August 27, 2004

Dawgs playing polka

Just got home a few hours ago from a swell concert, and boy, have I gotten my workout today. I already ran five miles at the gym this afternoon, and then I spent about 90 minutes on the dancefloor, because the band was Brave Combo, and I realized quickly that there's just no point in going to a Brave Combo show and not dancing.

I've been aware of Brave Combo for a long time, but only own two of their albums (the Tiny Tim collaboration, "Girl"; and the excellent "Box of Ghosts", which rearranges classical music for the dance floor, in many many styles), and given that their discography is massive, you may glean that they're a band I appreciate but don't keep close tabs on. So the only reason I knew they were playing was because I have a friend who is a huge fan of theirs who tipped me off about the show. She lives in Boston and couldn't make the trip down to see them, and thus she sent me and Rose to enjoy the show for her vicariously.

Alas, Rose had a splitting headache, and two hours of dancing to polka/salsa/twist/mambo/whatever did not entice her, but I went anyway, and damn, they are a really fun band. I don't know if I actually need to own lots of their albums, but I definitely need to go see them in concert again next time I get a chance.

Although I was assured by my polka pusher that audiences at Brave Combo's shows are friendly and that I should feel free to ask people to dance, I never quite got up the nerve. There was hardly any room to do proper partner dancing, anyway, and while I don't mind just fooling around on the dance floor, I really only find that fun to do with someone I already know. So I just jumped around like a crazy person all by myself, which was perfectly enjoyable.

There were a couple tense moments at the beginning of the concert, though, which, thank goodness, I was able to ignore, and thus still enjoy the show. (So often at concerts, for some reason, I end up having to interact with some unpleasant fellow audience member, which makes me tense and distracted, usually for at least two songs.) This was probably thanks to the fact that the weirdness wasn't happening to me, but to the people next to me.

I was at the bar, waiting to order some dinner (there were no tables left), and a couple had walked up a few minutes after I arrived. While we were all waiting, this scary guy with a shaved head, mustache, and a German Iron Cross-shaped belt buckle walked up and started talking to the woman, ignoring the man. The conversation went something like this:

SCARY MAN: Hey, I know you.

WOMAN: You do?

SCARY MAN: Jeanette, right?


SCARY MAN: Well, look, I want to talk to you. I'm going to go outside and smoke a cigarette. Come outside with me so I can talk to you.

WOMAN: (clearly freaked out) Why?

MAN: Yeah, why can't you talk to her here?

SCARY MAN: Who are you?

MAN: What do you mean, who am I?

SCARY MAN: I mean, who the fuck are you? I'm talking to her.

WOMAN: Well, I don't want to go talk outside.

SCARY MAN: Well, we can talk here if he takes a walk.

MAN: What?

SCARY MAN: Step outside so me and the lady can talk. Or go sit down at a table or something.

MAN: What is this about?

SCARY MAN: It's a financial situation.

MAN: What?

SCARY MAN: Look, I'm not trying to threaten you here.

By this point I had given up trying to figure out what this guy's deal was and was just freaked out by the whole situation, so I went and alerted the nearest member of the waitstaff that there was a weird guy threatening some customers. (Really, what better way is there to threaten someone than to say, apropos of absolutely nothing, "I'm not trying to threaten you"?) By the time anyone looked like they might come over and try dealing with the guy, he had wandered outside (though he eventually came back in). Fortunately, I didn't see him for the rest of the night.

The poor couple, already a bit stressed, then got beer sprayed on them by the bartender, who had apparently been holding a pint glass too close to one of the taps. Now, had I been that bartender, I would immediately have offered them a free beer. He did not do this. Given that he did not do this, and that the beer sprayage was relatively minor, had I been those customers, I would have just paid for my beers, maybe been a little skimpy on the tip, and gone on with the evening. Instead, the guy of the couple ended up arguing with the bartender about how they deserved some free beer, with the bartender lamely claiming "It's my first night" (a claim which I felt rather dubious about) and "I have no authority to give out free beers" (oh...yes, you do -- you just pour out a beer and don't ring it up).

Both these positions are lame. The bartender should have sucked it up, and the customer shouldn't have been wasting time he could've been enjoying the concert (which had started by this point) by spending five minutes arguing with the bartender (and thus, incidentally, making service slower for everyone else at the bar). Sad. As for me, I ate my dinner quickly, got to the dance floor in time for the Habanera/Hava Nagila Twist, and never looked back.

Posted by Francis at 01:29 AM