4/10/09 Oberlin, Ohio @ Zack’s House
Uncle Zack and the Step Kids
The Ghost Of Asa Phelps
Letters to the Moon
We stopped at my parents in Berea, OH and they stuffed us with hugs and food from MAYA, Berea’s #1 Mexican restaurant. I’m lucky to have so much of their support, understanding, excitement, and encouragement. I am always energized when I visit them.
Oberlin, OH is a strange bubble. It is renowned for its liberal arts college: First desegregated, first co-ed, welcoming to same sex couples. The town has ended up with all sorts of characters coming for school and then some small town kids who grew up there and then folks who just love the town and its environment. It is a beautiful campus and the small town atmosphere is one of immediate comfort. I have experienced a few different vibes there. 1) Very open minded, genuinely nice people who live life fully. They dance when there is music, drink when there are spirits, like gardening. 2) The kids who grew up around there. They love it but want to leave. They know kids who drove a John Deer to school. 3) This vibe is something like, I’m way too cool and interesting for you- I am just passing through Ohio for school and I own this little Oasis of people just as weird as me and we just party hop in all of our weirdness together- Who are you?
The party show was made up of vibes 1 and 2 thankfully. Everything was outstanding and Abby drove from Michigan to see us!
Uncle Zack and the Step Kids played first and they fucking ruled. It was pure 90’s strange alt rock bliss. The vocals were in between Soul Asylum, Dinosaur Jr., and Tom Waits. The guitar had grungy power and off kilter punk energy. Great hooks and use of stops and starts coordinated with the drums. Solid bass lines. Andy Cook knows how to play everything and now that includes drums. He was ripping off early Dave Grohl with class and with a little more soul. He drummed in the pocket. His sense of rhythm is impressive.
The Ghost of Asa Phelps from Athens, OH played next. Again, they exuded their love of Jawbreaker-esque, throat ruining punk. They play almost the same driving tempo through the entire set and I would like to hear them explore more with their from the heart sound. I need some variation.
Clevelanders Signals Midwest played next. Maybe they were a bit drunk. They played fast, super-melodic, pop-punk that was soaked with sweaty energy and rambling banter.
Lisa and I were set to play next. I didn’t even want to battle the party atmosphere to play after loud bands. I had no energy. With a rally cry from Andy Cook and a fast paced first song, we didn’t have to battle hard at all to my surprise. We won over the room’s attention. Lisa’s voice sounded so good bouncing between the old walls and worn wood floors. I felt it coming from the heart. We were in it and I love being wrapped in the music we are sharing. It went over very well. I witnessed a girl steal a CD off of our merch table and I didn’t stop her. I enjoyed her blatant theft and decided she must have really wanted it.
American War closed the show and it was a sing along that could have drawn noise complaints. He was on and the choir was in his hands.
I met some kind Oberliners at the show as we loitered around a little. We stayed at my rents’ house in Berea. I slammed a couple bowls of cereal and slept well with a belly full o’ granola.