Monday, November 26, 2018

Cameraless Weekend with The Ratchets, Shellshag, Shut Up, Exmaid, Spowder, Daddies, and More, 11/23-11/24, 2018

Noisy iPhone pic of The Ratchets

(Mostly) No Pictures and It Did Happen

I've been slowly but surely making my way back out into the world of shows. Lately, it's been kind of this will I or won't I struggle all the way up until the time I head out the door. "Will I" doesn't always win out. A couple of weeks ago, I even started driving to Jersey City and turned back home just as I reached the entrance to the Garden State Parkway. This past weekend, I managed to drag myself (and, on Saturday, CoolMom!) out to a couple of great shows at Asbury Park Brewery; and I'm glad I did.

On Friday, hometown punk rock four-piece, The Ratchets, celebrated the release of First Light, their first album in 10 years. The band came out of hibernation this past spring; and, after a couple of live performances, "the itch to get in a room together again and write new music began to intensify." Those new songs, like "Gotta Be Cool" and "Jammyland," slotted in seamlessly on Friday with the band's older material like "Heart of Town." The Ratchets also paid homage to a couple of their influences with covers of Blitz's "New Age" and The Ramones' "Bonzo Goes to Bitburg." In all, it was a sing along forever kind of set that definitely lifted my spirits.

Saturday brought an ultra-stacked bill -- and lots of the same people as Friday night -- to Asbury Park Brewery in celebration of J. Nixon's (Nervous Triggers / Black Wine / Hunchback) birthday. Shellshag, Shut Up, Exmaid, Spowder, and Daddies turned in fantastic sets, all of which went by way too quickly. From the first strains of Daddies' wild garage punk to the night-ending construction of Shellshag's drum / guitar  tower, the evening was an explosion of positivity and great music. King Mike Abbate (Screaming Females) and Dash Coom (Secretary Legs) were also celebrating birthdays. J. Nixon handled vocals for Shut Up's cover of "100%." Exmaid and Spowder reminded me why I'll head out to see them whenever I can make it happen.

CoolMom came out for the show. I stood at or near the front for the whole evening and didn't bring even the point and shoot. Instead of hustling for a spot or worrying about the lights, I spent the evening talking to CoolMom and friends and just enjoying the music. I felt a lump well up in my throat more than a few times during Shellshag's set. To me, they're one of the most inspiring bands working today; and it took a good amount of energy for me not to unleash a full-on cry when they played "Carry On."

It felt liberating to be out there just soaking up the music at both shows without worrying about taking pictures. I do love live music photography, but I've been making a conscious effort lately to wean myself from having it be my default way of enjoying a show. I'll have to strike some kind of balance between shooting and listening that allows me to enjoy both of my passions.


I did take a few phone pics at The Ratchets show and saved few instagram story vids from Saturday.

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