Excerpts from a Drunken Memoir Masquerading as a Review of the Roots’ Listening Party for their new CD, Rising Down, at Neumo’s on June 5, 2008
By Matt Brown
…After we stumbled out of the Rendezvous into the backseat of the cab, I punched in the number for The Trucks’ promotions pimp down in Portland, an avowed connoisseur of all things sexy and Scottish, and handed the phone to Kevin.
While he purred to her in his Glaswegian brogue, I pulled my finished review of the listening party we were supposedly en route to from my jacket pocket and squinted at what I’d scribbled during Anita Goodmann’s show. Not too awful, considering that it was more of a rambling love letter to my various demons and indiscretions than an imagined account of the events about to unfold at Neumo’s.
As Kevin’s suggestions and innuendos to a woman he’d most likely never meet began to heat up, the cab stopped on Broadway and Pike, and I reached for the wadded-up mess of singles and fives stuffed into my pocket to pay the driver…
Neumo’s was packed on the night of June 5th, but not uncomfortably so, a likely result of the club’s recent harassment by the City Of Seattle regarding capacity “issues”. As The Roots’ DJ ?uestlove took the stage, removing his black sweatshirt to reveal a T-shirt cleverly paying homage to his crew’s past and present music catalog, it was obvious that the front of the crowd was reserved for those willing to dance. The remainder of the audience stood mutely, in staid observance of a man playing records that had been released back when they were tiny (and presumably very hip) toddlers.
…”It’ll be bumpin’ in another hour or so. We were just early.” I dodged the ping pong ball Jimmy Flame had just smashed in my direction and gulped down the second half of my Pabst. Within the next few minutes, Jimmy had swept us out of King Cobra back across the street to Neumo’s and was approaching a crowd of young revelers outside the venue.
“Hey!” he shouted at the group, “We’re in a band called Whiskey Super and we need some photos with our fans!”
I recognized the most attractive member of our new fanbase immediately: Ms. Shilo Urban, the promoter from CultureMob.com who had guestlisted me for this event, and a notorious lover of random antics and debauchery in her own right. In fact, she was quite visibly having at least as much fun as I was…
By the time The Roots’ other founding member, Black Thought, joined Brother Question onstage, the fever from the front row had spread back to envelop the more jaded – and drunken – members
of the crowd. As the duo tore into the new album’s incendiary political topics and vicious beats (supplied by ?uestlove himself on the drums), the artificial feeling of unity in the room was undeniable, everyone momentarily forgetting the disparate reasons why they were gathered together and collectively giving
in to feeling the electricity generated by the men who stood before them.
…By the time we hit last call at the Lava Lounge, Kevin’s slurred burr was almost completely incomprehensible to anyone who’d been born south of Kilmarnock, and my thick Alaskan accent was starting to confuse people as well.
“How was Neumo’s?” asked the young lady nestled next to me in the booth. I squinted to bring her into clearer focus and was pleasantly surprised to recognize someone who would drive me back home to Ballard. I gave her a lopsided smirk and reached for her beer.
“Ya should’ve been there…”