Birthday Insanity -- the Downhill Slope to 30

Here's a recap of my amazing four day, three state, 1000 mile roadtrip, three concert birthday weekend! I am already depressed about next year's birthday because I know I'll never be able to top this one.

My awesomely bearded and bespectacled friend Trip got into town just in time Thursday night to make it to the King Kahn and the Shrines show at the Orange Peel. While I was excited to see King Kahn, I wasn't exactly excited about the Orange Peel. It's the worst venue in town, the crowds usually suck, and there's this metal bar in front of the stage that keeps you from really connecting with anything going on up on stage. Golden Triangle was opening, and they were definitely a band worth checking out. Lots of tambourines, pretty girls, booty shorts, and good energy. King Kahn came on and they were definitely bringing the energy, but no one in the crowd was responding much. I partially blame the venue. King Kahn and the Shrines are known for engaging the audience a lot, having the horn and tambourine players go out into the crowd, etc., but you really can't do that at the Orange Peel. I'm not sure if they've played there before, but I can almost bet that they never will again. The show was good, but not mind-blowing. Trip and I walked down to Rosetta's for some after-show food, but they had closed early, so I just made him walk in the cold for a whole bunch of nothing. So, we settled on Denny's where we ate Pancake Puppies, joked about Potatchoes and talked about stuff the dude behind me probably didn't appreciate during his multi-hour facebook session.

The next day we did a mini-tour of Asheville and hit Malaprops and Harvest. We left too late for the King Kahn show in Nashville that was at the Exit In because the time change threw us a little bit, but we made it in time to see both the opening bands, one of which was Golden Triangle again. This show was better. There was no divide between the audience and the band, so they were going crazy, kept coming out in the crowd, everyone was dancing, and at the end the band did a march through the crowd and got on top of the bar. There's some great photos from this show here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/indierocklance . I didn't think it could get better. Everyone was into it, the band was happy, the show was great, and King Kahn even mentioned how crappy the Asheville crowd was. I was slightly embarrassed to have been from the place that had the bad show, but whatever. We went back to our hotel room, played too much Connect 4 (Trip really has no mercy at that game), and I put my new King Kahn pillow case (the coolest merch item EVER) on my pillow, joking about how funny it would be if I accidentally left it there. Trip had some disgusting Purple Drank that's made to calm you, and somehow he drank the whole huge can despite the fact that it tastes like too sweet Robitussin. I think purple drinks with melatonin in them are probably low on my list of must try items.

The next day the plan was for me and Jeremy to go back to Asheville and for Trip to head on to Memphis to see yet another King Kahn show. He had been going on and on about how much better the Memphis show was going to be. I wasn't sure that was true because the Nashville show was amazing. At the same time, it was my birthday, I had no plans in Asheville, and Memphis is just as close as Asheville from Nashville. I was thinking before the boys woke up and decided I wanted to go to Memphis/Jonesboro. Our best friend Justin was doing a show at the Edge that I really wanted to see, and it was just laid out perfectly so that I could do that and see King Kahn at the Hi Tone if we rushed. Jeremy said okay, so we made sure my dear pug nanny David didn't mind watching the pugs again and went with it!

We ate at a diner called Noshville and had the meanest waitress ever! She was old, fat, grumpy, didn't check on us hardly at all, and generally treated us like idiots. We loved her. Jeremy said if he goes to a diner he expects the waitress to be bitchy, which I totally agree with. We hit the comic book/movie/music store next door and then headed out to Jonesboro. We called our mommas and made plans for a quick visit with them. I suddenly realized that I had forgotten my King Kahn pillowcase at the hotel, called Trip so he could laugh about it too, then tried to get ahold of Juli so maybe I could see her while I was there. When we got to town I got to see my mom and brother for about 40 minutes, and even though my sweet 6-year-old brother got upset when I left, it was still good to get a quick visit in. We went to the Come Sundown show, which was AMAZING, and luckily all our friends were there anyway, so we got to see everyone in the short time we had! It was the best! Justin sang happy birthday songs and Tom Waits' "Chocolate Jesus" to me, he sounded amazing, and I love his new songs. I got to see all my dearest friends, and then took off to Memphis while Jeremy stayed with the boys.

A dear friend of mine that I don't get to see enough and I talked and played catch-up all the way to the Hi-Tone, then met more friends there. It was the Hi Tone, so of course the show started late, but Trip was totally right about the energy at the show. People were already going crazy, dancing, and totally getting into the opening band (again, the Golden Triangles), which was a great sign. People were totally into it. The band was totally into it. When the Golden Triangles show was over we were right up front, but I really had to pee, so I ran back to the bathroom and waited in line. King Kahn walked by, and in my tipsy state I grabbed him and told him that I had been at the Asheville and Nashville shows and he still hadn't played "Took My Lady To Dinner," and that he really should in Memphis. He said he wasn't sure he remembered the lyrics, but he'd try. I peed, made it back up front to where Trip was, recounted my story about asking him to play that song to my friends, and then we waited FOREVER for them to come on. That stage is tiny, but somehow they packed everyone on it. King Kahn and his cheerleader came on finally, and it was OUTSTANDING. Trip just kept nodding at me with that smug "You know I was right!" look on his face. I was next to four sweaty boys who where going crazy and ended up taking off their shirts and jumping onstage. There was some girl in a mini skirt rolling around on the side of the stage. People were stripping off clothes and stage diving and crowd surfing. I think Trip got his glasses smacked off at one point. King Kahn did the same set list he'd done at the other two shows, with a few changes to the "Erotic Gospel" part. The energy was totally insane. I can't even put into words how it felt to be there, especially with some of my best friends. Everyone was so into it, it just felt like being at a really good party with hundreds of friends. I was completely overjoyed, overwhelmed, and so happy that my friends were sharing the experience with me. The band was having fun and kept running into the crowd to play. They took a short break before the encore, but since there's not really a backstage they came back on quickly. Then, after the first encore song, King Kahn said something to the band and then they started playing TOOK MY LADY TO DINNER!!! One of my friends grabbed me and just shook me with happiness because it was the song I had asked him to play! I was so excited! Everyone sang along and it was outstanding. After the show I was totally covered and damp with sweat - mine and everyone else's. I smelled like sweaty boys. Trip talked to some dudes in the parking lot that he had met, we watched an almost fight break out, then we left. Photos from the Hi Tone show can be viewed here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lichtc

I stayed up all night after the show with Trip and Kandi watching the Office, talking about scissoring, and fast forwarding to the good parts of some Vanilla Ice movie (if you can say that there are good parts in it). It was amazing and fun and I was so happy that I decided to make the trip home. We went to bed at like 5 a.m. Jeremy came and got me at about 8:40 or so the next morning and we started our drive home, stopping at a gas station Denny's on the way. There was a bike rally going on outside of it, and one of the guys had a dirty little Pomeranian doggy.

This was by far the best birthday ever. I got tons of great stuff from my wonderful friends, got to see all the people that I care the most about, got to play with my brother, saw two great bands three times each, ate at fun diners, got to see Come Sundown play, sang loudly in the car with Jeremy, stayed in fun hotels, and saw the best show I've ever seen. I couldn't have asked for a better birthday and thank each and every person that helped it happen.


Shannon said...

Wow - what a whirlwind of fun.

Yeah - fat grumpy waitresses suck, ditto on the "herd gate" (as my Hubby and I call it) at The Orange Peel. You know, that's only been there for the 6-12 months, and being that I'm one of those hang-on-the-edge-of-the-stage at every show kinda gals... you can imagine how much I loathe it. I belive it happened when the place changed hands. Have you seen any shows at The Grey Eagle? That's probably one of my favorite places to see music, although it gets mighty hot in there for my west coast blood during the summer months.

brandi said...

I LOVE the Grey Eagle. I go there as much as possible. I saw the Hackensaw Boys there not long ago and they were great.

I'm always disappointed when I go to the Orange Peel. They get a lot of great acts there so I end up going a lot, but I honestly usually leave regretting my decision.