This one is a little tricky, because my memories of the show in question are very vague. You might ask, as my friend TV did, why I want to write about a show I barely remember. It’s a good question, and the answer is that I have fond feelings for the band, the time period, and the people involved, and enjoy thinking about all of them.
The band was Shriekback, the venue The Stone in San Francisco, the time late 1985. I was attending UC Santa Cruz at the time, and had gotten into the habit of reading the SF Chronicle’s Sunday arts and entertainment section (known to all Bay Areans as the Pink Section). When I saw that Shriekback — one of my favorite bands then and now, and one rarely seen on U.S. soil — was playing in S.F., I was determined to be there. I convinced a group of friends to make the trek, and for transportation we enlisted a hallmate who was not a favorite person of ours but had a car. It was not a proud moment, but sometimes you do what you have to do.
Unfortunately the concert itself is pretty much a blur. I remember noticing that lead singer Carl Marsh was gone, that Barry Andrews had replaced him as frontman, and that Andrews’ keyboard duties were being handled by a second, somewhat larger bald man (this would turn out to be Steve Halliwell, later of King Swamp). But in terms of actual music, I remember very little, sad to say. I’m sure they did “Nemesis” and the crowd went nuts, but can I conjure any reliable sense memory of such a thing? Nope.
When I asked my old crew what they remembered, my friend The Trickster said,
Remember the black guy who got worked up when the song “Lined Up” started to play? Dude had a Mohawk.
And the answer is no, I don’t. I wish I did. I do remember the circumstances surrounding the show. This was my first time in San Francisco, and it was fairly mind-blowing. After the show we went to Berkeley, where we ate at Top Dog and were verbally abused by the cashier, as is their tradition. We spent the night in the lounge of a Cal dorm, where my sleep was repeatedly interrupted by The Trickster pulling me off the couch onto the floor, aided by an unusually slippery sleeping bag.
At the time I was deeply annoyed with him, but in retrospect it delights me no end. Funny how memory works.