Concert Review

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The Berkeley streets were crawling with punks, young and old. We parked down the street from 924 Gilman and walked to the front door. When we found our way inside, the dance floor was packed with those punks from the street, and a three piece all girl punk band was playing bad Green Day covers. Thankfully their set didn’t last long. But unfortunately the next band was also a bad punk rock band, children flailing and screaming about religion and government. Were they even old enough to understand what they themselves were conveying? Probably not. Oh well, all in good fun.

We step out into the brisk night air and swilled beer while smoking our cigarettes, and Jason Webley was dragged away by some grungy gypsies to consume a bottle of whiskey.

Back inside and the third band was on the stage. They were a large ensemble of middle aged folks, but they succeeded in getting the crowd moving. Calling themselves “the Dead Henson’s”, they played a collection of “Muppet Show” and “Sesame Street” covers. It felt like the whole Gilman had turned into a time machine and we were all pulled back to our childhoods, full of imagination and innocence. Their set was simple, good clean fun, including a tap dance solo.

Up next was that bunch of wild looking gypsy punks. This band rocked my metaphorical socks off. Known as the “Sour Mash Hug Band”, the line up consisted of; one girl playing the empty whiskey bottle and flute, another girl and her wash tub bass, a ruggedly Irish accordionist, a gangly man who played the banjo and a makeshift fiddle with a horn attached to the bridge, and the drummer who had one tom drum with a cymbal attached to the back slung over his shoulder which he played with a tack hammer. They played a crazy Cajun styled bluegrass sound and the dance floor was littered with stomping juveniles. Not only did they look like a crew of angry pirates, but the majority of their songs were also about pirates, fully loaded with choruses of “AAARRRGGGHHH!”. Much stomping and shouting and clapping commenced.

Then, finally, the moment everyone was waiting for, Jason Webley took the stage and quickly got into his act. At first I was slightly disappointed because it seemed he was going to do the exact same act as when I saw him a few weeks prior. Same songs, same stories, same jokes. What a let down. Myself and a few others in the crowd began to heckle Jason. But then one of the greatest surprises I’ve ever gotten. Jason played one of his oldest songs, “Music that tears itself apart”. The crowd really got into it, clapping and stomping, but Jason stopped us. “How are you supposed to tear the music apart if you’re clapping to the beat?!” He then proceeded to teach us how to tear apart the music. He instructed us to hold our hands in the air and wiggle our fingers. Then with your “manically wiggling fingers” insert them under the armpit of the person next to us. Soon the Gilman was the setting of a huge and wild tickle attack.

The show drew to a close with Jason’s classic “Drinking Song”, and everyone left stumbling and grinning widely.