I had mentioned to the guy next to me in the crowd at the Fishbone/English Beat show Friday night that it was one of the biggest crowds I’ve ever seen at Slowdown, and he pointed out an interesting scientific fact of physics and biology: Old people are just “bigger” than young people.
Or as someone else in the crowd put it, “Tim, tonight you’re the young, skinny guy.“
I knew the gig would draw an older crowd, but I wasn’t prepared for the overall vibe, which felt like a mix of, say, a suburban Omaha wedding reception with a Council Bluffs casino. Lots of folks in their 40s, 50s and even a few in their 60s, but you know what? — all of them were having a great time. They loved this music and they weren’t afraid to show it (unlike too many crowds at Slowdown these days). That meant giant guys dressed like Yogi Bear dancing a grind alone back by the bar. It meant lots of older New Jersey-looking women in leather jackets and pumps rushing around with whiskey sours in their well-manicured paws. It meant a night when the line out of the Men’s Room far exceeded the line out the Woman’s (Maybe it’s growing problem, not a going problem). You know the story.
Fishbone was onstage when we got there at around 9:15. They looked older but sounded the same as I remembered from MTV in the late ’80s. I’ve never liked Fishbone, and last Friday night’s set didn’t change my opinion, but I have to admit they put on a great show, and the band sounded tight, especially when they pulled out that bari-sax. The highlight was when frontman Andre jumped off the stage for a brief crowd surf — it’s been awhile since I’ve seen one of those. Click the thumbnail on the left to see a larger picture of Fishbone at The Slowdown, taken by photographer John Shartrand.
After a long break, the English Beat were next. Blond, trollish frontman Dave Wakeling still had that sandpaper voice (that’s beginning to slide into Colin Hay territory). The band also sounded good — that’s what months of casino tours can do, along with playing the same catalog night after night for decades. I waited through five songs for “Mirror in the Bathroom” before giving up.
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I ran into Jake Bellows outside The Brothers Lounge on Saturday night, where he told me his new website, jakebellows.com, has just launched. From the site, Bellows will release new songs — one per month. “I’m going to sell them for $1.29, and then take them down and replace them when they’ve been up for 30 days,” he says on the website homepage. You can find this month’s song by clicking on the “Music” link in the top nav. It’s “Should You Ever Change Your Mind,” a gorgeous track that features Jake’s guitar and swaggering croon. So is jakebellow.com the way all music will be sold in the future? Maybe.
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Also, here’s an early heads up for a rare show at The Brothers Lounge this coming Friday night. Conchance, Her Flyaway Manner and Broken Spindles will be performing on the Brother’s “stage” as a fundraiser for the Donut Hill Skatepark Project. $5, 9 p.m. More info on the Donut Hill project page in Facebook.
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