Monday, December 12, 2005

Masterpiece Theatre

I've seen bands play in the strangest of places: a dingy, back-alley wharehouse building in East Salinas; the middle of the Santa Cruz Mountains; a deserted piece of land in the So-Cal desert.

On Saturday night, the strange list got a bit longer: The Regency Theatre movie house on Alvarado Street in Monterey! Salinas homeboys Cali Nation put on a a strange yet funky show in a venue more accustomed to Bollywood dramatics (the theatre recently hosted an Indian-film showcase) than beer-bong antics.

And if it doesn't seem that weird at first, I ask you this: when was the last time you saw 50-plus party animals running around movie theatre aisles and rocking out to a live band? Even better, have you ever watched three grown men perform a set of live music on an eight-foot wide movie screen lip? Have you ever seen a VIP section in a movie house balcony?

I thought not.

The show was preceded by a screening of the snowboarding movie "Future Proof," a quick-cut, freewheeling showcase of some of the world's best snowboarders doing their thing in a gang of different locales.

The stunts these crazy whiteboys pulled off (snowboarding at night, getting pulled by a car on a snowy roadway, doing rail grinds and boarding down hillsides flat as a building-side) had me tilting my head and uttering "dannggg" for most of the movie. Definitely a dumb-out type of movie.

After the screening, Cali Nation took the stage for what had to be their first time in a movie theatre. And with movie theatres being what they are (filled with seats and sticky floors covered with old candy and food) it was hard for them to get into their initial groove.

Lead singer Andrew Nack turned off the stage lights because they annoyed him, but all you could see was a silhouette of his tall frame in the darkness. The band opened up with the Slightly Stoopid song "I'm So Stoned," a laid back number that seemed appropriate.

The band went into some new material," Way Back," which sounded loud and raw and funky. The line "I thought I had the world by the balls, so many things I didn't know" seemed to resonate with people in the crowd (especially the folks in the VIP, who seemed to be having all of the fun).

The opening strains of "Hail Mary" came in next, and by this time, the theatre seemed like it was the victim of a friendly occupation. Girls were dancing in the aisles, the promoter was smoking in the theatre, and the band sounded loud enough to tear the house down brick by brick.

The band has a hype man/side kick who wears snow goggles and seems to run around randomly, getting the crowd hype. He was in overdrive for this show, seemingly bouncing off of the plush walls and filling the theatre with his energy. Somebody needs to do a movie about him.

As the dancing and the pounding continued, the band finally caught its groove, but at the expense of a dwindling crowd. Halfway through their set, half of the crowd had either retreated outside to smoke cigarettes or were up in the VIP area (I couldn't get in there; promoters weren't trying to look out for a brother), but it still made for interesting theatre.

Maybe next time these guys can get booked at an opera house or something.

*photo provided by David "El Mero-Mero Guerro" Royal


Anonymous said...

You racist piece of dirt clod

Anonymous said...