There's no doubt that I'm at Detroit Bar a lot, and that I've seen the acts that played there last night--Yellow Red Sparks (pictured), Stacy Clark and the New Limb--plenty of times. So how could I possibly keep such an experience fresh? Why, by bringing my mother along, of course.
My parents are in town for a couple days to visit their favorite child ever (hint: that's me!), and though my dad is among the generation that still thinks of rock and roll as "devil music" and probably would think Jack Johnson was extreme hardcore death metal, I knew my mom would enjoy the lineup. Especially Yellow Red Sparks, who are strongly reminiscent of the country-tinged, acoustic, folksy music that my mom and I have bonded for many years over (lead singer Josh Hanson is probably going to hate that description of his music, though).
Luckily, Yellow Red Sparks went on first--old people get tired, y'know--and here are my mom's unedited comments, to the best of my memory (go ahead and sue me, lady, just try it!):
"He is actually good."
"He should try and play at country bars."
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"He writes really good songs."
Yellow Red Sparks were playing with an altered lineup since upright bassist P.J. Waxman made a last-minute trip to Canada (yeah, weird, right?). Hanson's brother John, the lead singer of the fabulous Melanoid, joined on guitar and drummer Darren Goldstein mostly sat things out until adding some harmonies at the end of the set. YRS even dedicated a song to my mother, the bouncy "My Machine Gun." I don't think that's happened to her since the 1955 Hill Valley "Enchantment Under the Sea" dance.
Stacy Clark was next, who briefly chit-chatted with my mom before her set. (My mother: "What a sweet girl. Was she nervous? Her hands were ice cold.") My mom enjoyed what she heard, but was upset that so few people were watching, while the crowd outside on the patio was packed. My mom was right: pretty lame, dudes. People criticize the Orange County "scene" for being clique-ish, and it really seemed like it at that point.
Sadly, my mom had to depart before seeing Costa Mesa's the New Limb, even though she got to meet all four of the diabolical funsters. They were pumped, though, and sounded as good as I've heard them (which is a lot of times at this point). There's no possible way to get sick of the guitar solo on "Autumn Leaves," unless you are a real jerky-jerk. They added a cello player and violinist for a couple of songs, which was a neat touch. They've tried to do something different each week of their residency, and the effort is obvious. It's something my mom would have appreciated.