Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Less Than Jake in Austin

Saturday my day was all about Less Than Jake. I had been planning for weeks for Saturday. Less than Jake made not one, but two appearances in Austin. I was excited as it had been over ten years since I last saw Less Than Jake in concert. I think they were on the bill for one of the many 90s Warped Tours I attended. This summer seems to be a 90s Warped theme for me as I already saw NoFX, Pennywise, Authority Zero, Strung Out and Rancid already. Yes kids, that’s how awesome the Warped Tour line up once was. Well, Saturday with Less Than Jake made me feel a little nostalgic about the “old days”.

Just as in the 90s during my teen years, I was excited when I heard Less Than Jake was coming to Austin. Their first stop was an Encore Records for an in store appearance. That in store appearance was actually a short acoustic set as Encore has a sound system and P.A. set up in the corner of the store. Encore even had a real sound guy working the boards, which even Less Than Jake applauded.

Their performance at Encore was hilariously entertaining. The two members of the band who performed were bassist/vocalist Roger and Chris, vocals/guitarist. Apparently, according to Chris, Roger had just bought the acoustic bass guitar he was playing that same day. Roger claimed he never played it before and he was just going to “go for it”. In between tuning and playing actual songs, Chris and Roger went back and forth about how Chris hated how the bass sounded. Roger said it wasn’t that bad, it sounded fine, and all to the amusement of the audience. Chris kept telling Roger to just “put it away” and told his trombone player, Buddy, who was recording this for them to turn off the video camera. It was all in good spirit and in good fun. After about forty minutes or so, they stopped to sign autographs for fans and of course I got my new copy of “GNV FLA” signed.

Immediately after the in store, I had to head downtown to La Zona Rosa as doors opened at seven. To get up front, you have to be early. Plus, I enjoy catching the opening bands at these major types of shows. I’m glad I was early. Not only did I get front row, I was one of the few people who got to hear O Pioneers. They performed as duo, a guitarist/vocalist and a drummer. They were really good, but I remember thinking two things during their set. 1) How did they get on this bill with Less Than Jake as they are not a ska or punk band and 2) Why are they so far away from each other? I mean literally it was like watching a tennis match, moving my head from one end of the stage to another. The drummer was like ten feet away from the singer. Other than that crazy distance, I enjoyed their set. Despite a low early turnout, they still rocked and everyone who saw their set seemed content.

After O Pioneers wrapped up, Big D and the Kids Table set up. “Big D” playing with Less Than Jake made sense. Big D is a ska/punk band who have been on the scene for a few years now, coming from the same era as Less Than Jake. With a three man brass section, they definitely added a good ska vibe to the show. Personally I am not really into Big D, but they aren’t bad. I remember a couple of songs they played, such as “New England” and what I think is called “One Two”. Their set was good, but lead singer David McWane seemed tired. Being that this was the last leg of the Less Than Jake tour, I guess that’s understandable. Instead of the beer he was drinking, someone should have served him something with Red Bull in it. It would have been a much livelier show for me. Over all, if they came back around to Austin I’d probably go see them again. I love a good punk/ska show.

Speaking of a good show, Less Than Jake came on shortly there after Big D. Unlike the in store earlier in the day, the whole band cam out and immediately got down to business. With more people in attendance, there was just a good energy inside La Zona Rosa. Watching Less Than Jake directly from the front row was something I didn’t get to experience at those early 90s Warped Tours. They played material from their new album of course, but old favorites from the older albums “Rockview” and “Losing Streak” are what made the show for me. Well that, and the comedic antics of lead singer/guitarist Chris. They talked a lot during their set, but being that Chris was actually funny, it didn’t really bother me.

Something else one can only see from the front row is little things Chris does to play with the photographers, such as acting like he is going blow a snot rocket at them. He didn’t of course because he is not a douche bag, but it was funny to see her face and then see him smile at her afterwards. Chris also made sure to pose with a funny face of some sort when he saw the cameras directly on him. What a personality that guy is. In case you haven’t come across the clips on you tube, he does indeed perform a song with a George Bush mask.

Finally, my Saturday with Less Than Jake concluded with me catching Roger’s guitar pick at the end of the show. I love this band more than ever now. You should have been there. In case you weren't, here is a clip of what you missed:

Bookmark and Share

No comments: