Soul Asylum And The Meat Puppets – 11/07/15 in Dayton, OH

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Saturday morning we woke up and were trying to figure out what we were going to do with the day.  The high water mark was going to see The Martian in the movie theater.   Anything better than that was doable (though we have heard really good things about The Martian). While in the planning stages we looked at what concerts were going on.   Soul Asylum and The Meat Puppets were playing in Dayton.   Tickets were 30.00 – it was better than The Martian.   Guess we were going to a concert.

Dayton is about two and half hours away from us.   This isn’t a terrible drive, it is about the same as we would make if we were driving to Detroit.   We just hadn’t done the full Dayton drive.   We visit a nearby town to Dayton about once a year – but this was the first time I think I have spent anytime in Dayton proper.  The drive was a monotonous, soul crushing two hours.   It wasn’t about the distance or the time, it was solely on the boringness of the highways you take to get there.   From that perspective I really prefer driving to Detroit.   At least part of that drive is interesting.

Highways aside we arrived in Dayton early to get some shopping done (which didn’t come to any fruition) and get dinner.    We browsed the Dayton Mall and then had dinner at the Rusty Bucket.   They advertise that all their food is made from scratch with fresh ingredients (with the exception of fries).   I had the Italian Torpedo, it was pretty good – but felt like something was missing in the taste profile.   We finished up and headed fifteen minutes across town to the venue, Oddbody’s Music Room.

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At first we thought we had the wrong location since all we noticed was the Family Dollar, off to the left was the small venue.   While this picture truly does not give the venue justice it was a bit strange at first.   After having experienced the evening there, I would say this is one of those hidden gem establishments to see bands.   The whole place was accessible and easy to get towards the front of the stage.   I don’t know if this show was sold out – but it was fairly easy to get around.

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Here is a picture of the interior.   The best I could describe it to my friends back in Vermilion, OH was that it was slightly smaller than Commodore’s Place.   As you can see it is much deeper than you would have expected seeing the outside.  Now drink choices compared to other venues – this place does run a bit lean.   We asked if they had Patron, no they didn’t.   Ok so we both ordered a Captain and Coke.  The flavor was a bit off, but I blamed the mixture of the Coke.   When we had a second round, the bartender asked me if Sailor Jerry was ok.  Patron, that I can understand that not everyone stocks.   Captain Morgan on the other hand, that one was a bit weird.

We did make the joke before we left home that we could wear flannel to the show.   We would not have been out of place if we had.   Compared to some other concerts we have been to – we were definitely on the younger side of the crowd.  The people that were wearing flannels wore them because they were comfortable.   This place didn’t have the ironic wardrobe stylings of more hipster location that we have been to.   It was refreshing to be somewhere completely genuine.

Able Danger

Members of Able Danger: Nikki Luttrell Chris Stewart Ben Willis Jason Winner

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The first band was Able Danger.  Above is the only video I could find of them.   Most concerts I go to there are at least some videos posted the next day.   This concert was a rarity in that regards.   To me, Able Danger sounded like a mixture between Evanescence and Linkin Park.  I didn’t know a single song – but I enjoyed everything they played.

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I did feel bad towards the end of their set they played a song that I assume was a cover (though maybe it was the song above).   I did not recognize it at all.  I will keep on eye on them.  If they play somewhere near me, I would definitely go see them again.

A Shade of Red

Members of A Shade of Red: Sean Pennington, Georgia Goad, Alessandro Cortez

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A Shade of Red fit more in tone with the headliners.   This isn’t to say that Able Danger wasn’t great, just wasn’t really in the same vein of music.   A Shade of Red had some songs that felt a bit punkish – but the guitar sound was bluesy in quite a few songs.

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The female lead singer had a strong voice that fit very well with the music she was playing.   Since this was my first time seeing them live, I couldn’t compare an album to a live sound.   In some ways though, this venue was a bit too large for them.   I don’t mean that in any negative sense.   I think they would fit perfect in a place like Now That’s Class in Cleveland.   A small stage and a very close and enthusiastic crowd.   Something that was their own where they could be a headliner and have an interaction with the crowd.   That would be a fantastic venue to see this band.

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A Shade of Red is another independent band that I would go see if they were around my area.   Dayton is a bit of a trip for some of the smaller bands.   The Cleveland or Columbus areas would be places I would visit them though.

The Meat Puppets

Members of The Meat Puppets: Curt Kirkwood Cris Kirkwood Elmo Kirkwood Shandon Sahm

The first Meat Puppet song I shared above, Sam, is now my favorite.  I had not even heard it before they played it at the concert.   The Meat Puppets are a band that I was aware of in how the influenced bands, the songs that Nirvana covered in Unplugged, and overall longevity.   I wasn’t even aware that Backwater (the second Meat Puppet video above) was a Meat Puppet song.   For those that listened to 90’s rock it was one that you could not have avoided in the flannel height.

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One of the most amusing things to me was the rhythm guitarist.  Elmo is the lead guitarist’s (Kurt) son.   He was very animated and seem to be having a great time up there on stage.   I know he is not an original member, but his presence and antics made the group seem complete.

Since I was most familiar with The Meat Puppets from the covers that Nirvana performed on Unplugged, I was surprised they played Plateau and Oh My back to back.  When the first one hit the crowd went wild and sang along.   When the second one hit the crowd went even more nuts.   For a minute I thought they were doing them both to get them out of the way.   However, it seems they know how to engage their crowd and give everyone a good time.  They thoroughly seemed to enjoy what they were doing.

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My favorite moment of the night was when they played a cover.   It was Sloop John B most famously performed by the Beach Boys.   This is one of my favorite songs of all time.   They completely did it justice.   I think part of the reason they played for it was the meaning of the song and the fact that this was their last tour stop.   Regardless, it was fantastic.  I don’t think I’ll ever hear a better live version until I get the chance to listen to Brian Wilson perform.

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Like I said earlier, I was more aware of The Meat Puppets than familiar with them.   I was blown away when Sam came on.   I would say that it was so different than the other things they played, but it wasn’t.   Everything they played was all quite different from one piece to another.   It did have a nice cohesion and flow though.    It showed off that they are veterans at what they do.

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The Meat Puppets closed out their set in jam band style with an epically long and awesome version of Lake of Fire.   There was obviously a reason they saved this first last instead of lumping it together with the other two songs that Nirvana covered.   They showed why this is their song – and why Nirvana’s should be considered the runner up.

Soul Asylum

Members of Soul Asylum: David Pirner Michael Bland Winston Roye Justin Sharbono

Soul Asylum, took the stage and the pit area started to get packed.   People were mulling about during the sound check, which took the longest of all the acts.  While Soul Asylum was the act I was most familiar with, it seems they have a much larger song catalog than I was aware of.  One song they didn’t perform that I was hoping for was Can’t Even Tell.   Since it was on the Clerks Soundtrack, it is probably my most listened to non-radio Soul Asylum song.  I went through a cassette, then a CD, then MP3s of that album.

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As far as I’m concerned Misery is the best song that Soul Asylum ever produced.  The crowd expectedly went nuts when it came on.  I believe this was the first of the radio hits they played.   Since I learned that I wasn’t as large of a fan as I thought, I’m sure some of the songs before they played were just a big.   Everything they played during the show was fantastic and the band played with exuberance.

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The first time he swapped out his electric guitar for the acoustic, I thought he was going to bust out Runaway Train.  I was wrong, it was a big tease.  Through out the the night he swapped back and forth between electric and acoustic.   About the third time is when Runaway Train came on.  I’m not quite sure if this was larger hit for them then Misery – but it definitely jogs memories.  My senior year we did the yearly band trip to Cedar Point.   One of my best friends had a new girlfriend.   While they were all cuddly on the bus she went on and on about Runaway Train was their song.   They were off in a direction and were going to keep going.  Needless to say it was just and end of the year infatuation that didn’t make it the distance.   If you look at the music video though, it is mighty strange that this would be anybody’s song.

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The lead singers movements and mannerisms were straight out the of the nineties.  This has it’s good points and the bad, but since I didn’t them twenty years ago, I don’t think I missed much.   It makes me miss the hair that goes halfway down my back.  It also reminded me that long hair only looks good on aging nineties rockers.   I don’t think I could pull off the look half as well these days.
2015-11-07 22.45.26The whole performance was a time capsule sealed in 1996 and sent forward as a gift to the fans.   I would watch them again, but The Meat Puppets stole the show for me.   My love for Soul Asylum is the same before and after the show, but The Meat Puppets won me over to be a believer.  What I hope now is both acts end up on the Summerland tour with Everclear next year.  That is a nineties compilation concert I’m already not going to miss and I don’t even know who is performing.

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If you get a chance, catch all the acts that I listed above.  This has been one of the few concerts that I have been to where all the groups were fantastic.   The whole show had a nice cohesion that doesn’t seem to last from one act to the next.   This concert started at 7:30 and ended at midnight.   Great bands, great venue, questionable alcohol availability – it was a great night.

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