Thanks to everybody on this board with their lightning-speed information service
. Thanks to y'all I was able to pick up tkts to this & Sat's show in a timely way and celebrate my birthday in proper fashion! I had just about come to the sad conclusion that for the first time in I don't know how many years there was to be no May/June Bay area offerings. Fooled again by the most expert pranksters in the business! But as I said, thanks to you all as soon as I saw the dates I was able to score the tickets.
Friday was our first visit to the Grate room, and we were not disappointed. It was a really mellow scene and we settled in nicely (scored two of the about 8 bar stools available for sitting) ahead of the music. The small crowd assembled gathered in front of the stage, sitting on the floor to save their spaces up front. We settled against the wall near the bathroom. The room is fairly small with a good view of the stage from all areas.
By show time the room was really packed, not allowing much room for movement. The music was great, with lots of extended jams amongst the song nuggets offered. I hope the shows will be posted as I am not very good at giving musical reviews in an articulate way; the music was so good I hope every one gets to hear it for themselves. A very good line-up, musician wise. We love Jackie Greene and Mark Karan; hell, we loved everybody. The songs were tight and well delivered, with the variety of Jackie and Marks vocals spiceing up the mix quite a bit. All the band members seemed at ease with each other, and they all took a bow together at the end of both shows, for those that keep track of such things...
In our experience the crowd was mellow and polite. On Friday night, if people were talking, I sure couldn't hear them over the good & loud music. In our area everybody was dancing like mad, but kind of punk style pogueing up and down cause there was only space to move vertically, at first. During the second set some had left so there was a tiny bit more room to dance normally, but it was still pretty tight in there. All in all a very satisfying show.
The second night was a somewhat less crowded for some reason, but it was still fairly packed. The only talker that I could hear was on Sat nite, 2nd set, when some woman was trying to shout down the music, but the music eventually won, and when her chattee moved off to dance she shut up. Other than that, I couldn't hear any talking that bothered me at all. I would say the chatter level in there was no different from seeing Phil & Friends at the Warfield; or the first Furthur shows at the Fox Oakland. People are standing, not sitting in seats, and there would be some mingling going on if you could find space to move around...to them, people are in a bar for a night out with music. It is common for people to be talking quite a bit until the music starts, then all bets are off cause the music is so loud you really have to scream in someone's ear to be heard, but nobody in our area was talking cause they were dancing their asses off.
We had a really good time both nights, although we did not see any old friends there. I think that's about the only down-side, that you don't get the huge variety of people there because the gate is so small...but you do get to be up close and intimate with those that are there, and it's fun to make new friends. Also, FYI, on the first night a guy told us he had just purchased his ticket an hour before the doors opened, and we met at least 3 people who were looking to sell their extra. Sat nite was a different story, with a few people in the lot looking for tickets. Not guaranteeing anything for Furthur, but I'll bet those that want to get in on the Wed. nite might be able to get in, especially if they get there around 4 or 5 PM.
Doors were supposed to be at 6:30, show at 7:30; Friday night doors were actually at 7:00, show at 8:20. Sat night doors ? time, show started at 8:03. We skipped the Sun. show, ahoy mateys, we went to the Pirate Festival instead, which was a real good time, too!
We saw George Clinton and Parliament on Sat at the Juneteenth Festival in Richmond. When I say saw, I really mean only SAW, because, sadly, the sound was so awful (I have never heard a group sound so bad, much less this band of very fine musicians) the sound system was so bad it sounded like we were listening to an old 8 track player ripped out of a decrepit Chevy. And George's mike didn't work hardly at all. It was very disappointing, and just goes to show even the best music can be ruined by inferior equipment.
A great weekend, all in all, and more to come...