By Adam Lovinus
By Lilledeshan Bose
By Gabriel San Roman
By Rachel Mattice
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Daniel Kohn
By Nate Jackson
By Mike Seeley
Photo by Jeanne RiceSmile/The Killingtons
Saturday night got off to a rollicking start when these two yuppie fucknuts my friend Julie was supposed to meet up with inside Club Mesa were standing in the parking lot outside Club Mesa looking like they had just smelled something foul. "Hey—are you leaving?" Julie asked, confused, as we approached them. For reasons lost on me, she actually wanted to hang out with them.
"I can't take it anymore in there," sniffed one. "It's horrible! That place is such a dive! I can't believe you hang out there! It's the most white-trash place I've ever been. It's like half the people are river trash and the other half rolled around in the sewer. Are you supposed to roll around in the sewer before you go in? I can't go back in there!"
I was surprised at their reaction. Club Mesa might not be the swankiest place, but it's been recently redone, and I've been there so many times it feels like home. Plus we were there to see Smile and the Killingtons, who draw a friendly eclectic music fan crowd. They draw my friends. My friends do not roll around in the sewer. Julie tried to talk Dean Witter and Morgan Stanley into going back into Club Mesa while I marveled at the degree to which I already hated them. And I don't hate that many people. "You gonna buy us drinks?" asked the vocal one. "That's the only way you'll get me back in that place."
"I'll buy you a drink," said Julie, who has a soft spot, apparently, for total assholes.
"What's her name?" the fucknut asked, gesturing toward me. Julie told him. "Okay, well, she has to buy him a drink then," Fucknut said, referring to the silent fucknut. It was fucknuts aplenty, and I wasn't about to buy any one of them a drink, especially after being ordered to do so.
Once inside Club Mesa, I quickly ditched my friend and her pet assholes. I couldn't take it anymore. There's only so much asshole I can take in one night, and my asshole quota had been met. But I missed most of the Killingtons because I was busy telling all my friends about how much the two guys suck, how I've never met people that suck so much, how it takes a lot to make a bad first impression on me but they made one, and how I hated them. I really did.
What I saw of the Killingtons was good, though. The drummer's sticks were blurs in the air, the guitars were perfectly quiet/loud/quiet, and the vocals were present and audible, which hasn't always been the case when I've seen them live, although it's been some time since I've seen them. The best part is that the singer's really tall, so you can see them from a number of different places in the club.
After a sizable chunk of time, during which I further vented about the sucky guys, Smile took the stage and opened with the new-ish "Settle Down." From there, they played an inspired set of new and old songs, including "Instant Brain Damage," which made it on the radio a couple of years ago. It's a funny thing with Smile: they should be way bigger than they are. Their songwriting is complex and ever-evolving, and their music is accessible. I don't get it.
"This next song is dedicated to Aaliyah, one of my favorite R&B stars," said singer Mike Rosas before going into the Beatles-esque "I Make the Dead." "She actually had an unfortunate accident today. She died in a plane crash."
Rosas has such a deadpan delivery that I was unsure whether he was telling the truth. No one in the audience seemed to know either.
"Is that true?" I'd ask someone.
"What?" they'd yell back.
"Is that true, about Aaliyah?" I'd then say.
"Huh, what?" they'd say.
"Mike said Aaliyah died in a plane crash—is that true?"
"Oh, I don't know; I didn't hear him."
This happened with three people. And they weren't the three people who were all kissing one another in the back of the club, which I was pretty surprised to see when I swiveled my head around. One guy! Two girls! All kissing! It was like my own episode of MTV's True Stories: I'm a Polygamist.
And I don't even think they'd rolled around in the sewer!