It's not that the show was bad at the Hard Rock tonight it was just weird to me. Tickets said the show started at 8:00pm, to me that means doors at 8:00 show somewhat thereafter. I think we walked in at 8:20 and Meat Puppets were already on. When we walked in the first thing I thought was "shit, I hope they sound better than what was being piped into the lobby". Yeah, they they really didn't sound too much better. I don't think the Meat Puppets have been known for their artistry. They were pretty much just a punk band who got a little love from Nirvana when "Lake of Fire was featured on the famous MTV Unplugged set. Then they caught a mild wave off the grunge thing with Backwater. I don't think anyone doesn't like the Meat Puppets, but they are more of a footnote in musical history; like the Big Star of Grunge and that's not a bad place to be.
I came to hear pretty much one song (and maybe Backwater too). I never cared for Lake of Fire either, it's like a minute of half of out of key blah to me. So they hit Backwater early on in the set and right in the middle of it the usher got lost and couldn't find her way to showing some folks their seats. So we are digging for our tickets, missing the song while the usher pretty much ruins the song with her flashlight pen and sense of poor direction. Thanks for that Rocksino. The one song I did want to hear, which is legendary live, was "Up On The Sun". They have been known to drag the thing out for an hour nonstop. This clocked in at about 20 minutes. It was stoner rock genius. I was good.
After a short break and a nice visit with my rock and roll comrade Matt Wardlaw talking about the glory days of VH1's short lived Rock and Roll Jeopardy Soul Asylum took to the stage with "Somebody To Shove". Pirner and Company, who includes former Prince drummer Michael Bland plowed through a virtual greatest hits of Soul Asylum. Absent from the set was their cover of Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing" which bummed me out a bit. However he covered Nick Cave's "Into My Arms" pretty well which was nice surprise even if he fucked up the lyrics a couple times.
Pirner had a nice back and forth with the audience telling some really corny jokes in between songs and even gave a little happy anniversary love to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The band sounded tight and there were some singalong moments for most of the folks in the crowd. Pirner instantly went on my list of rock stars I would like to hang out with, and not just because the whole Winona Ryder thing. I'd just high five him for that. I don't need any details.
The crowd was sparse, lots of empty seats which I found odd, but promotion for the show was pretty lackluster. The sound mix was pretty shitty overall. If they were going for the "let's make it sound like the bands are playing in an empty airplane hanger" the sound guy nailed that. I enjoyed the show overall but the Rocksino is kind of dropping the ball on many fronts since they started doing the whole live music thing. The downright Nazi photo policy in a world of cell phones is archaic and stupid. It's not like you can even take a decent photo with a pro camera there with the poor lighting, but come on, let people take a couple cell phone snaps without incident. The usher not knowing the map of the seats taking away from my personal experience was pretty bush league, and the sound was low rent. Soul Asylum was great. Meat Puppets were decent, but I was never a huge fan to begin with.