OK, so the Indiana Pacers are not exactly the league's most difficult-to-beat team. OK, so Ramon "The Evil Understudy" Sessions didn't tear up the floor last night like he'd been doing since everybody got hurt on the team (which will no doubt elicit "I told you so" cries of his supposed inconsistency). It's kind of hard to still be cynical about this Bucks team that, with the injuries, everybody else gave up on. And I have to admit, count me in with the cynics. Stella and I arrived rather early last night, and she got another chance to check out the team before they came through the tunnel, and that gave me a chance to catch a glimpse of them as well. They walk out of the locker room (a locker room that former Buck TJ Ford almost walked into out of habit, according to a tweet by bucksdotcom!) and here they are, in a team huddle which is actually quite sincere, since there's only a handful of fans who are there to witness this: it's not just for show. My rampant cynicism is quickly diminishing.
And it's nearly wiped out by the time the anthem is delivered by some guy from the Special Olympics. Sure, he's a little flat, but there's that word again: sincere. He's just singing the anthem with feeling and he hits "land of the free" to huge cheers from the crowd, and it reminds me that the anthem is just that, an anthem to be sung by ordinary people and cheered on by the same. Granted, I've dissed some anthem performers in this very blog at times, but that's because in this case, a delivery that comes from the heart trumps precision any day.
Andrew Bogut even seems to have turned over a leaf. Just last Saturday, he looked like hell. He was wearing some overworn jeans, a white shirt (that wasn't tucked in) a tie that never seemed to make it down the center of his shirt, topped off by a black sportscoat that seemed to be there just to comply with NBA dress code. I'll give him this: he's got a stress fracture in his back, when my back's hurting, you're lucky if you can get me out of my fat sweats. But last night, I gotta wonder if he finally hired a new stylist, or just got inspired watching the umpteenth run of "Saturday Night Fever" that's been running on AMC this week. He comes out in a smashing cream color suit (not quite white), elegant shirt, great tie, and matching shoes -- very updated Travolta look.
Oh, yeah, the game. Last time I was in the BC at the same time as Travis Diener, there were plenty of Marquette faithful there to cheer him on, but last night there was a handful of fans with "We love Travis" shirts on but that was about it. And it was just as well: Diener wasn't at all remarkable last night. In fact, there were no real standouts on either team -- but the Bucks still played well. And maybe that's the thing: they've accepted that they're down three starters, and uh, maybe they just have to get this team together and strengthen up what was formerly the bench. Richard Jefferson has taken the place of Evil Understudy from Sessions, so that's giving me time to wonder how the heck, once and for all, is Sessions' first name pronounced. (our announcer changes it up every so often.) Is it RAYmon, as in "Everybody loves Raymond without the D"? (that's what our announcer seems to like best.) Is it RAH-mon, as in "I had to pay the rent this week, so I'll have to do with ramen noodles until payday"? Or is it RaMOAN, as in, "Who'da thunk Ron Ashton would have outlived Joey Ramone?"
This whole break from cynicism seemed to bleed into the stands. We had a particularly fun bunch of people in our section, including a character who at times did the splitz, flirted with our usherette, and did everything he could to get the attention of the "Flex Cam." The pre-Valentine's day "kiss cam" was especially hot -- with only a few people blowing it off. And so the last game before the NBA All-Star break closes, and it's fairly easily as well.
Speaking of Valentine's day, the place to be this weekend -- I have tickets in hand -- will be the Miramar Theatre for the Atomic Valentine show. At least half the bands there are legends from some 20 years ago, and have reformed for this appreciatve show, and it will be packed with what could be called Milwaukee music scene all-stars. It's just nice to know that most of these bands' members are still making music. I'm anticipating something of a homecoming party for the Milwaukee Music scene, circa 1992. Partially a rock show, and partially a party where you know you'll see people you haven't seen in awhile. But that's not all going on:
- Friday night is a tough choice. You can get Revolush at the BBC.
- Or you can head to the Cactus, and see two bands that usually haunt the Riverwest Commons: FSFI and the Grand Disaster -- both terrific (and they share some personnel, so stage changing should be a minimum).
- Or you can head to the Riverwest Commons and catch some bands that usually haunt the Cactus: 1956, Revision Text and Crumpler.
- Saturday night, if you're not in the mood to see reunions of some of most Milwaukee's most legendary bands at the Miramar, you can see a future legendary band, The Danglers, re-living their first gig at The Pub in Riverwest. If it wasn't for the Atomic Valentine, that's where I'd be, for sure.
- Otherwise, you can see recreations of legendary bands. Rocket Queen, a Guns 'n Roses tribute band, is at the Monkey Bar. Maybe it's appropriate that a GNR tribute band is playing the same night as a Led Zeppelin tribute band (No Quarter, at the BBC), since GNR was originally billed as "America's answer to Led Zepppelin" anyway.
And I'm not even going to make a cynical remark about local legends vs. national cover bands. I'll let you do that.