7/6/09 @ The Shelf, Columbus OH
Hurray For The Riff Raff
Time and Temperature
ME and Josh, recent recruit to Columbus by way of Boston MA, biked to this show together. We indulged in Tip Top bar’s sweet potato fries (OMFG) and two cartoonishly large brewsky’s. Then we hiked up to the 4th floor of 57 E. Gay to The Shelf. It was my first time at The Shelf.
Hurray for The Riff Raff hail from New Orleans. The band is banjo, drums, trumpet, accordion. I was captured by their sound. There was loss and remorse present. They played these beautifully written songs with sweet currents of quiet reflection flowing into bursts of emotion carried by a siren voice. I would be glad if this band came back through soon.
Time and Temperature is Val from Columbus OH. She finger plays electric guitar and sings. She weaves a web of melancholy around an audience. It is hard not to be wrapped in her meticulous playing and her somber vocal delivery that is very easy on the ears.
God Damned Bernies. I’ve always loved and hated this dive bar punk venue. I guess they have food too but I’ve never eaten it. When I first moved to Columbus, it was easily picked out on High St. with its tattered green awning. Currently it has a lit up sign with BERNIES in comic sans font: Tacky. The first time I went there was with Austin in a fit of freshman Buckeye boredom. We didn’t know anyone or anything to do in Columbus. We wanted punk. We wanted danger. We wanted some friends who also liked three chords. We saw the infamous local punk Rat Boy’s band The Rat Pack play. First thing I saw coming down the steps was his WHITETRASH tattoo across his shirtless back as he snarled into the mic. They were shitty ‘fuck you’ scum punk. Pretty bad. Patently offensive. Memorable.
An old man with a huge beer gut and a grin of mostly gums sang the theme song from Batman with them; kind of. I later came to know this guy was Don B. and singing Batman with bands at Bernies and anywhere else he can is still his calling. Austin and I left shortly after this, a little disturbed, while a drunken guy was being kicked out. We passed him on the steps as he threatened the “bouncer” (in quotes because it was just a skin head dude who played pool there, does anyone really work there?) with a can opener.
Something always goes down there. Double booked shows. No pay. No sound guy. I don’t know if I have ever seen the owner; Tony Painter. National touring bands we’ve met have stories from Bernies. The most notable I’ve heard was from Clorox Girls, who played a show with ankle deep water all around the stage from High Street’s terrible drainage causing a minor flood in the venue. I’ve seen a guy with a crack pipe sitting on the steps during a freezing winter night. Been pushed into a wall there. Pat was threatened by street punx who said he looked at them wrong. Friends have been sexually harassed there by the occasionally creepy motley assortment of regulars. Jason from Failures Union had a pool ball thrown at him there by a band of assholes. He gave their van a healthy keying. Saw Jimi Baby shwasted there… during… I cannot remember. Snuck in there. Shoved a beer bottle in a guys butt for standing too close to Libby then immediately dropped it and hid in a crowd. Saw multiple fights there at a Methodones and Merkurs show. Saw The Apers there along with maybe 6 others; two of which were just drunk sloshers. Saw Against Me! there while they were riding the rising hype machine and a friend was writing ‘Against DIY’ on their tour van. Met Dylan who would become a great friend at a Digger show there, Dave put us all up to going. None of us really liked them; we were bored. Met Bret Liebendorfer there and Steven (microcosm) and saw Jimmy Buttons for the first time, smiling of course, at a Lawrence Arms show that Delay played. Skipped seeing a Defiance, Ohio show there before I knew them to hang out with my girlfriend at the time. No wait, we just argued on the phone or something.
Delay played our first ever Columbus show at Bernies back in 03’ with a great power pop band called Dirt Bike Annie. I remember their guitarist was passed out at the bar up until she joined them on stage for a killer set. Soon after, we met The Ergs! and The Copyrights in that stale smelling bar, which was great encouragement for Delay to start touring. I remember Fletcher from Copyrights once bit this kid’s hand who was fucking with them while they played. He did it lovingly though, for entertainment’s sake. I also met Nick Papa there when Delay played a show with Beatnick Termites and The Shakedowns… He set me on course to attending my first Columbus’ DIY show. He also was the first person to tell me about Plan-it-X records.
In the past, if you had to poop while at Bernies, chances were you’d run over to the old Steak and Shake next door to drop trou. It is still important to have another crapping station planned out. Bernies bathroom was and is a health hazard.
After all the lows and highs, friends and enemies made, Delay eventually vowed never to play there again and we still haven’t since that vow. I think it has been four yers at least. I hadn’t been to Bernies in more than a year because nothing I care to see seems to happen there anymore. No good local shows or good national acts. I went on this night because I like Heath Deadger. They are never dull. I will admit to having a long lasting Mickey (vox) crush that makes me go places I don’t always want to go like Bernies. Also, Troi (guitar) is like big little brother. Joe joe (bass) was one of my first ever Columbus friends. Bobby (drums) is hilarious and always wants Taco Bell and good times. I like being around them. They played after a terrible techy metal breakdown band that just talked about how bad they wanted drugs. Their hair was bad MySpace pictures come to life. Thankfully, Heath Deadger gave the rowdy crowd a dose of their fun thrash hardcore. For a second I had a pool floatie around my waist and my bike helmet on. I got pushed a good whiplash causing push and stopped dancing. That’s all it took. I hate Bernies.