Punks, rockers — whatever you want to call it, the scene in Oakland definitely got more than messy this weekend as the Total Trash BBQ lived up to its name and then some. Between night one’s melee that spilled outside after the show (bloodied lips and all) and night two where MOM mucked up the floor (as she does), it’s safe to say partygoers got more than they bargained for.
Lately though I’ve noticed the East Bay does things a little bit different than San Francisco. For instance, Saturday at the time capsule of a venue called The Continental Club, patrons got infected by the sounds of Russell Quan, DJing oldies on full blast in between band sets.
The dance floor was always full of motion as people weren’t afraid to take advantage of the tunes. Comparatively, SF can sometimes be a little stiff. DJs' sets at shows are often treated as background music. Then of course the whole scuffle incident was something out of the ordinary as people also weren’t afraid to throw punches.
Night One’s Mess:
The blueprint for things to come was laid down during an insanely intense set by LA’s Intelligence. You couldn’t escape the war call of driving drums and fatal sounding keys — I tried. I loved what I was hearing, but a combination of things inside of me had me seeking one of the club’s luxurious (in its own charmingly trashy way) booths to sit down for a spell.
From that vantage point I could see others in the audience reaching drunken thresholds, performing ninja kicks, and an older woman (who looked like she may have served some hard time) shoving her way through the crowd.
I caught my second wind and headed up front to see Shannon and the Clams. But it was towards the end of their set that I’d witness this one surreal episode: the guitarist-singer was supposed to chime in as usual with a distinct backing vocal, but was silent.
Shannon called him out on stage and simply said, "Cody!?” He was staring off to the side, kind of mesmerized. Seemingly dazed, he uttered into his mic, "uh...there's a fight happening over there." Sure enough it was the way-too-drunk ninja kicker and another dude who had gotten a little rambunctious during the last two bands.
From what I recall, there were attempts to bounce them. The crowd outside grew into a major distraction. The night pretty much dissolved into chaos at that point with aforementioned punches thrown. My friend and I high-tailed it out of there in an unfortunately expensive trans-bay cab ride after having seen enough.
But the night shouldn’t be characterized as being marred by violence. Overall it was fun to hang out in what truly was an impressive old soul circuit venue that I hope welcomes future shows. Slobsters did a comedic stink up the stage shtick while Rock N Roll Adventure Kids gave off all kinds of positive energy in their performance. Guantanamo Baywatch continued the good vibes so much that I even purchased their latest Burger cassette, Chest Crawl from the merch table.
Night Two, A Different Kind of Mess:
My friend in tow very accurately reviewed evening two at Eli’s Mile High Club by saying there was “purple drank and beaver everywhere.” While I didn’t try the concoction, plenty of bargoers washed grilled corn on the cob down their throats with the mixture out on the back patio.
The corn may have been tasty, but I have to credit MOM for her less-than-delectable (albeit less sweaty, bloody, and messy in general) antics than the last time I saw her. Sometimes she’d hike up her red dress, revealing that indeed she does go commando, other times her exposure just sort of happened as she’d be caught up in the moment writhing around in her own filth while distorted childrens' music or the on-acid slow groove version of “Spirit in the Sky” played.
Given MOM's reputation, it wasn’t surprising to see the audience clear a wide path for her performance. That’s not to say there wasn’t some nervous moments of me perched on a barstool, cornered next to her during Spin the Bottle. The only difference in her game was in true MOM form: victims were smothered in cake and pie. Somehow I made it out unscathed from a memorable messy weekend.
All photos by Dallis Willard