Hope you all had a good New Years' Eve! I, for one, was working hard. Not working in the traditional sense, mind you, but bartending.
No, I haven't become a bartender. I've been doing some volunteering lately for a local "interdisciplinary arts" organization called Disjecta, and I signed on to help with their New Years show. Disjecta, located in a great old warehouse next to the Burnside Bridge, puts on visual arts exhibitions, as well as performance art pieces, and the occasional rock show upstairs. This particular event was of the latter variety, and featured local favorites Quasi (who are Janet Weiss of Sleater-Kinney and her ex-husband Sam Coomes, of Elliot Smith's old band, Heatmiser), the Joggers (who are, well, the freakin' Joggers!) and the Grails (who are the Grails). And Heather, the volunteer coordinator, fool that she is, put me behind the bar!
Actually, it wasn't such a bad move on her part. I have to say, I did a pretty good job, as did the rest of my compatriots. We schmoozed the gents, flirted with the ladies, and generally kept the crowd's buzz-on going strong. But don't think it was an easy gig. The three or four of us that were behind that bar at any given time got WORKED! The last show Disjecta put on, which was San Francisco's Xiu Xiu (see previous post), drew about 300 people, which is more or less the norm for this venue. The NYE show, on the other hand, drew nearly a thousand! It was crazy, we were moving the whole time! We literally ran out of booze during Quasi's set and had to drag a couple dusty kegs of Pabst out from the basement. The upside to all of this was that we had a clear sight-line to the stage, so we could at least look up and see the bands every once in a while. And of course, we made pretty significant bank in tips. If it can be said there was any downside, it was that the tap on the bands' keg was broken, and they kept hassling us for free drinks all night ("I'm with the band" gets old after a while, but we humored them; they were, after all, the night's entertainment).
And of course, I got to put a few of my friends on the guest list, which they appreciated. Unfortunately, my friend Zack had to leave during Quasi's set, as the buses were about to stop running. I offered to drive him home after the show (being hard at work behind the bar, I basically wasn't drinking at all), but he declined my offer, which I wish he hadn't done, as Quasi is his favorite band.
At any rate, a good time was had by all. The bands did a fine job. The Joggers, in addition to their originals, pulled out a few choice covers such as Yes' Long Distance Runaround (which I'd heard them do before), and of all things, the Dead's St. Stephen! That was a surprise. And Quasi were fantastic as well. They played mostly stuff from their latest record, "When the Going Gets Dark," which I highly recommend to any of you not familiar with their work. Great record (I'm listening to it as I write this).
Good stuff! I'll definitely be volunteering for Disjecta again in the future.