Drinking music is a beautiful thing to behold. You stand there, rocking back and forth in time to the music, sipping on your drink of choice (for me, Guinness). Perhaps you pump your fist into the air if you’re feeling frisky. It’s up to you, really. Different music inspires different reactions. Folk music inspires contemplation (and plaid clothing, apparently). Doom metal inspires a whole lot of headbanging. And Irish folk-punk inspires, well…. Drinking.
I discovered the Eureka-based band The Smashed Glass by accident, really. I was at a show over the summer at my favorite bar in Arcata, The Alibi, seeing local melodic metal band Fall The Giants play. I was about 5 beers and 2 shots deep when The Smashed Glass took the stage and quickly broke into a rapid fire rendition of one of my favorite Irish folk songs, “Nancy Whiskey.” Even in my ever so slightly inebriated state I was impressed. As I stumbled home (I love living within walking distance of the bars!) I hummed that song happily to myself.
The next day I awoke around 11 a.m. and dragged myself out of bed, wrote the name of the band, The Smashed Glass, on a cocktail napkin and went back to sleep until noon. Then I took a shower, grabbed my skim board and a book and hopped into my car and headed off to the beach. It was my day off and I decided that it would be in my best interest to get a sunburn in the name of freedom and summertime revelry.
But enough about the past, with all it’s comings and goings, it’s the present I want to talk about. The present I say!
Let’s talk about this last Monday, shall we? The Jambalaya on H St. in Arcata has been featuring local bands as part of their “Monday Night Budget Rock” nights, which only costs $2 to attend and features $2 PBR and $3 Guinness and $4 shots. As part of my “get out there and experience life and all that it has to offer” mentality, coupled with the fact that I don’t have class until noon on Tuesday and I live alone, this works out perfectly for me! Living alone has it’s perks, such as time to study without noisy roommates, and it allows me the pleasure of being able to walk around my apartment in my underwear whenever I the mood strikes me, but on the downside, life can get a little lonely sometimes, so any excuse to leave my apartment sounds enticing. I do enjoy my evenings alone on nights that I’m not working, watching movies wrapped in my comfy Batman blanket, drinking hot cider, but the occasional night of drunken debauchery does the body good. Or so I tell myself.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, Monday night. The show was advertised to start at 10 p.m., and so at 10 p.m. on the dote I show up with an eager smile on my face.
“The featured band tonight is The Smashed Glass,” the bearded fellow at the door tells me. I nod enthusiastically. “But they’re not going to go on for another hour.”
Dang it! I decided to make the best use of my time by jogging home, hopping into my car and driving to Safeway for some much needed grocery shopping. I like to use my time wisely, if I can help it.
When I show up at 11:05 p.m. the band is just about to start so I order myself a can of PBR and a shot of Jim Bean while I wait. I chat a bit with the girl sitting next to me and learn that she too goes to HSU, with an major in Biology.
“Biology, eh? Well good luck with THAT. Science was never my strong suit, to tell you the truth. I fancy myself a writer, but lately all I’ve been writing is rubbish, not gonna lie. It’s frustrating.”
The girl sips her drink and ponders my situation. “Well the important thing is that you don’t give up,” she tells me after a moment of contemplation. “If writing makes you happy then go for it! Follow your dreams, I say.”
“Follow my dreams? Wow, you should write inspirational greeting cards.” She laughs because I am very witty. I buy her a drink and then the band begins to play.
There is a kind of special feeling you get when a band that you enjoy is playing songs at such a loud volume that you feel like the room that you are in is the only place that matters in the world. Everything else fades away. It’s just you, the band, and a room full of people who you’ve more than likely seen before. The rock crowd sticks together, so it seems.
Songs about drinking, love, working dead end jobs, and fighting for your honor fill my ears and I am happy. These moments are where it’s at, I think to myself.
The band plays for more than an hour, joking around with the audience and each other.
“This next song is about drinking,” the lead singer announces, causing the crowd to cheer. That’s another thing I’ve noticed, people love to cheer at shows. It doesn’t really matter the reason. The lead singer could have said “I’ve always been afraid of Gumby” and I think the audience would have cheered just the same. I really need to be in a band. If you know of any bands that are looking for a charismatic and dashing lead singer with very little musical talent let me know, okay?
The next song was indeed about drinking, and the hardships of love. A deadly combo, really.
After all the songs were sung and all the drinks were finished the crowd dispersed into the chill night, shoving their hands deep into their pockets and heading off to their cars, or in my case, staggering home like a maniac, humming Irish folk tunes.
You should see these guys sometime. You won’t regret it. First round is on me!