Last night, DunkelpeK (Nava Dunkelman and myself) played a set at Oakland Secret along with Butter Man, The Goobs, and Nick Normal. Good times, but I was a little nervous how the night would unfold when we arrived.
Nava and I showed up early to an empty venue. Even the organizers weren't there, and the place was messy. Small garbage bins overflowing with beer cans, lots of random equipment in the space and on the stage. Things felt cramped. "uh oh" I thought.
And then, the magic of the DIY heart happened. The organizers showed up and in less than an hour, the space was ready for a concert. Bookshelves were moved, garbage was taken out, the stage was cleared, ganja was smoked, and audience showed up. <3 <3 <3
This was my first time at Oakland Secret. Wonderful space! There is a commune of snakes next door. Yes, next door, a wall of terrariums are set up, each with a reptilian inhabitant of extraordinary beauty. A yellow snake made its way into the concert space and said hello.
I loved this guys shirt. My socks had the same phrase on them.
DunkelpeK played first. I thought we played a great set. It can be so effortless playing with Nava. The sonic communication just makes total sense instantaneously. We don't have to try. Even our cathartic noise moments are tended to with a sensitivity and knowingness that I've rarely experienced outside of our playing relationships.
Often, when we play, I'll hear echoes of our study of Indonesian gamelan music. Bells, gongs and other metallic percussion sing in a multiform periodicity that I find so satisfying and fun. And then, all of a sudden, I'll bring in some traditional guitar twang that just ruins everything. Or Nava will bring out some tidal wave of snare rolls to change the flavor. All for the fun of it!
Next up was Butter Man. I've seen this band play once before. They are young. Fresh out of high school. And honestly, I was impressed with their progress as a group. I remember playing in highschool and what a big deal it was for me. How enthusiastic I was about the music, how next level everything was. It was cool to be around that energy again. The Butter Man band leader was at the front of the stage for every set, giving good vibes to every band. <3
The Goobs were up next. They were on tour with Nick Normal, sharing some of the same band members. These guys had just arrived in Oakland, like the hour of the show, from Portland. They drove from Portland the same day. I've done that drive. Super long. I guess a bit easier if you have van full of dudes to share the drive. But still, that's over 9 hours on the road. And then to play a show.
The Goobs were Good. Good 'ol rock 'n roll. Fun songs. High energy. Got me and many in the audience moving. I remember, they had a song bar-b-ques. I was thinking how it can be a powerful thing to gather a large group of people together and to share in silence together. In a way, a concert does this. Everyone listening to the music is quiet. There's an unspoken community. The music plays. People bob their heads and dance. Humanity. Good. Being quiet together. How often do we do this? Sometimes we need noise music to do this.
And then Nick Normal. Still, good 'ol rock 'n roll, with just a little more thrash thrown in, as well as a short cover of My Sherona. They're on their was to LA as I write this. I think their going as far as Missouri or something. All in that van. Many sweaty dudes. God's Speed.
DunkelpeK plays again at the end of the month.
Friday, September 29, with Sahba Sizdahkhani and Chuck Johnson
at Studio Grand in Oakland,California