Concert Review: Spencer Sutherland at The Chapel, San Francisco

The Chapel is a new venue for us.  First impressions were less than stellar – our “e-tickets” were coming up as “invalid” when they were scanned, causing some problems that had to be sorted out by the staff. It turned out to be equipment error on their scanner and it all worked out, but that was a rough start. I will say though, the staff was very nice and polite during the entire thing and very apologetic when they realized it was a problem on their end. So, hats off to the Chapel staff for excellent customer service!

The ceiling of the Chapel Lounge. Looked much cooler in person!

Cloe Wilder was the opening act, however we got a late start and the aforementioned ticket issues, so we missed her set completely…

Dylan Conrique was already on stage when we got in the door.  We didn’t have any idea of what to expect, as we were unfamiliar with her work, but suffice it to say, there were no surprises.  Her “band” consisted of one guy, alternating between guitar and keyboard, and a laptop. Not exactly exciting to watch. It was the musical equivalent of cotton candy… overly sweet, full of hot air and almost completely without substance. I couldn’t help but think this young lady must have grown up on a steady diet of Disney movies and Arianna Grande… To be fair, she’s really, really young so there is a LOT of room for growth. Her voice is actually nice, but her music is bland and a lot of it WAY TOO DULL for a live setting. She has a lot to learn about pacing her set and song selection. I doubt eliciting yawns and eye rolls was what she was striving for, but that was the reaction of this writer…

Spencer Sutherland came out, and honestly I didn’t know what to make of him from the start. Picture this: sleeveless, yellow satin, bell-bottomed jumpsuit with white fringe! I mean, honestly? I couldn’t tell if he was being “ironic” in the hipster sense, or if that is what the cool “new” thing is. Between the outift and his weird “Kung fu moves”, it was a bit like watching someone imitate Harry Styles, channeling Elvis Presley. Frankly it was a little off-putting and just weird for weird’s sake.

Musically, he sounded good BUT he relied HEAVILY on backing tracks, which is kind of a bummer to me. On the one hand, I get it – touring is very expensive and paying all the expenses for an extra few musicians can make the difference in whether you can go one the road or not. On the other hand, when you’re watching a singer engaging with the audience, his mic is NOWHERE NEAR HIS MOUTH, and yet you’re hearing his voice along with 3-part harmonies(and nobody in the backing band is singing!)…well, that’s a WTF moment for me. And a lot of other music lovers I know. ESPECIALLY in a small venue! You can maybe fake it a little better in the Enormo-Dome, but from 15 feet away, you’re not fooling anybody.

His band was solid, but nothing stands out in their performance. Spencer didn’t engage with them at all during the set, and they didn’t do anything to add to the visual aspect of the show whatsoever. It could’ve been a studio session based on the band’s excitement level.

And again, when you rely on backing tracks extensively the band is LOCKED into a precise tempo and length of the song, so there is no room for improvisation, no letting loose, no “life”… which kinda defeats the purpose of a LIVE show, right?

Did they sound good? Yes. Was he entertaining? Yes, fashion sense aside. But was is a great show? Nah. I’ve seen worse. FAR worse. But I wouldn’t be rushing out to see him again. Which is a shame really, as I do like his music.

To be fair, this was his first tour as a headliner, so he’s still gotta find his feet and I suspect he will continue to get better if he keeps it up.

All in all, it was an OK night. Nothing earth shattering, but nothing horrible either. I’d give the whole shebang a B-.

Thanks for stopping by!

Close, but no cigar: The Church at Great American Music Hall, SF.

I can still distinctly remember the very first time I heard The Church. It was the Fall of 1982, my Freshman year of high school.

A Senior by the name of Art had “taken me under his wing” in the marching band’s drumline, and one day he invited me over to his house after school to listen to records. Earlier, he’d brought a couple LPs to school for me to check out – the Ramones “Road to Ruin” and the Sex Pistols “Never Mind the Bollocks”, two albums which forever changed me. So an invitation to explore his record collection was an exciting endeavor, despite the 3 1/2 mile walk to get there!

Amongst the mind blowing artists he introduced to me that day were The Church, starting with “The Unguarded Moment”. I had never heard music like that before and I was instantly hooked.

The song that started a 40 year relationship with The Church!

Art dubbed a copy of the album onto cassette for me and I wore it out, listening to it over and over and over again all through my high school years.

I was lucky enough to see them live TWICE – once in the late 80’s and again in the 90’s, and both times they were outstanding.

Several months ago I saw that they were once again on the road, so I snapped up a couple tickets for the Mrs. and I to see them again. I figured, these guys are no spring chickens, this may very well be the last opportunity to see them on stage, how could I NOT go?

I’d been on an elevated excitement level for a couple weeks prior – it’s hard when you sit on tickets for months, those last days before the show can be excruciating!

Then the day came and…things went horribly sideways. We had our unannounced inspection by “The State” finally show up. If you’ve ever worked under the watchful eye of government regulations and regulators, you know how much it sucks. If you’ve never had the pleasure, let me tell you, it sucks. Big time. Some inspectors are better than others, but none of them are what you’d consider a “friendly”. They are the ENEMY. Their ONLY reason for existing is to find “deficiencies” in your operation. They crawl up your a** with a magnifying glass and a fine tooth comb and they don’t relent until they find SOMETHING to write you up for. A typical inspection (called a “Survey”) lasts 3-4 days, and I’ve seem them go longer. We’re still in it now in fact. But I digress…

So there was that AND simultaneously our company got hit with a “cyber attack”, taking down our entire network. 95% of what I do requires access to our network, putting me even further behind.

Then, to add a little excitement, we had a MASSIVE storm roll through too- mudslides, road closures, flooding, trees falling over. General mayhem that only Mother Nature can provide. Good times!

The cherry on top was losing power again at home, where the Mrs. was home, having succumbed to ANOTHER cold.

So, instead of catching one of my all time favorite bands in what could very well be their last Bay Area show EVER, I was sitting at home, mostly in the dark, with a sick wife, fretting over how much food we were going to lose THIS TIME. (We were without power for 3 days back in January and lost quite a bit, which at today’s food prices is not a happy situation!)

I hope the show was great and that our Aussie friends felt the love from the Bay Area. Hopefully the storm didn’t stop too many folks from making it out to the show. The rain was treacherous and the winds worse! I’m sorry I missed it, barely beating back depression while I was “in the act” of missing the show!

But life goes on. There will be more shows, just maybe not The Church… At least I have the distant memories of yesteryear! Better than nothing, right?!?

Thanks for stopping by!

Playing catch up!

To say the last month has been a whirlwind would be an understatement!

It seems as though things have been firing on all cylinders lately and half the time I don’t know if I’m coming or going!

Work has been busy – the end of the fiscal year, plus the start of a new one brings all kinds of mind-numbing nonsense, but overall things are going well on that front.

The Mrs. had a bit of a health issue that got us into the Urgent Care facility a couple weeks ago, but thankfully that’s all resolving nicely and she’s getting back to full function without any further intervention.

My gym routine has been pretty solid. It took a minute to get back in the swing of things, but I’m feeling confident again and getting stronger by the week. I haven’t got to the point where I’m enjoying it again, but I don’t dread it every morning either, so I consider that progress!

My musical stuff has been going slower than I’d hoped, but again I’m still progressing. My playing continues to improve and I’m slowly but surely getting acquainted with some new gear that will help me continue my pursuits.

Glamor shot…

We just recently returned from another trip up to Oregon, which was fantastic! It was our daughter’s birthday recently, so she and her BF headed up to Gold Beach and we joined them up there for a couple days, just relaxing and enjoying the quiet.

Our view from the patio soaking tub…Not too shabby!

And most recently, just a couple nights ago in fact, we got to see our favorite live band – Magic City Hippies – at one of our favorite venues – the Fillmore, which was absolutely amazing! This was the 6th or 7th time seeing them and they continue to get better every single time.

MCH killin’ it AGAIN!!

So yeah, it’s been a bit of a blur, but in a good way.

More to come, thanks for stopping by!

Concert Review: Lettuce at the Fillmore Auditorium, SF.

I’ll say right up front that I only recently learned of the existence of the band Lettuce. The Mrs. actually discovered them first and played a track of theirs while we were in the car about a month ago, and I was knocked out by how great the song was. Fast forward 24 hours and I’ve got a dozen or so songs of theirs on my playlist, in heavy rotation! During the course of my digging into their repertoire, I discovered they’ve been around for over 20 years!! I was shocked to say the least. That a band could be so good and yet – as a dyed-in-the-wool music fiend – I had never even heard OF them, much less their music, was astounding to me. Frankly, I was embarrassed. But, better late than never!

As luck would have it, just a couple weeks after I learned that Lettuce existed, I found out they were playing two nights at The Fillmore in San Francisco, one of our favorite venues. Even luckier, after mentioning it in passing to the Mrs., she picked up a pair of tickets for us as a surprise!

The opening act of the night was a guy by the name of Keifer. We listened to a couple of his tunes before the show and thought, m’eh… We got there a little late and he and his band were already into it on stage. The first thing we hear when we walk in is the drummer breaking into a drum solo… Eye roll… I’ve been playing drums myself for 45+ years, and I pretty much hate drum solos. So we made our way over to the bar to grab a couple drinks before heading back onto the floor.

The band was comprised of keys, bass and drums. All clearly talented, but the music was a little bland. They finished the set however, bringing out the keyboardist and trumpet player from Lettuce to augment the band and that was a STONG finish!

Keifer and band

After a short intermission Lettuce hit the stage and BOOM! They were off and running. Now, I’m much too much of a newbie to their discography to know the names of their songs (and I’m terrible with song names anyway, especially in instrumental music!) but wow, they just grabbed the entire room right outta the gate! Heads were bobbin’, everyone was grooving, it was a GREAT vibe!

Lettuce gettin’ it on!

The band is a 6 piece unit – guitar, bass, drums, keys, saxophone and trumpet. The perfect combo for a funk outfit! And let me tell you, every single one of these guys was ON POINT! They were so locked in as a unit – and this is some pretty complex music – it was really something to see. It is just awesome to witness a group of musicians so in command of their instruments and yet simultaneously just flowing, like it’s second nature to them. It’s just not the same as seeing a symphony or a highly technical jazz or prog-rock act. When skill and soul unite, the outcome is nothing less than spectacular. I was beyond impressed, I was MESMERIZED! The icing on this delicious cake was their bassist. I don’t know his name or anything about him, but he was absolutely, positively stunning. His groove was so deep, and solid as a rock. He was slinky and gritty and funky and just straight up phenomenal. The kind of bass that’ll give you “stank face” it’s so damn groovy! What a delight!! I’ve played with dozens of bass players over the last 30+ years and out of those dozens I’d say 3 of them were spectacular. The bassist from Lettuce was every bit as good, if not better, than those 3. Really special.

Another aspect of the band that really caught my attention was that whenever there was a gap for a particular instrument, one of those players had some sort of percussion instrument in hand, filling up the sound. On the surface you might think how much difference can a tambourine or a shaker make? Well, it makes a BIG difference. All those little extra voices, those nearly imperceptible accent notes really just gave a glistening polish to an already stellar performance.

I can say with full confidence that I am officially a FAN of Lettuce! I have a lot of their material to absorb still, but I seriously dig what I’ve heard so far. It may have been my first show with them, but it certainly won’t be my last!

A big thank you to the bands and the crew that make these shows happen. And an extra big THANK YOU to the Mrs. for the great surprise!

Thanks for stopping by!

Road Trip!/Concert Review: Dogstar at Gold Diggers, Los Angeles.

Tonight was a rare and once in a lifetime event. We were cordially invited to the “record release party” celebrating Dogstar’s new – yet to be named – album.

Dogstar, back in action!

Full Disclosure: Bret Domrose, the guitarist and vocalist for Dogstar is my best friend. He and I came up together, learning the ropes of playing live shows, song writing and being serious, professional musicians. In fact, the very first band Bret was ever in – The Laters, circa 1984 – had me as the drummer. He and I went on to form several bands afterwards, culminating in a record deal with an indie label that went bankrupt just prior to our record’s release, and from there our lives took very divergent paths.

Bret, doin’ his thing!

There is a good chance if you’ve heard of Dogstar at all, it’s because of their infinitely famous bassist, Keanu Reeves. It is true that they got a lot of breaks that most bands wouldn’t have received if it weren’t for Keanu, but bottom line, Dogstar is a great band with a lot of really fantastic songs.

Tonight they played their first live show in DECADES, playing their recently recorded album, in its entirety. And let me tell you, it’s going to be a great album if this gig was any indication!

There is evident growth in the songwriting, and Bret’s guitar work has never been better. Keanu is a solid bassist and really held things down with his playing. Drummer Rob did something I’ve never, and I do mean NEVER seen, playing a harmonica solo while playing drums!

It was a great set, the band was in good spirits, the sound was great, the energy high and the crowd was all smiles!

It was an awesome night. We were able to see a bunch of old friends that we haven’t seen in ages and I was able to introduce our daughter to Keanu finally after hearing about him practically her entire life. (When she was only 2 years old, I went on tour with Dogstar so she’s heard the stories about my times with Keanu and Uncle Bret many times over the years!)

Our kid in the foreground, Mr. Reeves in the background…

It was so good to see Bret on stage again, and I’m really proud of the work he’s put in and the really stellar songs that came out of the project. He’s an extremely talented guy and I feel lucky to call him a friend.

The Boring Old Man and Bret Domrose.

Thanks for a great night guys. I can’t wait to get my hands on the new record!

Thanks for stopping by!

Concert Review: The Dip at the Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, CA

Saturday night we took another trip up to San Francisco to the historic Fillmore Auditorium, this time for The Dip. This was our second time seeing them and coincidentally the Mrs. was sick again and couldn’t make it. Last time they came to town she had Covid, and this time she’s got a nasty cold and cough, which she figured probably wouldn’t be too welcome in a crowd!

The opening act was a solo female singer / guitarist whose name I didnt catch. Just as well… She didn’t play a single thing that caught my attention, and I was not alone. Everyone in the joint was talking amongst themselves, paying little if any attention to her. She did have a great, fuzzy green jacket though, I’ll give her that. It reminded me of Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street, one of my childhood favorites! Musically, it was dull and devoid of anything original or interesting.

Even the pictures turned out bland…

The Dip on the other hand were on FIRE! They had added a trio of backup singers to the crew, which really filled out their sound. To be clear, they already had a pretty full sound, with 7 musicians on stage but the added vocals was a delightful icing on an already delicious cake!

The band was clearly in high spirits and made note of the special occasion of playing the Fillmore. The vibe of the room was great and the band just really gave a stellar performance.

Last time we saw them, I was really tuned into the bassist and lead guitarist, but this time around it was the drummer and the trumpet player that really stole the show. They both had really standout performances that night.

The singer mentioned during the set that it happened to be the drummer’s birthday… I couldn’t help but think what a “bucket list” kinda night that must have been- playing the historic, iconic Fillmore Theater for the first time, on your birthday AND having the performance of a lifetime!?!? Are you kidding me!?! That’s a dream come true right there…

It was a bummer that the Mrs. missed this one, but I had a great time hanging out with my daughter and we really loved what The Dip put forth for their fans. It was a great show and I look forward to more in the future!

Thanks for stopping by!

Concert Review: Lyrics Born at Moe’s Alley, Santa Cruz CA.

Tonight was our second time catching Lyric Born’s live show, but our first venture into Moe’s Alley in Santa Cruz.

Opening act was Mak Nova, a female rapper from Santa Cruz whom we’d never heard of. I listened to a few of her songs beforehand and wasn’t terribly excited for the set, but luckily she had an outstanding band that gave up an excellent performance. Mak’s performance was ok…nothing really grabbed me. To be honest, she seemed too well ‘rehearsed’, as in every move seemed calculated and not exactly genuine. But like I said, her band killed it – I especially liked her bassist – so overall I’d say it was a decent set, but I wouldn’t go out-of my way to see her again.

Anticipation was high for LB, his last show was spectacular and we were hoping for a repeat of the awesomeness. Unfortunately, it was not to be.

His band was scaled way back from the last time we saw him – just drums, bass and guitar – and while his band is stellar, it just wasn’t nearly as fantastic as the last time around.

Don’t get me wrong, he was still good. Just not great.

Nonetheless, it was a fun night and a chance to see some musicians at the top of their game, which is always a good time! Beats a night of Netflix, hands down!

Thanks for stopping by!

Concert Review: ASHE at Bimbo’s 365, S.F.

Here we had another show where I knew almost nothing about the artist we were going to see, ASHE. She came through town some time ago and the Mrs. wanted to go see her, but when we learned of the show, it was sold out.

Turns out she was doing doing a gig after her “Outside Lands Festival” performance the day before, and as luck would have it, she was playing at Bimbo’s, a club I’ve been dying to go back to for ages!

Bimbo’s 365 on Columbus Street in San Francisco is an iconic spot. To give you some context, the last time I was at the club, the Mrs. was pregnant with our now 28-year-old daughter! And the club was old back then! It’s a great old school, vintage night club. They used to even have “cigarette girls” walking the club selling smokes and gum and whatnot, like out if a film from the 1940’s. Even today they still have bathroom attendants to trun on the faucets, hand you towels and such. It’s a throwback, for sure, but kinda nice at the same time. Reminds you of a simpler era, and the vibe elicits a little more manners and social grace than you find at most night clubs.

The opening act was Adam Melchor, also unknown to me. He came out, just him a guitar and I was proud of myself for keeping an open mind, since I’ve been very pleasantly surprised at the last couple solo singer/songwriter performances I’ve seen. Well, Adam broke the spell of pleasant surprises. While he’s a fine guitarist and his voice is not bad at all, his music left me completely flat. No surprises, nothing out of the ordinary, nothing exciting. And what made matters worse was the talking between songs. Good grief! He played roughly 40 minutes and I’d say 15 of that was him blathering on.

Clearly he had some fans in the place, and they were singing along with him and all, but for me and the Mrs., it was boring and entirely forgettable. Again, not to say he was “bad”, it just wasn’t our cup of tea.

Ashe came out strong and her band was really holding their own. It was a unique lineup – drummer, a violin/keyboard player and a guitarist/bassist that switched back and forth, depending on the needs of the song.


As I mentioned earlier, I wasn’t really familiar with her material, but what I do know of it, is very “modern” production – think synthesizers and computers – so to hear the songs with real musicians and actual (not virtual) instruments gave it a whole new sound and feel for me. And yes, as a musician I will say (with utter bias) it was better live than recorded.

Ashe herself was a great performer. Her voice was strong, her energy level was high and she was clearly there to put on a show. My only gripe was there was a little too much “downtempo” music. Her fans were thrilled with the set list though, and singing along to nearly every song, so that is just a personal preference of mine. I like my live shows to keep me energized, not stifling a yawn and the night wears on!

All in all, I give her performance a thumbs up. Not the best thing I’ve ever seen, but far from the worst. And she’s mighty young, so if she sticks with it, I’m sure she’ll just keep getting better and better. I’d certainly go see her show again, I’d just hope for a more well suited opening act!

Thanks for stopping by!

Concert Review: Red Hot Chili Peppers at Levi Stadium, Santa Clara.

FINALLY!!  I have been a fan of RHCP since the first time I heard “True Men Don’t…” on KSJS (San Jose State College radio) back in the early-1980’s. 

Fast forward 40 years, and I’m still a fan but for whatever reason I’ve never had the opportunity to catch their live show.  (I did get to see their drummer Chad Smith at a drum clinic a number of years ago and he was amazing!)

When I got a notice for a pre-sale on tickets back in October of LAST YEAR, I jumped at it.  You never know when their last go-round might be…  So yeah, been sitting on these tickets for nearly 10 months and could barely contain my excitement!

In all honesty,  I’m not a fan of stadium shows.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been to several dozen of them, but my expectations are pretty low nowadays for them.  Nevertheless,  I’ll take what I can get when it comes to the Chili Peppers!

The venue, Levi’s Stadium,  is realitively new and this was my first event there.  It’s generally home to the 49ers, and I loathe football so they were never a draw for me to check out the stadium even though it’s practically in our “backyard”.  And truthfully,  I have yet to hear anything good about the place so I was a little disappointed when I learned that is where the show was being held.

The opening act was Thundercat, whom I first learned of several years ago but wasn’t terribly familiar with.  I did know he’s a phenomenal bassist, so I was excited to see him live.  Sadly, the traffic situation surrounding the venue was so bad we missed his set completely.  Strike One for the venue.

Next up was Beck.  We’ve seen Beck twice before and he was actually better than expected.   We never went to see him specifically, and I wouldn’t say we’re big fans of his, but he was on a couple other bills in the past and we were pleasantly surprised by how good his show was.  This time however, he really knocked it out of the park!  Really great energy,  the band was tight and you could tell they were having a really great time with it.  Another pleasant surprise!

Finally after months of anticipation the Chili Peppers hit the stage, opening with a kinda wild improv of guitar,  bass and drums before launching into their set with “Can’t Stop”.  The guys were on fire!

Anthony – who will be 60 this year! – looked fit as ever, full of energy and his singing voice has improved quite a lot over the years. Clearly the hard work has paid off.

Guitarist John Frusciante (who I was thrilled to learn was back with the band) was great, though live it’s impossible to play his parts like the recordings – they’d need another 2 or 3 guitarists backing him up to recreate his studio wizardry.

Chad Smith was solid as a rock and just straight up bombastic. A joy to watch.

Flea as you might expect, was the life of the party and put it all out there, every minute of the set. He’s in a class by himself as a bassist and his performance was top notch. Unfortunately the sound in the venue was less than stellar and a few times when he really went off the sound turned to mush, but overall he put on a great show.

Overall, I’d say the night was a mixed bag. On the venue itself, a solid thumbs down. I won’t go into my gripes, but it would take a MASSIVE draw (like Stevie Ray Vaughn or Prince coming back from the dead!) to get me back to that place. The band played great, and they played a couple of my favorites, but their set list was a bit of a disappointment if I’m being honest. And they only played for an hour… which for a band with a 40 year history and a deep catalog of material, seemed a bit of let down.

Nevertheless, it was fun to see them finally and I’m not sorry I went. I wish I’d had a chance to see them in a smaller venue back before megastardom put them in arenas, but I am grateful I got to see them at all, especially with this lineup, which in my opinion is the magic RHCP combination.

The MAGIC combination!

And when all is said and done, I got to spend a lovely summer night outside with my family, listening to some great music. Those are the kind of things that make life worth living!

Thanks for stopping by!

LMAO: Chris Porter at the Punch Line, SF.

Saturday night the Mrs. and I, along with our daughter and her BF hit the road up to San Francisco to catch some laughs at the Punch Line.

Chris Porter is a comic we just recently learned of, literally a couple weeks ago. It just so happened he was going to be “in town” right after we found out about him so we jumped at the chance to see him in person.

Boy, am I glad we did! His set was hilarious and every bit as good as his recorded specials.

His opener, Pat House, we’d never heard of either, but he was pretty good as well. He did a bit in Wendy’s (the fast food joint) thst had me in stitches!

All in all it was a great night out, and a LOT of laughs!

Thanks for stopping by!

Mason Dixon Survivalist Association

Be a Survivalist who is a “Jack of all Trades”, master of some (preferably the life saving and life protecting arts).

Dio's Workshop

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it – no matter if I have said it! – except it agree with your own reason and your own common sense.” – Siddhartha Gautama, a.k.a. the Buddha

Official Website of Jennifer C Lindquist, Artist

The Boring Old Man

The ramblings of an old weirdo about whatever crosses my mind...