I first heard about this show maybe five weeks before it was scheduled, and I was really looking forward to going. Easily one of the best bands to be featured in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 was coming to my town (well actually Tempe, but who cares). It was at a place called the Clubhouse Music Venue. “What will it be like?” I wondered to myself. My answer came on the 20th of November.
Me and the guys piled in the car and stopped for a bite to eat at Del Taco. I got the #4 combo meal like usual, and it hit the spot. We finished up and were back on the road, making good time on the ol’ Loop 101. The place was only a couple of blocks west of the freeway, nestled in the corner of a strip mall complex right next to a 7-11. The parking was free, and there were plenty of spots. Things were off to a great start so far.
We arrived shortly after 7pm and got our place in line. And we waited. And waited. And waited. “It said 7 o’clock on the website, right?” “Maybe they’re still setting up or something.” The line behind us grew longer and longer as more people arrived. After what seemed like forever, the line started to move at about 8pm. We paid and got in, and were surprised at the place inside. A huge U-shaped bar was right in the middle of the place, with the stage to the right and plenty of space right up front. The stacks looked impressive for such a small venue. Soundboard was maybe 15 or 20 feet back from stage, next to the bar.
At 8:20pm the first band came on, called Street Dogs. They were from Boston and damn proud of it! I never heard of them before, but their songs were fast and energetic, as were the band. It was their last show after touring for two months, and they really made it a good one. A kick ass Black Flag cover got everyone moving as the room started to fill up with people. At around 9pm the lights came up and The Lawrence Arms started to set up.
I was vaugely familiar with them because they were on one of the Vans Warped Tour compilations, but I didn’t know any of the songs at all. This trio of trouble came out and the crowd really got going. A big circle pit formed in the middle of the room, one of the better ones I have seen. No punching, no injured people, just good ol’ shoving and I don’t even think anybody went down. The rest of their set was good, and I was getting anxious to see Lagwagon by now.
While the crew worked to set up the equipment, someone threw on a Richard Cheese CD which got old real quick. Picture a large dark room full of punks in black clothing and sporting tattoos, standing around listening to some goofy cover songs of Papa Roach and the like. It was funny for about two seconds! Ten PM rolled around and still no Lagwagon. It was getting really stuffy in there and I was wishing I left my jacket in the car.
At 10:30pm the band came out on stage and was met with great cheers from the crowd. There was real energy in the air as they came out with some killer songs. The setlist was very diverse, with a few songs from the new CD and some old favorites as well.
The show kinda blurred in my mind, but it was awesome and I happened to see one of the coolest things ever at a concert: when the band played fast, the people moshed hard; when the band played slow, the people moshed in slow motion! It was a sight to see, one I will remember for sure. This was probably one of the coolest shows I’ve been to yet.