Where to even start with this… well I coerced my friends in Old Tiger to move their typical first Friday at The Riv to the second Friday so it could coincide with my birthday eve. Since Dustin Lothspeich, Eric Boone, and Matt Phillips are all incredibly nice dudes they indulged my request… I can’t remember what I promised them, maybe my first born? Whatever it was- it was worth it.
After the guys got the date set up I invited friends and family, made it a prom theme (because what 30-year-old doesn’t want to redo a tragic night from her teens?), and we were on our way to awesome. A couple weeks before the show I tapped Lothspeich and asked if he would be willing to let my friend Shannon O’Brien make a guest appearance on a song. He complied (maybe cause I had a knife in my hand), they settled on a song, and we were on our way to more awesome. I didn’t tell anyone about Shan’s guest spot figuring it would be a fun surprise – thinking I was the sneaky one…
Old Tiger’s Facebook page started mentioning “guest appearances” early on Friday and I assumed they meant my good friend singing back up. But when Lothspeich asked me midday what my favorite Boy King song was I got a little suspicious. I figured it was best not to get my hopes up and my busy day distracted me from thinking anything more of it.
Midway through their set last Friday night Lothspeich announced that some special guests were gonna be making an appearance and that some of them were “heavy and guilty.” I’m pretty sure my exact words were “no fucking way” to my mom. Erik Canzona, Sean Martin, and Alfred Howard were kind enough to show up, cook some steak, and then jump on stage. This trio version of The Heavy Guilt grabbed OT’s gear with ease- Canzona with Dustin’s signature flying V guitar, Martin behind the drums(!), and Howard brought some of his percussion-y goodness (must have pulled it outta his ‘fro ’cause I never saw this coming). They played “Thoughts” and “Summer Came” off their upcoming third album – two of my absolute favorite Guilt songs. Even with half the members the songs sounded full of the rock and heart, which these guys always bring. [I swear I didn’t tear up. Maybe.]
After that epic shit Lothspeich invited the members of Boy King to jump up. Megan Liscomb always looks awesome but damn can that girl rock a prom frock! In her pink-ruffled-lace-fantasticness she made the most of The Riv’s tiny stage and belted out my two favorite BK songs- “Whoa Is Me” and “The Fight” (sure glad I answered Lothspeich’s “poll-taking” question earlier in the day). Adam Eidson was solidly rocktastic on Eric Boone’s drum kit and it was strikingly awesome to see my favorite bands rotating through this stage- sharing their space and equipment without any pretense.
Last but not least two of my dearest friends made the last guest appearances. Jake Najor got up and played drums on “You Better Come Home” by Old Tiger and even included a signature mini-solo along with his extra special drumming faces. And then my friend Shannon sang with the band on “Come Along.” She sounded and looked as beautiful as she always does and the fact that she did something new and exciting for my birthday was the ultimate gift. Old Tiger’s encore of “Free” graciously dedicated to my parents was mind-blowingly perfect. A lively song for about the liveliest bunch of characters I could have assembled in one place.
I’ve tried to thank everyone who was there, everyone who played, and everyone who had a hand in making it all come together – but I still feel like I could never say it enough.
I was genuinely stunned by what I witnessed and couldn’t stop thinking how fucking surreal it all was. I know Al Howard and Dustin Lothspeich were the main conspirators and I couldn’t hope to be plotted against by better men. I think I kissed Al’s cheek raw. Sorry buddy.
I’ve been riding a major high since that night (someone even said I looked radiant the next day- that’s a first). Because if I wasn’t sure of it before, these performances by so many of my favorite people solidified how good I feel about my life. Something like that reaffirms what I’ve been working on the past years and makes me wanna do more for all the amazing music in this town. It makes me wish everyone could hear the bands I’ve come to know and love and know all the people in my life because I have the best family and friends a girl could dream of. Sharing this with my parents was especially amazing- the two people who gave me a deep appreciation of music now appreciate the music I have brought into their lives and it’s rad. (My dad might be Boy King’s new biggest fan.)
Old Tiger’s soulful performances have nursed me through heartache-y bumps and bruises in the last year with “Settle Down” being as achingly beautiful as a song could ever hope to be. And I simply can’t help myself from toe-tapping and singing along off key when “Free” comes on (which happens often in my car and house). The Heavy Guilt has provided the soundtrack for my everyday life for over a year- whether it was falling asleep to “Wyoming” or stomping along to “The Cost” because it made doing dishes so much better they have been in constant rotation. Plus I’ve seen them more than any other SD band and that wont likely change soon… or ever. Boy King has been blasted in my apartment more times than my neighbors can probably stand because screaming along with Megan’s growls in “Bump Bump Bump” lets me pretend to be powerful even if I’m feeling weak. And I’ve been lucky enough to follow Jake Najor as his ride in music continues to get bigger and better. His passionate playing on that guest spot and in a thousand projects around town will always make me smile and the faces he makes will always make me laugh. And then he’ll very likely tell me to calm down.
To everyone at the party who sang along (especially Shan who had to get on stage to do it) and danced along- you are all such amazing people and made me feel ridiculously special. I would have felt like prom queen had the award not gone to my birthday twin Butch, but a grown man (or two *looking at Adam Eidson*) in a tiara is never a bad way to end to the night. Neither is a 20 pound cheesecake.
Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
And if you missed it or you just need an extra fix of these bands you’re in luck, nearly everyone is playing this weekend- take note:
Sunday, 2/17: In celebration of a Sara and Roger, a really awesome couple Old Tiger headlines their anniversary party at The Casbah with Sundrop Electric and Bart Mendoza & True Stories opening. Roger’s band, Listening to Rocks will play the Atari Lounge.
Hope to see some familiar faces at these shows.