Sometimes it helps to leap without looking.

The Grog Shop and the Beachland Ballroom feel like home to me.  I've been saying for a while that I could probably show up at those venues on any random night and enjoy myself regardless of what band was playing.  Recently, without really intending to, I tested this idea.

A few weeks ago I was making plans for a free Friday and selected Hoots & Hellmouth at the Beachland on the strength of a blurb that praised their inventive songwriting.  The two opening acts were kind of country-tinged, but I've been exposed to "alt-country" before and I expected the main act to be more "alt".  Nothing in the show's description gave any suggestion that this was going to be Country Night.  But Hoots & Hellmouth were unmistakeably a country band.  The thing is, they were tight.  I don't see too many bands--rock, country, jazz, whatever--that can stop on a dime like these guys did.  I was impressed.  And I had a good time.
Last night I went to the Grog to see Cantankerous Dingos, who were described as "experimental alternative rock". That sounded like something I'd enjoy, and my evening was free, so I went over.  I saw the third and fourth of five (!) bands on the bill, and concluded that this was Metal Night. 

I was wearing plaid unironically (I'd been doing yard work), but for once, I was the only one there thus attired.  I thought it might be a joke when I walked in and heard the third act's sound check:  the vocalist's mic check was "RRUAAARRRAGGGH MMNORRRSCHH FFLAAAUUUUUGGH...."  But no, he really uh sang like that.  Nonplussed, I hung around for the main act.  But about one beer in, I realized that behind the vocalist, the music was highly organized, syncopated, mathematically precise rock.  It was, in a nutshell, prog with screaming.  The fourth act (see video below) was actually very good.  They were real showmen.  And for the whole night, the musicians comported themselves with a bizarre mixture of joking around and taking the proceedings way too seriously.  Seems like metal fans and musicians are a close knit community.
Of course, in either case, I could have looked up the main act on Youtube and found out what I was in for without leaving the house.  But then, I probably wouldn't have left the house, and then how would I know how entertaining a metal show can be? 


Bonus:  local venue Now That's Class wins the award for booking bands with the most amusing names
  • Puffy Areolas
  • Homostupids
  • Deathamphetamine