: “This isn’t Robert Johnson.” It turns out it was a record to a made-for-TV biopic from the 70s, performed by contemporary musicians. Sorry, dude. Second, when the interview was over, the band put me on the list for the show at Raji’s. In my gratitude, I offered the band one thing that a college student and underground music fan could offer: “You need any pot for the road tonight?” The band looked at each other, and after an uncomfortable pause Krist Novoselic replied: “Naah, but Tad might want some.” Third, leaving for the show that night, I discovered that my truck had been stolen from its spot on Veteran Avenue in Westwood. So I didn’t get to see Nirvana that night, and for some reason could never make one of their concerts until their very last performance in L.A. at the Forum. #Nirvana #Tad

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April 15. Friend’s band

#aprilconcertchallenge Friend's band: New York It takes big cojones to name your band "New York," but that's what my friends Rey, Chris, @kennethwharton, and @nycbone called their rather smokin' indie dance-rock group. In 2003 they invited me and @pellawoo (who took these pictures) to join them on a week-long tour of Germany, where our old friend (and *my* former bandmate) Pit booked them a series of dates, from Berlin in the old east to Trier in the southwest. Not sure they sold many CDs or t-shirts, but the trip was a blast. I also brought records to spin, and my perfect beatmix of a four-on-the-floor techno track into the gnarly triplets of the Fall's "What You Need" at 4 am in a Berlin speakeasy remains a highlight of my short career as a DJ. We flew back to the US, and New York broke up soon thereafter. @rachelgugelberger

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April 16. Best band to sing along with

#aprilconcertchallenge Best band to sing along with: Public Enemy Singing with the band is not really what I come to do at concerts, and strictly speaking rapping isn't singing — a technicality! — but I guess I'm most inclined to sing along at a rap concert. My favorite occasion was Public Enemy headlining a ridiculous line-up including Ice-T, Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, Stetsasonic, EPMD, and Scorpio at the Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland, July 23, 1988. My friends and I were sneered at by the baseheads behind us and then, when PE hit the stage, told to sit down by Professor Griff — specifically, he told all the white people (and then all the baseheads) to sit down — but there's no way I could sit still and not shout along with Chuck D to "Rebel Without a Pause": "YES, THE RHYTHM THE REBEL…" Other highlights of this amazing concert include Ice-T filling in for Run-DMC (pretty sure I remember all the words to "Colors") and Stetsasonic (why don't more people remember them nowadays?). Oh yeah, and everyone had their minds blown when Will Smith a.k.a. the Fresh Prince took a breather from his corny raps and let Jazzy Jeff have his own solo spotlight. That guy was far and away the best DJ on stage that night. #PublicEnemy #IceT #DJJazzyJeff #FreshPrince #Stetsasonic #EPMD

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April 17. Auditorium/big show

#aprilconcertchallenge Auditorium/big show: Michael Jackson, "BAD" Tour Trust me, Michael Jackson's BAD was not something I chose to listen to in my senior year of college. But when someone from work had an extra ticket to one of Macca's nights at the LA Memorial Sports Arena, I figured I might as well see what the biggest spectacle in music looks like. It all felt like one long MTV special: the moonwalking, the back-up dancers, platinum-haired guitarist Jennifer Batten shredding dramatically, an extended "hee hee!" call and response with the audience, a hydraulic arm that carried him over the front rows. Yet I recognized every song he played. "Human Nature" was even kind of a special moment. #MichaelJackson #Macca #JenniferBatten

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April 18. Story from the pit

#aprilconcertchallenge Story from the pit: the Godfathers Well, phooey. Since I told my Slayer story five days ago, I have no more good stories from the pit. Truth be told, I really don't care to get "caught in a mosh" anyway, to quote Anthrax. I'm too focused on the band to watch out for an elbow aimed at my teeth. Let's see… I remember seeing the Godfathers in 1988. The evening began with @substitute and me trying to see the Gun Club somewhere in Orange County, but I got carded at the bar and couldn't get in. So we headed to Hollywood and made it to the Roxy in time to see the Godfathers do their set. Both band and audience kept each other at arm's length at first, sussing out who was cooler, but eventually the Godfathers broke down our reserve, and the floor moved this way and that in a good-natured pit. "Well, well, well," said the Godfathers' singer, "looks like we have ourselves a ruckus, Hollywood." #Godfathers #SidPresleyExperience #BirthSchoolWorkDeath

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April 19. Basement show

#aprilconcertchallenge Basement show: Born and Razed I used to drum for a DIY hardcore band called Born and Razed, and in the summer of 1996 we joined our friends Still Life in a U.S. tour — 39 shows in 40 days. We played community centers, record stores, warehouses, coffeehouses, libraries, the occasional alcohol-serving venue, parks, an outdoor tennis court, garages, living rooms… and these basements: Happy Hardcore House, Washington, DC, July 9. We played with Resin (on tour from Sioux City, South Dakota) and an Arlington-based band Kid Icarus. I remember that Resin's singer sang one song while wearing a furry British royal guard's helmet and cycling frantically on an exercise bicycle. University Lutheran Church, Cambridge, Massachusetts, July 13. On a bill with two local bands, Opposition and Rojas. Neil House, Columbus, Ohio, July 15. We played with a local straight-edge band, Medium, that created the first pit I saw all tour. (That's the kind of hardcore band we were: kid-centered by principle.) 2732 N. Oakland Street in Milwaukee, July 19. Mixelpricks (from Indiana) and Griver (North Carolina) opened. One of the few dates I'm confident that my band was the best on the bill. House of Gung Fu, Minneapolis, July 20. A bass-and-drums duo Black Jack Action (from Santa Rosa, CA) opened for us. Powerhouse, Portland, OR, July 25. On a DIY festival with Network Rune (from Phoenix), Q Factor (East Bay, CA), Shark's Kill, Siren, and Magnus Collective (local bands, I'm guessing). #BornAndRazed #StillLife #Resin #KidIcarus #Opposition #Rojas #Mixelpricks #Griver #BlackJackAction #NetworkRune #QFactor #SharksKill #Siren #MagnusCollective

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April 20. Show you traveled farthest for

#aprilconcertchallenge Show you traveled farthest for: Rock Werchter 1986 Finally, I have a ticket stub to share! I traveled from California to Belgium to see this venerable music festival. (In fact, I went the previous two years when I lived in Belgium, but this year I had moved back stateside, so this was a graduation-present haul.) I saw Simple Minds, Elvis Costello & the Attractions, UB40 (Chrissie Hynde came out for "I Got You Babe"), Lloyd Cole & the Commotions, Simply Red, and the Robert Cray Band. The official history says Talk Talk and the Waterboys played, but I think I would have remembered that, being a big fan of both of them at the time. #RockWerchter #SimpleMinds #ElvisCostello #UB40 #LloydColeAndTheCommotions #SimplyRed #RobertCray

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Part three
21. Not what you expected
22. Exactly what you expected
23. Saw them before they were big
24. Got an autograph
25. Once was enough
26. Reunion
27. Saw them before they broke up
28. Memorable for a reason unrelated to the music
29. Solo artist
30. One show you would go back to see again if you could time travel




Part one
1. First show
2. Most recent
3. Festival
4. Favorite venue
5. Band you’ve seen the most
6. Road-tripped to the show
7. Met the band
8. Hard to score tickets
9. Went solo
10. Went with someone special