Grandaddy almost saves the day

A large, variably aged crowd filled the Warfield Theater in San Francisco on March 3. No doubt, many of the music fans may have been thinking about how to fill their quota for the next day of work. Even more of them may have been worried about their upcoming algebra test.The marquee above the box office boasted a double billing for the weeknight show. The first headliner, Saves the Day, was ready to feed a full serving of slightly punk, slightly emo, fully power-pop ear candy to their audience, mainly made up of high schoolers and college kids. Grandaddy was also waiting to please their fans, more of the blue collared type, with selections from their extensive repertoire of eccentric Modesto-flavored indie rock. But before either band was allowed their time in the limelight, two opening bands stretched their own musical muscle.Hawthorne, CA-based Dios was lucky enough to occupy the uncoveted earliest time slot. Though there was nothing particularly god-like about their half-hour of rock ‘n’ roll, it was a decent effort. A Pixies cover closed their set with a nod to the more aged spectators.Whether the emo kids in the crowd realized it or not, the next band’s appearance was perhaps the most historically significant 40 minutes of the night. Three of the five guys in The Fire Theft were formerly part of emo rock pioneers Sunny Day Real Estate, and they left no doubt about their rich musical experience. The Fire Theft put on a powerful performance in the number two slot, and they probably could have played for much longer than that opening slot allowed, but most of those watching were not there to see the Seattle band.Not too long after The Fire Theft’s guitars fell silent, New Jersey’s Saves the Day took the stage. They promptly launched into their best impression of the Beetles amid shouts of “I love you!” and “You’re so hot!” The swooning continued throughout the set, and Saves the Day held their teenage fans swaying in the palm of their hands the whole time. Just before it reached an unbearable level, though, Saves the Day finished up their last song and quickly left the stage, leaving it up to Grandaddy to fill the room with creative energy.Suddenly, the audience seemed to age ten years. After a considerable amount of stage rearranging, the house lights dimmed again and a screen at the back of the stage lit up. More lyrical musings followed, including songs about homesickness, the virtues of nature, failed relationships, and the apparent shortcomings of life in California’s Central Valley.One of the humorous highlights of the evening was hearing “Stray Dog and the Chocolate Shake,” an extremely catchy melody with an strange similarity to the theme song of the 80s science television show “3-2-1 Contact.” The tune’s video accompaniment showed the various exploits of a couple of old men, one of which bore an uncanny resemblance to Hulk Hogan wearing too much bling. After the last official song of the set, Grandaddy quietly left the stage, but despite the loud, steady cheering from the audience, the house lights came on and the stage crew started breaking down the sound equipment.A Warfield production crewman later explained that the lighting engineer did not know that the band was preparing an encore. As the crew went to work, it was too late for Grandaddy to salvage the remnants of the concert. Feeling somewhat cheated, many fans filed out of the theater into the cool night.