i happened to have chosen the smokehouse to watch last night's game, and it was much as could have been expected: the food was middling, (though the wings are just fine at .25 cents apiece during the games, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that), the beer was among the best in lowell--as far as tap beer goes, nobody beats their lineup, and though the old court matches 'em pretty well on suds, and then otherwise wins on food, the clincher last night was the big screen on which to watch the game, and there the OC still has some ground up with which to make. the first and second periods were nail-biting and not without prime chances for both teams, but timmy thomas didn't have the answer during that breakdown in the third period, and there was your difference. in the end, vancouver had the edge in the faceoff circle, along the boards, and everywhere else on the ice for that matter, but it was the reaction of the smokehouse crowd to the sound check between the first and second periods, and the mini-set between the second and third that is all i'm willing to talk about past that.
it was a metal band. (lowell locals thurkills vision). it was a metal band with a pretty healthy following, based on the number of non-hockey folks in the house. though it was either a metal band without much sense of irony, or a metal band with a pretty healthy sense of humor, as they came equipped with a guitar rack with 6 or 8 backup axes for a sound that absolutely needs no more than 2, and they describe their sound as "melodic metal". (melodic is a funny way to put it--it's metal--and if you need a second guitar to play it, you are one of those folks proverbially and absolutely unclear on the concept, though clearly these guys do get it, guitar rack notwithstanding). coincidentally, it was a metal band that annoyed each and every one of the folks around me without bothering me at all. (for the record, i liked them a lot).
first of all, the commentary for these stanley cup playoffs, like the ones before it in recent memory, is so lame that it's laughable. honestly, watching with the sound off is only a disappointment in that you can't hear the roar of the crowd which is really all that you need to know. (and vancouver's crowd, measured to be a dB less than boston's at its loudest, seems to be every bit as into it as any on the continent, and that's alwasy a treat). that we might have had to listen to metal instead of doc emrick would be no great loss, and that we get to listen to good metal would be an absolute treat. but the band was respectful of the hockey, and made all their noise during the intermissions when saving us from mike millbury's blatherings is a service to mankind worthy of nothing but praise and gratitude. and, in all seriousness, for a metal band, or any other kind of band for that matter, they were just fine for me.
i didn't stay for their sets, though i would have under different circumstances. (i am under the proverbial weather this week, and losing a hockey game takes whatever air might be left in a fan's sails in that condition). i know none of the folks with me would have, but that's ok--there's music for everyone, and then there's music for just some folks. which puts me in mind of tonight's downtown lowell music lineup, and the punk night at the lamplighter music series upstairs at the worthen, and corey b's solo show over at furey's. i know few of the lamplighter regulars are likely to feel the same way tonight as they felt two weeks ago for the john fogerty birthday bash, and that's ok. i, for one, am hopeful to shake whatever it is that's ailing me enough to get out for at least some of it--i love punk, and even if it's bad punk, it's still punk, and there's something to be said for the attitude. i'll wrap it around or insert it into the middle of catching corey b's show at furey's, and i'll feel very good about myself for getting out "in my condition". (my head is a brick, and i haven't felt like eating for days).
the real headline, however, and i know it's the weather that'll make the difference for most folks, is farren-butcher-inc (FBI) at the riverfest this afternoon. if you like music, you will love this show. (saw them at voices twice, and they were awesome, not to mention so many times individually back in the day that no one will ever be able to count). charlie farren (local chelmsford boy these days) and jon butcher are two of the most talented guys to ever pick up a guitar in boston, the vicinity, or anywhere else for that matter, and hearing them together is a rare treat that comes around often enough these days that no excuses should be left not to have done it at least once.
if the weather clears, BE THERE. if the weather doesn't clear, i have no idea how you can figure out if the show is still on, as the organizers never saw fit to offer clear information on the venue or contingencies. (when they say it's at the concord river greenway, i have no idea if they mean outdoors, under a tent, or inside in case of rain). maybe they'll say later, i don't know. 92.5 the river is co-sponsoring, so maybe they'll broadcast info later. either way, it's yet more evidence that the "cultural organization of lowell" doesn't do as "alive, unique, inspiring" a job as them might, and though their slogal hardly seems to inspire organization, it does at least aspire to otherwise support culture in between. (seriously--a street address and description of the performance facilities would seem not to be unreasonable requests for next time--not everyone knows where the "concord river greenway" might be, nor what adverse weather might mean to it).
either way, it's local music saturday, and i'm all for it.