Yellowcard, The Epic

This is the story of my 11 or 12 year love -affair with Yellowcard:

Wednesday I went to see Yellowcard at Fillmore Silver Spring.

YC poster

Yellowcard’s been one of my guilty pleasures – well, not even guilty, I guess, just pleasures – since I was in undergrad. I can’t fully remember how I got into them. I think it was back when you got put on e-mail lists of certain independent record companies for ordering a CD and they told you about similar artists coming out on their and sister labels. I was on a lot of punk e-mail lists and Yellowcard’s One For the Kids popped up at some point. I gave whatever sample I got a listen and fell in love. I think it was the amazing drumming (though not the drum-recording quality) and the violin (which was, at the time, a novelty in a rock or punk band, before Green Day dropped it in Time Of Your Life) that made me sit up and take notice. I read about Yellowcard, that they met up at a music and arts focused school, that Sean (the violinist) arranged and wrote the strings selections of their songs, that LP had jazz music running through his veins, that I understood why their music seemed to shine brighter than other bands.

I first went to see Yellowcard in…let’s see, I guess it was 2001 or 2. I was with my first real boyfriend and he drove us the 45 minutes into Cleveland to see YC along with No Use For A Name (RIP Tony Sly) at the (Beachland?) Ballroom. It had begun snowing that afternoon, but we went anyway. Man, it was a great show. Yellowcard was still touring in a shitty (literally) RV, it was cold as FUCK outside and snowing harder by the minute, YC closed with October Nights (to this day one of the best songs ever), and No Use opened (as Tony called “for what feels like the millionth time…”) with Feels Like Home into International You Day from the album Hard Rock Bottom. I remember rocking out and running around like a crazy person…no idea what became of the boyfriend during that time. Driving back home with him was treacherous, though, and slow going, with a few inches of snow on the surface roads and highway as the plows don’t come out till dark-early morning. We almost slid off the road down an embankment a couple times.  Worth it.

At that time YC was telling the fans about their new EP, The Underdog EP. I got that record. I’m not sure if I got it from the show…no, it must have been later. It was a spring-into-summer sort of buy. I listened to that EP on repeat on my trip from Ohio to Wisconsin for my first job out of college in early 2003.

Next time I saw YC was at Warped Tour (or was it Summerfest? No, Warped Tour) in Milwaukee, WI. I got their album Ocean Avenue somewhere in there and was just … just blown the fuck away. It was like hook after hook after hook. If a band could make this record, why would any band make any other record ever?? It was a mix of Ryan Key’s (the singer) anthemic song-writing mixed with a producer who sprinkled honey, sunshine and glitter (or maybe just California, the feeling) on top of the studio mix, coupled also with amazing timing (just before everyone got tired of good music and started listening to screamo and Fallout Boy/Vampire Weekend). I think I ended up with two copies of Ocean Avenue, and had the boys all sign the coverlet of one. And I also have a signed coverlet of One For The Kids. No idea where either of those things are now, but probably in storage in California.

So I burned a hole in Ocean Avenue for, like, months. Somewhere in this time period, 2004 I think? This happened (I really don’t need to tell you where on my body this is):

YC tat2

Hm, when did I see YC again? Not for a while. Actually, I might have not seen them again until last Wednesday. Wow, ten years? Can’t be right!  Well … they made another record, Lights and Sounds, I think, went on hiatus, returned with another record, When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes, put out another album I had literally never heard about till Wednesday called Southern Air, then put out an acoustic version of Ocean Avenue and went on this ten-year anniversary tour of Ocean Avenue this year … and yeah, I came out for that. I guess that’s it. Ten years. Wow.

YC was just as awesome ten years on as they were when I saw them last, and for this tour they played an acoustic version of the entirety of Ocean Avenue start to finish. Then they brought out their electric gear and melted faces. They even looked just the same, aside from Ben no longer being the lead guitarist, replaced by Ryan Mendez (a change I’ve long been used to) and the bass player, historically changeable for this band, was now called Josh and was an adorable piece of eye-candy. LP, the drummer, continued to be my favorite thing in this band, and possibly on earth. Sean did his patented back-flip from the drum stand/set speakers/stage/whatever’s around and elevated during the electric set.

They did not, to my chagrin, close with October Nights. In fact, One For the Kids material made no appearance in this set. No matter, though, they closed with the song Lights and Sounds with (an amazing drum-solo interlude by LP leading into) a reprisal of Ocean Avenue at the very end.

Man, watching a national act like this puts local bands in severe perspective. It’s like you can taste the music with a band like YC, and it’s sweet like youth.  Watching them, I get why bands who start here move out west and to Brooklyn to test their chops and get better at their craft. Even YC moved from Florida to southern California to get their act right, and sweet lord has it paid off.

This was my first time at Fillmore Silver Spring. It’s about the size of the 9:30 Club, but newer-looking, with chandeliers, a fancy-looking bar upstairs, and the least-punk bathroom situation I’ve ever seen. The stalls are clean, fully-functioning and mostly graffiti- and sticker-free. WTF? It was welcome but…weird. The place is very convenient to me, as I live in Silver Spring already, so that got the venue a lot of points in my book. And booking one of my favorite bands? That got every point in my book.

Non-local, once-east-coast, now-west-coast punk music in an unexpected venue is what’s up for me. What’s up for you?

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Throwing Shade at Black Cat

throwing shade

Well, well. DC got a tiny bit cooler last night. And not just this freakishly amazing August weather. LA’s own Bryan Safi and Erin Gibson brought the live version of their super-entertaining podcast Throwing Shade to the Black Cat. They talk, weekly, about gay issues and lady issues (but not the gross ones…well, sometimes they talk about those too) happening in the US and occasionally around the world.

I love Throwing Shade. I listen to it every week. I think before I got into podcasts in general I could go for weeks without truly laughing so hard I cried. But along came the Max Fun network and everything changed. Bryan and Erin are bawdy and shameless, come straight at the issues of the week without regard to what their conservative Texan moms might say, and quite honestly give me a perspective skewed a bit from my own. Our sentiments are often the same but the long walk to the conclusion takes me places I didn’t expect to go (oftentimes that place being Bryan Safi’s butthole).

And these are exciting/precarious times for gays/ladies: Russia flipping their collective shit over gay protections and gay rights, France (France!) being assholes about gay rights, marriage equality moving steadily forward (hooray!), women’s rights and bodies being under constant political attack, women’s bodies being under constant physical attack, non-existent reproductive rights, I mean, who can keep up with all this mayhem??

Bryan and Erin can. On Sunday they tackled transgender issues, disparity in insurance rates between men and women (women pay more because…uterus? I guess?), and played a rowdy game of “Would you rather…?” with the audience. And offended the hell out of the bartenders, from what I could observe. It was glorious. And well attended to boot.

While I’m on the topic, in addition to Max Fun, Nerdist and Earwolf have some fantastic podcasts (and I’m leaving out This American Life and all the goodness of NPR, because technically, while it can be consumed in podcast form, it’s a radio show). My current faves: Thrilling Adventure Hour, Throwing Shade, My Brother, My Brother and Me, Sklarbro Count(r)y, MATES, Nerdist (depending who’s on), and newly listening to Ronna & Beverly, due to their hilarious visit to Sklarbro Country. If anyone has another ‘cast I might love, give me a holler and let me know about it.

So where was I? Oh yeah! Throwing Shade’s what’s up!

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Photos- US Air Guitar Semi-Finals Washington DC

See my full post about US Air Guitar Semi-Finals.

So photos in a dark venue don’t always come out well. Thanks to my friend Dani for getting some good shots! :

judges

The Judges, Left to right (not including rando in the red shirt): Hot Lixx Houlihan, Fender Splendor, The Shred
finalists

Finalists listening to Bjorn explain the second round rules

Left to right: Van Damage (in motion - always in motion), ThunderStroock, Tommy Fretless, Baberham Lincoln, Marquis

Left to right: Van Damage (in motion – always in motion), ThunderStroock, Tommy Fretless, Baberham Lincoln, Marquis

Fretless, the champion! Hoisted on shoulders, in the spotlight, as all rock stars must be.

Fretless, the champion! Hoisted on shoulders, in the spotlight, as all rock stars must be.

A slightly more heavenly photo of Fretless and his spotlight

A slightly more heavenly photo of Fretless and his spotlight

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US Air Guitar Semi-Finals 2013

DC US Air Guitar Semi-Finals

DC US Air Guitar Semi-Finals

Friday night I returned to the 9:30 Club for the US Air Guitar Semi-Finals, Washington DC for the pageantry, the glory, and for generally getting my face melted off by 17 contestants from all up and down the eastern sea board. I had my favorites going in of course – Doug “The Thunder” Stroock, Tommy Fretless and Babe-reham Lincoln were fond memories from last year – but I really enjoyed some of the new faces too.

I actually got there on time-ish (shocking, right?) and first, let me say thanks to 9:30 Club for being generally awesome and for hosting this event every year, but $4 for a cup of ginger ale?? Fuuuck you. Really. Anyway, having gotten there on time-ish I got to see some of the opening performance before the actual competition started and saw why Hot Lixx Houlihan was stuff of legend. He, the also-legend returning emcee Bjorn Turoque (who’s charming as hell and has dimples for days), 2012 US Air Guitar champ Airistotle (please witness why I fell in love with Airistotle last year as he jams with Windhammer) and World champ Nordic Thunder rocked the stage and got the crowd thoroughly warmed up. Then Turoque informed the audience of the structure and rules of the show (two rounds, contestants judged on technical merit, stage presence, and “airness,” 4.0-6.0 judging scale, judges’ scores are final but feel free to voice your dissatisfaction) and introduced the judges.

This year all three judges were familiar to me: Hot Lixx Houlihan (mentioned above – 2008 US and World Air Guitar champ), Paul “Fender Splendor” Alexander (Philly US Air Guitar Champ – and future favorite mistake if anyone can get me his number…) and recurring DC Air Guitar favorite The Shred, who could not perform this year due to injury. The judges, having all performed at a high level in air guitar, were particularly meticulous in their judging this year, resulting in a three-way tie after the second round and a compulsory “air-off” (which should totally have been “shred-off”). More on that later.

Okay. It’s about to get little technical in here for a sec. Put on your math rock brains and just hang tight for a few bars, you’ll get it.

First round had 17 contestants all bringing a one-minute routine to music of their choosing; some were great and some were just terrible. I’m not naming names on the latter. Pretty sure the US Air Guitar Twitter feed covered that. But my biggest surprise favorites were newcomer Marquis (dressed like Mozart), Van Damage and Cleopatra. Now, Cleopatra was 5 months pregnant (baby daddied by Van Damage) and dressed as a girl scout but somehow still managed to win me over. She was accurate, had great stage presence and command of the audience and, in my mind, nailed the shit out of her routine. However, with the escalating level of recklessness, the prospect of having to fly to LA to compete in the US Finals and possibly to Finland for the World competition, she was never going to be a viable candidate for champion. But still, I felt it necessary to state that, despite her absence from those advancing to the second round,  this lady rocked it.

Coming into the second round the leader board looked like this: Babe-reham Lincoln in 3rd, ThunderStroock, Marquis and Tommy Fretless tied in 2nd, and Van Damage in 1st.

EVERYONE in the lead put in a killer first round, but Van Damage played an eclectic set that swung from classical guitar to metal and back again, produced a rose out of thin air during the Spanish classical part of his routine only to have it turn into blood spatter during the metal phase (like a magician, this guy!), and gained the first (and second) 6.0 of the night. This competition was his to lose.

In the second round people play to a compulsory track chosen by the Air Guitar powers-that-be. This year it was Kickstart My Heart by Motley Crue. The contestants stand together and listen to the track once, then each perform separately. The contestant who goes first has heard the song only once before performing while s/he who goes last will have heard it, in this case, five times before s/he has to perform. Babe-reham went first, as she was in 3rd place. She nailed it. I had no doubt she would. Starting out with a performance this strong would only serve to escalate the level of crazy people had to resort to in order to win.

Van Damage, ThunderStroock, Fretless and Marquis battled it out, altering their outfits and taking their performances up a notch. ThunderStroock continued his excellent performances in his usual garb, which looks something like a rocker and a professional wrestler mixed together. Marquis took off his Mozart wig and brought it hard. Classically. Fretless demonstrated why he was the winner of the DC Semi-finals last year by climbing on top of a speaker, then up the metal scaffolding holding the second-floor railings in place and wailing on air guitar with his elbow hooked behind a support railing. Turoque had informed us during round one that Fretless was favoring a foot/leg injury so there was a split-second of hesitation just before Fretless executed his dismount (don’t think he thought that far ahead). He jumped back down onto the speaker and rolled onto the stage, never dropping his invisible guitar. While I winced for his injury his enthusiasm never wavered.

Van Damage faltered this round, dropping to 2nd place behind the three-way deadlocked ThunderStroock, Fretless and Marquis. This deadlock is an unsusal situation.  Usually there are only two rounds but Washington DC was treated to a third – an “air-off.”

The Air-Off round was similar to round two and our deadlocked first-place competitors performed a compulsory song: Ace of Spades by Motorhead. During this round I could understand why they call Air Guitar a sport. Getting through this competition takes focus, stamina and willingness to take an injury to win. There were somersaults, stage-dives, can smashing and a lot of naked man-torsos in this year’s competition. But injury be damned, Tommy Fretless reigned victorious once again. A man willing to risk his physical well-being for an imaginary sport is a man I’d like in my corner when taking on the World (I know it’s not imaginary – just liked the sentence). He’ll be off to LA to compete in the US Championships. The winner in LA will go to Finland to compete for title of World Champion.

To close the ceremony Turoque invited everyone onto the 9:30 Club stage to Air it out to Freebird.  Heard that song?  You have. You may not know you have.  It’s literally the whitest song on the planet but seems fitting for a closing ceremony like this. As the opening riffs of the song faded in and the crowd swirled around him, funneling onto the stage, Turoque left us with a memorable quote: “Remember, if you’re holding an air guitar you can’t be holding a gun.”  Wise words from a man in a skipper’s cap.

I’ll be getting pictures of the event up on here as soon as I can. Stay tuned. And for those who don’t know, Air Guitar is SO what’s up!

__________________________

7/23/2013 – Corrections and Addendums:

First, for those asking, YES! That’s my hand in the photo at the top of the post.

Babe-reham Lincoln is apparently spelled Baberham Lincoln. Sorry Baberham!

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Swingin’ Utters, The Goddamn Gallows and Walk the Plank

R&R hotel2

Last week I went to the Rock and Roll Hotel to see punk veterans/madmen/icons Swingin’ Utters. I’ve mentioned R&R Hotel before and have been back since my first review at the location. I really like this venue. It’s about the size of most spaces I used to play in the Bay Area and the absolute perfect size for an intimate, hot, disgusting punk show. And I got just that last Tuesday.

I got there a little late (which should be my hook-heavy refrain by this point) so I only saw the closing song by Walk the Plank. The most I can say for them is they were fast and loud, but R&R Hotel tends to group acts really well, so you should probably check them out. The Goddamn Gallows were up next.

I’d done a little research on The Goddamn Gallows beforehand and was really excited to see them. These guys are excellent showmen, truly entertaining and talented.  They’re a five-piece band: trap-kit, stand-up bass, guitar, banjo and accordion/chest washboard (played with spoons). I think in the lit I read they were described as gypsy-punk (sort of like Gogol Bordello) or hobo-hardcore, or something like that. Watching them I got a good whiff of psycho/gutterbilly, punk and Americana mixed together, along with a feeling of drifting down a river or swamp, so I dubbed them Bayou-punk. It might have been the lead singer’s particular twang (affected or not) that tipped it Bayou over just Americana/Southern, but it probably had something to do with the accordion’s effect on the mix as well.

The musicians in this band, though their instruments were varied, actually switched out from time to time. The guitarist and banjo player switched out for a couple songs, and the accordion player switched to drums to let the drummer scream some backing vocals to the last song of the set. I’m always impressed when bands have multi-faceted musicians. The Goddamn Gallows are a rare gem, indeed.

Anyway, shut up, Courtney, The Goddamn Gallows were magnificent. If you want a great little punk show with enthused, rowdy, fuckin’ dirty fans and active pit, get out and see them.

It’s the Swingin’ Utters’ 25th anniversary this year. That’s 1988 y’all, for those counting, those crazy fellas started one of the best punk bands in history. They’ve got a sound that still feels like the beginnings of American punk, strains of the Descendents (mostly around the basslines) tickled my ears. First time I heard Swingin’ Utters I wasn’t into them -probably because I wasn’t into the guy who introduced me to them in the first place – but they grew on me in large part probably from living in the San Francisco Bay Area for almost 8 years. I especially like their album Dead Flowers, Bottles, Bluegrass and Bones.

25 years old and the Swingin’ Utters still sound amazing. Lead singer Johnny Bonnel paced the stage like a caged animal finally let out to do some damage and he kept the show at a sprint. It was amazing. Swingin’ Utters is actually on tour with a fill-in drummer as Greg McEntee broke his hand before tour. I didn’t catch the name of the fill-in but he did a great job of workin’ that trap kit and being easy on the eyes at the same time.  Well done, dude.

One thing my friend Jess (who accompanied me to Face to Face but not to Swingin’ Utters) noticed among older punk dudes, onstage and off, is a prolific use of hats. Kangol hats and little straw brim hats.  Swingin’ Utters was no exception. The guitarist and drummer each wore kangol hats and the bassist a straw-looking brim hat (which he tossed off about halfway through the set to reveal a gorgeous, sweaty mop of hair) … can I officially posit the question of WTF??  Why the hats, dudes?  I mean, if you’re balding or something, maybe.  But who dropped the memo about the hats and when?  A note, if I may: if you’ve got nice hair let it out. Nothing I like better than imagining raking my fingers through some sweaty, unruly hair. Hats aren’t helping you.

One thing about a weeknight show is there are generally no Metro closings and clubs schedule shows to end in a timely manner. I’m not in my twenties anymore.  I like seeing a show and getting home early enough to read a book before bed, and this show got me home around midnight. I left happy, 13 bucks light (the show was 14 but I found a dollar in the street on the walk back to Union Station) and stoked I got to hear “No Pariah” from a band that’s been around almost as long as I’ve been alive.

Punk music, Swingin’ Utters and The Goddamn Gallows are what’s up.

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Face to Face and Teenage Bottlerocket

“Best punk tour of the year.”

Face to Face frontman Trever Keith told the audience to tell anyone who missed the show last Friday at the Black Cat (@blackcatdc) that they had missed the best punk tour of the year.  I agree.

Face to Face is a veteran band, recording and touring on and off since 1991. Now, where was I in ’91? I think I was listening to They Might Be Giants and wearing nothing but Umbro Soccer gear as I waded through tide pools at marine science camp (ie: I was a nerdy kid with no discernible social life). Face to Face has been honing their craft and shredding faces since I was in 4th/5th grade (!) so it’s no wonder they were true to form on the 7th and gave an energetic, punch-you-in-the-face performance. To my delight, they opened with Walk the Walk, which is my favorite Face to Face song.

There were moments of reminiscing during which Keith recalled playing the old 930 Club, and some self-promotion when he asked the audience to buy Face to Face’s new album Three Chords and a Half Truth…or download it illegally. Either way. Because fuck it, they have, like, seven other records and if all these people are here everyone’s probably got at least one of them.   That long discography allowed for a set that pulled songs from across two decades and a show pleasing to veteran Face to Face fans and the newbies alike.

My friend and I showed up at Black Cat about halfway into the performances (we were hungry, we had to stop to eat before we got there). We sadly missed Blacklist Royals and Joshua Black Wilkins because we thought the show started later than it did (while I can’t review their performances I’d suggest giving both acts a listen), but we came in just as Teenage Bottlerocket started their set.

I’d heard of Teenage Bottlerocket in passing but I’d never actually heard their music. I think the “teenage” part of their name turned me off. Regardless, they put on a hell of a show! They’re the brand of punk I like to see live the most – lots of double-time, harmonizing vocals, audience participation and an absolutely unrelenting, punishing set. Their drummer deserves a medal for keeping up their frenetic pace without a break between songs. The circle pit in front was the most active during their set, and I encourage anyone reading this to see Teenage Bottlerocket live if you ever get the chance. You will NOT be disappointed. I can’t tell you the content of their songs, it’s pretty hard to figure that sort of thing out live, but the youthful energy of their set will make your night.

For me Teenage Bottlerocket brought back fond memories of playing punk clubs in California and I found myself bouncing on my toes and smiling a lot while they were onstage. A weird reaction to punk music, I guess, but nostalgia’s a weird little bug.

drummer (Yours truly at some club…in the east bay?)

The crowd was a mix, some older punks, some young punks and a good number of in-betweenies who were maybe dragged there by a friend/boyfriend – the ubiquitous deck-party set.

There’s actually a pretty stark difference visually between new and old guard punks.  Maybe it’s just an age thing, but older punks (like, late 30s and early 40s) tend to look like normal people who pick up guitars and drum sticks at night. In spite of tattoos in coverable places, such as the arms, there are no piercings generally, they’re dressed in normal clothes, usually a t-shirt or button down, some kind of hat for the dudes, whatever pants they find and some Chucks, and usually they have sensible haircuts. Younger punks find the time to look the part, digging up tight pants, studded belts, ripped up black t-shirts and animal-print tank tops to hit a show. It may just be a matter of life priorities. I’m somewhere in the middle and I give up a little more on what I’m wearing every day. By the time I’m in my 40s maybe I’ll just be that t-shirt and random pants gal.

Now, I got no problem with in-betweenies. To me they look like people who just left a deck party, in plaid shorts and Topsiders, light skirts and sandals; they seem to abound here in DC.  They look like generic toast wrapped around vanilla ice cream to make a bland sandwich.  It’s boring, but not generally a hazard. Except when you go to a punk show.  There were girls at the show on Friday who had no business being there, wearing flip flops or slipper shoes, wearing poofy skirts and carrying gigantic purses…these are girls who deserve to be “accidentally” nudged into the pit as a learning experience. You wear SHOES to a punk show. Wear a satchel you can sling over your body. You want to loose your belongings and have your toes trampled by combat boots? No? Loose the purse and bring shoes.  It’s not the first time I’ve noticed this issue and, DC-women-who-were-obviously-dragged-to-a-show-by-a-friend/boyfriend, for fuck’s sake I’m trying to help you out.

Idiot accessorizing aside, Face to Face and Teenage Bottlerocket put on amazing shows. If this tour is coming anywhere near you you should make sure to get out and see it.

Live punk shows are what’s up.

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Chinese New Year and Asian Spice

Image

Photo: flickr.com

I missed Brown Bird at the Black Cat on Thursday and was purely, singularly bummed, so I needed a prize analgesic by the weekend.  While my Saturday was spent writing, giving some much-needed attention to my languishing novel, Sunday I dedicated to getting some much-needed culture and sunshine.

It was cold on Sunday, but at least the sky was clear. I met my friend Brian over in Chinatown where the Chinese New Year parade was set to take place on H street (to eventually pass under the Friendship Arch, pictured, at H and 7th) from 2-4:30. It was still early, around 1, so we decided to get some lunch before we staked out a spot on the parade route.

We walked to Matchbox first (that’s the one beneath the bowl of fire and next to the Chinatown bus hub) but it had people standing outside waiting to get in.  So we looked down the block and right on the corner of H and 8th was a place called Asian Spice.  The menu was extensive and eclectic, the place was warm and smelled delicious inside and it was close to the parade route.  As a plus, the owner was jovial and chatty, and convinced us this was the place to eat.  I hadn’t the heart to tell him I was already sold on the place, but maybe it swayed Brian a bit.

The hostess was kind enough to seat us upstairs and next to a window just in case we were still eating when the parade began.  If we craned our necks, we would be able to see the festivities as they snaked down H Street, as were on the 8th street side.  The upstairs area was simple and elegant, with dark wood floors and structural beams, and with different levels separated by one or two steps to create a sense of intimacy despite the open plan.  I felt like I was in someone’s really, really big and awesome house.  As we sat, the place filled up around us but I never felt overwhelmed (as I am prone to do).

I got the Tom Ka Gai, which is a spicy coconut milk soup with chicken and enoki mushrooms, and Asiana Shumai which are shrimp and pork steamed dumplings.  Both were absolutely delicious — well spiced and satisfying.  Usually I have to walk off with a doggy bag after visiting a restaurant, and I definitely didn’t want to carry food around with me at the parade, but since both items were appetizers, together they turned out to be just the right amount of food.

Brian got the Thai Chicken Salad. He said, and I quote, “The dressing was good.”  He wanted me to put that sentence in this review.  So…I’m guessing the lime-chili Thai dressing on his salad was satisfactory.  I didn’t get a chance to sample his salad, as I was too busy putting other delicious things in my mouth, but the fact there was none left over for me to try says much more than I could.

So as we were nearing the end of our meal the owner comes by and lets us know they had altered the parade route.  A few minutes later we looked outside and realized they were using the block of 8th street below us as the start-point for the parade.  As we sipped tea and sat comfortably we watched dancing dragons, parade walkers, martial arts students, dancers and a marching band pass below us.  A member of the media brushed past us to take pictures from one of the windows.  It was all said and done in about a half hour.

A half hour.

Now, maybe it’s because we were at the start of the route, and they spaced the different elements of the parade out as they stretched down H street, but it seemed fairly anticlimactic to us.  Right on the heels of the last marchers was a cleanup crew, walking behind them almost like they were part of the parade, raking large refuse from the street as little fleet of street-sweepers brought up the rear.  By the time we paid the bill and left the restaurant the streets were clear of crowds, and clean enough to forget there was even an event.  The only lingering reminder was the traffic and the police directing pedestrians and cars at every intersection.

So Asian Spice is what’s up.  The parade, well, I’ll skip it next year.

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