Friday, July 29, 2011

The Damnwells: 7/28/11 in San Francisco

The Damnwells are easily one of the top 5 bands that I enjoy listening to.  Whenever I acquire a new gadget (iPhone or iPad, something like that) it is an automatic move to transfer The Damnwells' discography to said hypothetical device. 

All that being said, I had never seen Alex Dezen and Co. live before, so when I found out they were playing in San Francisco, nothing was going to stop me from going to the show (not even the God-awful traffic getting into town... remind me to never complain about Sacramento traffic ever again.  I bite my thumb at you Highway 101!)

No one from Sacramento was game for a Thursday night romp to The City, so I went solo and arrived soon after 7pm.  I met up with commenter Rae and we had a few drinks at Cafe du Nord (where the show was- it started at 8pm with excellent singer/songwriter Josh Fletcher, then Harper Blynn played their own set before playing back up band for Alex Dezen.)  It was great to see Rae and we had excellent conversation about a number of random things, but mostly how much we hate the Oakland Raiders.  Eventually, fellow singer/songwriter Pete Holden showed up with his date Becky and we did shots of Patron (what?!  That was not planned!)  It was a lot of fun because Pete and I have to be the biggest fans of The Damnwells that each of us have ever met.  It was great to go to the show with someone who loves the band just as much as I do.

Pete clued me into the fact that Alex Dezen was just hanging out across the room (Pete got his ticket stub and "Golden Days" DVD autographed), so I went to go investigate.  I found him, said hello, gushed about how much I love his music, and got a picture.  He was super cool the whole time.  I never thought I was one to get starstruck, but in situations where I love someone's music so much, it is hard to not get a little nervous.  Here's the pic:

Yeah, I'm grinning like an idiot.  Hey- I was excited! 

We went back to hanging out at the bar and awaited The Damnwells' set.  They opened with "No One Listens To The Band Anymore," which was aa appropriate and rocking opener.  Pete and I were giddy and Pete snaked his way up front.  I'm very self-conscious about how tall I am (6'6") and I normally don't move up front at shows, but I couldn't help myself for this one.  Pete motioned for me to go up there and I had to go.  I was literally in the front and my foot was tapping the stage as it moved with the tempo of the songs.  So sick- I loved every second of it. 

I didn't track the exact set list, but let's see what I can remember (I'm not promising a correct order):

No One Listens To The Band Anymore
Feast Of Hearts
The Great Unknown
(Harper Blynn took a break and Alex played some acoustic tunes, Josh Fletcher sang harmonies on a few)
Electric Harmony
Like It Is
(Harper Blynn came back to stage)
Golden Days
You Don't Have To Like Me To Love Me 
She Goes Around
I've Got You

I Am A Lever
I Will Keep The Bad Things From You


I'm hoping that's relatively correct.  If you were at the show and have any corrections, just leave it in the comments.  After the show, I was drilling glasses of water at bar and I saw that Alex was standing right there talking with people.  I had purchased a vinyl copy of "One Last Century" but didn't have a pen to have him autograph it.  Oops!  Instead I walked up and said, "Hey, Alex- great show man.  Sorry about earlier.  I think I lost my shit when I first met you." 

He replied, "No man, you were cool.  It's all good." 

And then, of course, I gushed more about how great he was.  I had also just seen a Facebook message sent to me from a random person about how my CD was included in a geocache and they had found it and were listening to my music at a rest stop in Colfax.  I tried to explain this to Alex- how great it was to see one of my favorite bands while at the same time having someone random enjoying my music at a random rest stop- however, I probably did an awful job explaining the scenario, but Alex was gracious. I think what I was trying to say was that I had enjoyed the show so much, that to then find out that someone was enjoying my CD was like icing on the top of a fantastic night.  My enjoyment of music and my production of music had collided in a moment of pure happiness.

In the end, I left and was giddy with the fact that I had finally seen The Damnwells and been able to actually meet Alex Dezen, a singer/songwriter I have admired for years.  What a fantastic night!  If they come back around, I'll be there.  Mark it down and book it!


Tony B. said...

Fun fact: You can download "One Last Century" for FREE right HERE!

Sarita said...

Great review of the show! Cafe Du Nord is one of my favorite venues in SF. :) I haven't seen The Damnwells since 2007 so I was super excited to hear that Alex was playing at my favorite venue. Advice if you make the trip from Sac to Du Nord in the future. I have found that leaving Sac at either 4:30 or 6:00 are the best times. See, I've made that trek a number of times. I'm hoping he comes back our way soon and maybe does a show in Sacramento. I emailed him telling him if he needed venue suggestions to let me know so we shall see. Your friends missed out on a great show, I try not to miss shows in the city. Heck, I didn't get home till about 2am and woke up at 5:30 the next morning to make it to my boot camp work out at McKinley! Oh, and what makes one the "bigest fan" cause I'll totally fight you and your friend for "biggest fan" title. ;)

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