After basketball, headed over to Points East Pub, to see Dr Chow's Love Medicine. We've pretty much eaten our entire babysitting budget for the Bucks this winter, so the only time we get to go out and see bands is when a band we want to see is playing the same night as a Bucks game. For once we were lucky -- Dr Chow is always a treat, and we have plenty of friends among Dr Chow's fan base, so its musically good plus we can get some socializing in. And Dr Chow delivered as usual. Opens with some covers of Nuggets-era garage standards ("Too Much to Dream" and "Evil Hearted You") and eases us into their solid originals. Good hippy dance party. I certainly partied it up.
The thing is, at the risk of sounding like bitter oldtimers, we've been going out only for tried and true stuff, and Dr Chow is tried and true. We just don't get out to see new bands like we used to. If I'm going to drop money on a sitter and go out, you had better deliver. So the only way I get to see new bands these days is if they're opening for somebody I trust. Floor Model, tonight's opener, was a nice treat.
Floor Model is a two piece, guitar and drums, that answers the question: "What if the White Stripes had formed on the West Coast in the early 80s, right about the time Penelope Spheeris was filming The Decline of Western Civilization Vol 1?" Everybody seems to be doing the guitar and drum only thing, except Floor Model has a good drummer. (Let's face it, Meg White can just about play the drums, but she gets away with it because she's as Cool As Kim Deal), and they even cover a White Stripes tune (that neither I, nor my friend who has more White Stripes albums than me, could name). Their guitar player is Jeff Calleson, who has that midwestern cynical earnestness (or is that earnest cynicism) down to a T, which takes the edge off that SoCal punk sound. His songs run topics from Charles Bukowski, to a great little minor-key ditty whose verse goes "You're Not The Fonz" that references the beginning of the Happy Days theme. It the kind of stuff only a guy living in Laverne and Shirley's hometown could have written, in both tribute and disdain. I'll tell you though, the Stripes thing is getting old. I know it's easier to manage a 2-piece band, but while Calleson's songs can stand on their own, they could also withstand the punch that at least a bass player could offer. And by the way, Jeff, get yourself a decent amp, or do something about the EQ on that thing you're playing through now. Ouch! These old ears can't take that much high end. Also, Jeff, you'll be needing a backup guitar. You won't always have the Mr. Congeniality of the Milwaukee Music Scene, Paul "The Fly" Lawson, there to lend you an ax and change your strings for you when you bust a string. Otherwise, fine set. If you're playing anywhere on a night we have Bucks tickets, you have made it to the "Worth Paying the Sitter an Extra $20 to Stay Out Later For" list.
Speaking of the Fly, he was in great form as Dr Chow's guitar player tonight. Fly is one of the overlooked gems of the Milwaukee music scene. He is such a nice guy, though, that I think he's too polite to show off his chops if there's another guitar player in the band, so when he's the only guitar player, itÂ’s a treat because then you get to hear the Fly at his best. Let's see more of this!