A couple of weeks ago when I confirmed that The Cult would indeed be playing its "Electric" album in its entirety (the tour is called "Electric 13" so I figured as much) at the House of Blues on Aug. 11 in North Myrtle Beach, Scott Mann, deejay extraordinaire at local classic rock station WAVE 104 reminded me that there was something else going on that day.
Indeed, the ninth annual Jerryfest, an ode to the late Jerry Garcia and everything tie-dyed and jamified, would be happening at The Boathouse on the same date as one of my favorite bands playing one of my favorite albums.
But I decided then and there that I would try to take in both events - which are kind of on the opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of rock sub-genres, settings and vibes - one laid-back, one more aggressive and in your face.
So, yesterday the day came - and I had already enlisted my wingman for the proceedings, my mother-in-law's boyfriend (MILBF, nah, that's not a good acronym) who is in town from Maryland.
But yesterday morning my wife announced that she wanted to go to the beach...
I had hoped to get to Jerryfest in time to see local legends The Mullets play the event for the first time, but opted instead to come to a compromise to spend some family time with the brood, so we wound up taking our kids to the neighborhood pool for much of the afternoon.
By the time we got to Jerryfest, the headliner, Fire Wheel was already playing and the sun was going down, so we grabbed a couple of PBRs and settled in for about an hour of people-watching and grooving. Interestingly enough Fire Wheel's set included some non-Grateful Dead material, most notably a nice rendition of Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit." I thought that was fitting since the Airplane was basically born from the same Haight-Ashbury scene as Garcia and mates before it morphed into the abomination known as Starship.
Fire Wheel entertains the Jerryfest crowd Sunday at The Boathouse in Myrtle Beach.
With PBRs sucked down (only two occcifer, I swear), we left the Boathouse and headed up S.C. 31 to HOB.
I decided early in the day that the only way I was going to survive this adventure was to not get boozed up - and I made sure that the li'l devil on my shoulder wouldn't get the best of me by only carrying a limited amount of cash and no debit/credit cards.
So I grabbed the requisite $9 oil can Coors Light and tried to get into the white noise that opening act White Hills was making up on the stage. It was definitely rocking, but the droning buzz this trio created was a bit too atonal for my tastes.
With Coors Light finished, I opted for Red Bull straight up and my imbibing was done for the evening early on in The Cult's set.
Here's the part where I tell you that I'm not doing a critical, track-by-track review of The Cult's performance, because we also had a reviewer at the show, and you can read that review by following this link: http://www.weeklysurge.com/2013/08/12/3640760/concert-review-cult-electrifies.html
Upon arriving at the venue, I was shocked that parking spaces were so easy to come by.
Ruh-roh, I thought, would this be an embarassingly small crowd like the time way back when, when only a couple of hundred people showed up to HOB for a Liz Phair gig?
The late-comers did keep trickling in, so by the time The Cult hit the stage there was a strong contingent on the floor and in the wings, and upstairs in the loge.
I know it's bad for the venue's bottom line and the band's pockets, but I actually prefer when a show at the House of Blues isn't at capacity like last night's. You can move around - there's fewer drunk assholes bumping into you and obstructing your view, the bathroom and bar lines are shorter - and you can actually feel the air conditioner work. This was a noticeably smaller crowd than last summer when the band came to the same venue in support of the 2012 album "Choice of Weapon."
In the end, I'm glad I went last night - because The Cult put on a splendid show and there's not one dud off of "Electric" - and my ears are still ringing this morning as they seemed to turn up the volume on several of the newer tracks.
And I'm not sure if the volume got the best of guitarist Billy Duffy.
For much of the night, Duffy was doing a Pete Townshend-esque windmill move, especially on mega-hit "She Sells Sanctuary." But he also copped another Townshend move when he unplugged, stormed off stage, left the band to finish out "Sun King" and never returned - much as The Who's guitarist did on the first stop of its recent Quadrophenia U.S. tour.
Astbury, who'd been cajoling the crowd all night long, seemed perplexed, led the band in a bit of an impromptu jam to finish off the tune - and then when he introduced the band members, ran over to Duffy's spot on stage and did a couple of windmills.
I've put in a note to The Cult's publicist to find out what happened to Duffy, and if I get any news I'll update this blog.
But the time has come for me to wrap this up and move on to putting out this week's print edition of Surge, and its digital companion.
However, before I go, I wanted to let local music lovers know about one early-week event that happens before our next print edition hits the streets:
Can’t get enough wailing six-string in your life? Then check out the smorgasbord of shredding from the comfort of a theater seat as a one-night only showing of “ Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival 2013” comes to the silver screen on Tuesday at Cinemark 14 at Coastal Grand Mall. The program features highlights from the festival which took place at Madison Square Garden in April and includes performances by the Allman Brothers Band, Warren Haynes, Robert Cray, Buddy Guy, Derek Trucks, Doyle Bramhall II, Gary Clark Jr., Jeff Beck, John Mayer, Keith Richards, Keith Urban, and ol’ Slowhand himself, along with backstage footage. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Tickets are $14 and $15. Cinemark 14 is at 2100 Coastal Grand Circle, Coastal Grand Mall, Myrtle Beach. Call 839-3225 or visit www.cinemark.com.