On Friday night I decided to check out the I,God reunion gig billed as the band’s final show, but I was worried the Hot Fish Club was going to be more like the Frozen Cod Packing Company, as it is a gazebo bar, after all, and temps were set to dip into the 20s.
So I bundled up as I rarely do - toboggan, scarf, undershirt, shirt, sweater, leather jacket and wool socks. Sounds more like an L.L. Bean catalog shoot than a night on the town in usually balmy Murrells Inlet.
This icy blue backdrop seemed to match Friday night's frigid temperatures.
Turns out I was a bit overdressed as various heaters kept the plastic-enclosed Gazebo bar plenty warm - as did the the hum of human activity - so I roamed the grounds a few times, getting some fresh air, and checking out the fire pit, and making a few pit-stops at the unbelievably cramped men’s room as well.
There were two notable reunion shows on the Grand Strand during the weekend - and I had to decide on which one to attend - going to both was pretty much out of the question.
I vacillated all week whether I wanted to go check out another reunion by The Drag, the notorious Brit Pop-influenced Myrtle Beach band which had a taste of national fame with its 1996 album “Satellites Beaming Back at You” released by Island Records, or the much-less heralded, harder rocking I,God, dare I say math rock outfit. I pretty much figured I couldn’t go to both shows on back-to-back nights as finances and staying out until the wee hours wouldn’t allow it.
So geography, proximity, the fact that I prefer to go out on Friday nights and because I was able to rope my good buddy Matt into the proceedings, I chose I,God...but was also sitting at home Saturday night scanning the various Facebook posts about The Drag gig at Pirate's Cove in North Myrtle Beach and wishing I was there, too.
Meanwhile, there were plenty of familiar faces at the Hot Fish Club, and I got a chance to schmooze while The Mayor (AKA Brian McKenzie) spun a variety of tracks from a laptop - many heavy on ‘90s-era rock befitting the vibe of the evening, such as The Screaming Trees’ “Nearly Lost You.”
Then local rockers The Shark Legs rolled in, set up quickly, plugged in and pounded through a - I’m going to guess here - 45 minute set, mixing in Ramones-inspired originals, and including a cover of Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell.” It had been quite awhile since I’d listened to the band, and I remember ‘em having sort of a throwback to hard rock and cock rock of the ‘80s, but on Friday night I got more of a punk/Ramones vibe than anything - and that's a good thing. And these guys were tight - I was impressed. I especially enjoyed how much energy guitarist Jamie D’ Lux put into the performance, treating his sunburst Epiphone Les Paul like a weapon.
I started to keep an eye on the clock, and when the bar ran out of my signature drink, Pabst Blue Ribbon, I got a little bit worried, but I soldiered on with Yuengling (the instant-headache-maker), and it quickly crept past midnight and I,God hadn’t gone on stage yet - my buddy, Matt, who drove, was getting kind of bored and antsy.
We're not worthy of your supreme riffage, I, God.
Then, finally, between 12:30-12:45 a.m. (I think), I, God took the stage - bassist Patrick O’Leary, guitarist/vocalist Bradley Roberts, guitarist Kyle Thrash and drummer Mark Holt - and began blasting into its catalog of riff-heavy, angular, time-signature-changing original rock. Now, I know local bands are out there plugging away playing their own material, but there was just something about Friday night that made me wistful about the good old days when it seemed the live music scene was bursting with creativity. Maybe I’m just old.
I wasn’t overly familiar with I,God’s catalog, but had covered the band in my previous incarnation as the pop culture/entertainment reporter for the local daily paper - but I always knew any outfit that includes Roberts and O’ Leary would have to kick-ass by default - and I think the band was/is regarded as one of those musicians’ musicians guilty pleasures.
And then came the evening’s bit of hilarity - probably a highlight for many - as drummer Jason Hearn, jumped on stage wearing a wig, shades and false buck teeth.
I honestly did not know who he was. But he proceeded to roast the band, one by one, and the scene, in a mock redneck accent, and then jumped behind Holt’s kit to pound the skins. I should have known it was Hearn, who has played in various local bands including Echo 7, Psychward, and The Frownies, and has a keen sense of humor, as well as impeccable chops on the kit.
But he was completely unrecognizable and I didn’t put two-and-two together until the next day when I saw Hearn making Facebook comments about his comedy bit.
At this point it had crept past 1 a.m., and I told my compatriot that I was going for one more brew, closing out my tab, guzzling said brew, and then we could leave.
I finally laid my head to rest around 2 a.m. - with the evening’s music, images and shenanigans dancing around in my head.
As for Saturday night’s Drag reunion - we will have Party Pix photos from it this week, so hang tight and make sure you check www.weeklysurge.com for them to be uploaded.
And that’s not all we’re working on this week for your Web browsing and ink-fingering pleasure (that sounds much dirtier than I had intended) - we’re cooking up new installments of Ridin’ with Big E, Beerman, Gut Reaction and Working 4 a Living - in addition we’ve got an expert look at the upcoming slew of new alt-TV programs set to roll out in the second half of the TV season which is getting back into the swing.
Also, if you’re not tuckered out from the weekend’s rock ‘n’ roll reunions and yesterday’s Super Bowl extravaganza and its extra half-time - the 36 minute delay due to a power outage - here are some options for getting out of the house and kicking the early work week in the ass:
Maybe Beyonce’s half-time performance inspired you to pick up a microphone and test your moves in front of the mirror. Well, test your pipes in front of a real audience, why don’t you?
You have the opportunity to do so tonight at a couple of Grand Strand area bars as Cote’s 19th Tee hosts Karaoke with Cheryl Z starting at 5:30 p.m. and Pop’s Place Bar and Grill’s Karaoke starts at 8 p.m. No cover for either venue.
Cote’s 19th Tee is on S.C. 9 in Little River, 734-0758, and Pop’s Place Bar & Grill is at Sixth Ave. South in Myrtle Beach, 448-6033.
Friday night at the aforementioned I,God show, I bumped into keyboardist Damon Bradley and asked him about his band’s open mike gig at Pine Lakes Tavern, the former Droopy’s. The band - now known as The PTL Band (Pine Lakes Tavern, but I had to ask) - is the virtually the same as it was, he said, since holding court at the former Stool Pigeons as the ATM Band. Anyhow, if you’re wanting to show off your chops with a live band, then show up Tuesday at Pine Lakes Tavern as the PLT Band hosts Open Mike Nite starting at 9:30 p.m. Pine Lakes Tavern is at 5201 N. Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, and has been completely revamped since its Droopy’s days.
Now that football is officially over and baseball hasn’t yet started, the ol’ roundball has its moment to shine, and you can check out NCAA basketball in the flesh right here in our county seat.
Still fighting to lift its head above the .500 mark, Coach Cliff Ellis’ Coastal Carolina University men’s basketball squad takes the floor Wednesday against Big South Conference foe Charleston Southern at the HTC Center in Conway. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Tickets are $8, $10, $12, and $15. The HTC Center is at 104 Founders Drive on CCU’s Conway campus, bounded by U.S. 501 and S.C. 544. Call 347-TIXX or visit www.goccusports.com
Personally, I’m pining to get to a CCU game so I can check out the spanking new HTC Center.