Thursday, October 13, 2011

How I almost got kicked in the face by a Supersucker and other Rock 'n Roll stories

I only ever had one Supersuckers album: How the Supersuckers became the Greatest Rock Band in the World. All this time (I'm talking 10 years), I just thought it was just one great album. Russ told me tonight after the show that this is a compilation album of their greatest hits. No wonder every song on that album rocked. Russ was a fan and transferred this album to my iPod years ago. It has been on semi-regular rotation on my playlist ever since.


I somehow got on a mailing list of upcoming local concerts and received an email that alerted me that the Supersuckers were playing a Fort Worth show in October. First of all, touring rock bands generally don't play Fort Worth. Rock bands almost always opt for Dallas. Secondly, it was on the night of Russ' birthday and I thought it would be a fun birthday gift. Since we generally don't like leaving the house after dark (we're old) or crowds of people, but we still like live music and celebrating birthdays, it was a nice compromise. The show was at a small venue, close to home at Lola's in Fort Worth. Lola's is a very small venue, as in 300 people capacity. Russ has played there before when he was drumming for the Blarney Street Hooligans. I was excited to see a band that I liked in such an intimate setting.

The Supersuckers proclaim themselves to be The Greatest Rock 'n Roll Band in the World. While I love their confidence, I wonder if that sort of bravado would work for me. Lea G: Greatest Technical Developer in the World! Yes, it works! I'm updating my resume.

Russ and I and our friend (Super)Dave ate birthday sushi on 7th street before heading over to Lola's on 6th for the show. We get there about 9pm as the opening band is taking the stage. Russ buys his obligatory concert t-shirt as we wait it out for the main attraction. Let me first say that when the guys from the Supersuckers walked in the front door, I knew instantly they were with the band. They have a tattooed, trailer-trash, country yet rock 'n roll, hillbilly style which is not all that uncommon in Fort Worth. However, the band had a more polished (read: richer?) country-trash look that distinguished them from the real folk of say, Haltom City (no offense intended to the fine residents of Haltom City). I describe their look as I-used-to-be-trailer-trash-but-then-I-got-semi-famous-so-I'm-not-living-in-a-trailer-anymore-but-I-still-want-to-look-like-the-part-for-the-music-and-I-still-want-to-look-cool-so-I-do-that-by-wearing-sunglasses-at-night-in-a-dark-room. You could spot it a mile away. I'm just stating the facts as I see them folks.

During the opening bands, two very obnoxious, very drunk dancing girls reminded us why we usually opt to stay home. Why do we not go out much? Oh yeah, That's why. Way to ruin the experience for everyone, girls.

The band takes the stage about 11pm (way past my school-night bedtime on a Wednesday night, BTW). The band reminded us, in case we forgot, that they are indeed the greatest rock band in the world. We cheer because we want to, but also because they blatantly ask us to. This band really knows how to channel the energy of the crowd.

up close and personal

They put on a great show. Dirty, country, trailer trash, fast, punk rock 'n roll at its finest. The songs sounded as good as or better than I remember from the album. They played a mix of old favorites and some new songs, even if they didn’t play the one song I wanted to hear. They are performers for sure, playing to the crowd. Honest music with a definite tongue-in-cheek delivery. They ended almost each song with a dramatic vertical string instrument pose, there was much (what I call) synchronized jumping and kicking (more on that later) and they were actively encouraging the rock horns hand gesture from the crowd.

The show stopper however, was this little kid in the audience, sitting atop his parents shoulders right in the front. Let's just assume this was an all ages show, because this kid was probably 5 or 6. I didn’t check his ID. He was the cutest thing wearing these big headphones (I assume to protect his still developing eardrums) and the smallest Supersuckers t-shirt I have ever seen. His parents clearly coached him with the rock-on hand gesture and he stole the attention away from the stage all night long. As the guitar player would approach the front of the stage for a guitar solo, the boy would reach out his two little fingers (pointer and pinky of course) and touch the guitar with them. Even the band couldn’t take their eyes off or stop smiling at this kid. The shining moment for the kid was at the end of the show when the drummer, Scott Churilla, went off on this amazing extended drum solo. The kid stood on the side of the stage and did an intense air drumming solo, flailing his arms and body all over the place. I don’t think anyone was watching Scott anymore. Good thing we could look at the kid, but still hear and appreciate the amazing drumming of this guy. I'm sure this boy will have lots of stories for his pre-school class the next day about his night spent at a bar, probably littered with F-bombs that he learned coming from the stage all night. The kid was super adorable and entertaining, but these parents aren’t winning any parent-of-the-year awards. But seriously, the Supersuckers should bring this kid on tour with them.

The band ends the night with a speech about not insulting the crowds intelligence by pretending to play the last song, leave the stage, then wait for cheering in order to come out and play the real last song or two (you know, like they do at pretty much every concert everywhere). He said we would save 5 minutes by skipping the charades and they would have time to play an extra song. Way to be honest and efficient with your rock ‘n roll boys! This is when things got kind of rowdy. You HAVE to expect at almost any rock show, if you stand in the front you are going to get knocked around a bit. It is just a fact. If you are old like me and are not really into leaving concerts with bruises, then you have to stand somewhere else. Up until this point it was relatively calm. I maintained my front row status with no trouble until about the last 3 songs. That’s when the moshing started. On a side note, when did moshing become such a mainstream thing, didn’t it used to be almost exclusive to heavy-metal and hard-core? These days, I swear people will mosh to John Mayer. But I digress.

Now my sweet protective hubby stood behind me and was pro-actively pushing away the oncoming moshers in order to protect his wife, but I was still being pressed-hard right into the stage. I was actually maintaining my balance by leaning into the floor monitors on the stage. Now, if this would have been in the beginning of the show I would have been out of there (so fast) to the comfort of a bar stool in the back of the room, but I knew this was the last song or two so I was hanging tough. This is when I almost got kicked in the face by a Supersucker. Remember the synchronized kicks I talked about earlier? Well, my entire upper body was being pushed forward, well onto the stage. The band did a unison kick to accent a note and I saw a giant black cowboy boot coming right for my face. Maybe I’m exaggerating and the objects were not as close to my face as they appeared, but I ducked just in case. I managed to leave the show unscathed.

The Supersuckers perform like they believe they are the greatest rock 'n roll band in the world and gosh darn-it, they make you believe it too (even if just for that hour and a half).

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