Last Night: Two Reviews for the Price of One

Last Night: Two Reviews for the Price of One

I told you last Friday that Alex's Bar was the place to be this weekend. For those of you who didn't listen, here' s a recap.

San Diegan rock 'n' roll extravaganza the Night Marchers hit Alex's Bar on Friday night for a 45-minute set comprised of killer tunes, humorous banter and even a little bit of beer thrown into the crowd. The band - singer/guitarist John Reis, bassist Tommy Kitsos, guitarist Gar Wood and drummer Jason Kourkounis - opened with "Closed for Inventory" and "In Dead Sleep" before diving headfirst into "Jump in the Fire." Wood strummed the opening chords to "You've Got Nerve" while Reis instructed the crowd to put its thumbnails together to create a quiet rhythmic sound. This, he explained, came from his third grade teacher Mr. Slater, who would have hyperactive students do this act whenever they were getting out of line.

Reis later asked the audience how the band was sounding and said if anyone had any constructive criticism, they could leave it in the white porcelain suggestion box inside one of the tiny closets at the back of the room. By the end of the set, the singer/guitarist took a tall can of Tecate and sprayed the audience, then announced, "I hope you all get DUIs!"

Similar to any band Reis is in, the Night Marchers brought a big sound that most can't handle. Rumor had it, if Alex's Bar opened its doors during the set, the tunes would still be floating through the air, on their way to China by mid-Tuesday. Again, that's just a rumor, but as I stood five feet from Reis, I can attest that this might in fact be the case.

On Sunday, Sean Wheeler and Zander Schloss brought their folk/soul/Americana/bluegrass sounds to the bar and stole the show. The theme for the night had something to do with HBO's

True Blood

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because apparently some scenes are filmed at Alex's and headliner Jace Everett sings the theme songs.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the night was the fact that the show actually started on time. I spoke to Wheeler eariler in the day and he said they went on at 9:30. The duo was playing its second tune when I walked in at 9:38. For anyone who's ever attended or played a bar show, you know just how amazing this is.

Anyway, Wheeler and Schloss tore it up. They played all the hits -- "Good Pussy," "Walk Thee Invisible" and a bunch of others that I don't know the names to -- and the banter was on par with Reis. Wheeler told the crowd he had seen only the first season of the vampire program and didn't want anyone to tell him what happens in season two. He also told a very humorous tale about meeting a woman in San Francisco on Saturday night. According to the singer, she kept saying the Spanish word for "blood" as they went back to her apartment. This, he later discovered, meant they couldn't have sex because she was on her period. Trust me, it was funnier the way he told it.

Wheeler stopped Schloss in the middle of one tune when he said he didn't know if he messed up or not. Schloss told him he did and the pair embraced the mistake, laughed about it and went back into the tune, finishing as if they'd played the song a million times before. This sort of openness is what makes the Wheeler/Schloss combo so enjoyable. It's honest music, the kind that attracts people with its blatant disregard for overpolished bullshit.

So that was my weekend. How was yours?

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