Monday, December 05, 2005
Last night, while waiting for Dinosaur Jr. to take the stage at the Middle East Downstairs, just after enduring the crapfest that was the opening band, I was kinda conflicted. The crammed-in crowd, the $25 t-shirts, the terrible openers, the milking of (gimme) indie rock nostalgia... I just wasn't feeling it. Sure, I'd seen Dinosaur at Avalon back in July (with an even more terrible opening band), and it was pretty great... but there was another show going on across the river, and I was struck by the feeling that it was over there I really belonged.
So I text-messaged my bandmate Randy, who was at the Paradise Lounge waiting for ex-Ride singer/guitarist Mark Gardener to take the stage with touring partners Goldrush backing him up. There was still time to make the quick drive, so I cruised over, found a perfect parking spot and joined a couple dozen fans for Mark's great set of Ride songs and solid new solo material.
It was a truly memorable evening, as the too-small crowd put Mark & Co. in a conversational mood, chatting between songs, joking around... it felt more like a livingroom show than a club gig. He spoke of the tour so far, of electrical shocks, of dwarf tossing, of taking up a collection so that the Paradise could buy an extra 'R' for their marquee out front (He was "Mark Gardenep" on the sign that night). He kept tabs on another fan's smoking habits, as it was impossible not to notice when she stepped out for a cigarette. "Nasty habit, that..." said Mark, and later on, "She's back! Was it good?". His concern seemed far less parental when he grabbed a quick smoke himself after the show.
It struck me as Mark and the band broke into 'Taste', the first of four Ride songs they'd play, that it was probably a dozen or so years ago that I saw him on stage in this very same building, when Ride played with the Pale Saints in the much larger main room of the 'Dise. A brilliant night, but then again, every time I saw Ride was. A lot of that came rushing back when the 'Taste' bass intro started up... more than a little bit of bliss.
So while I have no doubt that Dinosaur Jr. was very good (and I'll get to see for myself when the DVD they were filming eventually arrives), I know I made the right decision to flee the masses and head for the intimacy. Sitting there, relaxing with other Mark fans, drinking a beer with Jerad Driveblind, watching a guy from one of my favorite bands ever play songs from their best album... it was pretty near perfect.
And here, for you, is the set...
Mark Gardener & Goldrush
Live at the Paradise Lounge, Boston, MA
Sunday, December 4th, 2005
1. intro banter
2. Snow In Mexico
3. Getting Out Of Your Own Way
5. Summer Turns To Fall
7. The Story Of The Eye
8. Where Are You Now?
9. Gravity Flow
10. Vapour Trail
11. Dreams Burn Down
12. In A Different Place
A couple of songs after Mark had joked "So, none of you could get tickets to Dinosaur Jr., huh?", I approached the stage and handed him my used Dinosaur ticket stub. "Waitaminute, you went!? How was it?" Mark asked. "Yeah, I was there, but I left before they came on." was my reply.
"Man, you just made my fucking night," he said.
Nah, Mark... you made mine.
Some links for ya: Mark's official site, his MySpace page, Piero's Mark microsite, and the official Ride site. Buy Mark's excellent new solo album from United For Opportunity right here, and check out a new interview with him in the Toronto Star.
Mark's tour with Goldrush and Hopewell crosses the border into Canada today, with Montreal tomorrow night and Toronto on Wednesday. From there it's on to Detroit, Chicago, and eventually the West Coast for the final six shows. Do go and see 'em.
(the fine print: live songs are recorded with a sony minidisc recorder, converted from .wav to 192kbps mp3s, and are made available for a few weeks. if the artist or anyone involved with making the music has an issue with them being shared here, just say the word... my email address is on the left.)
live in cambridge, ma
on november 14th, 2008
previously: joy formidable - boston 2011
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