Saturday Oct 3rd, 1998 at the Bottleneck in Lawrence KS

The Spinanes, Park, & Planetarium

Earlier in the afternoon I had met up with Pepper and we discussed band type things and jammed around for a while. He wasn't planning on going to the show (and actually had never heard The Spinanes) but I dragged him along and we headed over to the club around 9:30 when the doorman had earlier told me the first band would start.

It was of course over an hour before the first opening band came on. A band called Planetarium that most folks seemed to really loathe. The band played behind a white sheet on which was projected space scenes. Like NASA films taken of planets from all rotating angles. It wasn't much to look at. Musically they weren't much to listen to either. It was space rock in a very "no shit" form. Loads of effects and synth in an effort to create a soundscape. However the music lacked real dynamics and never built to a climax or an interesting frenzy. I think we all started feeling a little drowsy during their set.

Park were up next and I was looking forward to hearing them. I assumed this was the No Karma Park from Champaign/Urbana, however I don't think it was. There was mention from the singer that some folks were helping him out that night, but if this was a Park off project, the band had very little in common with Park. This Park consisted of a singer/bass player, a second bass player, and a drummer creating indie rock/emo songs that seemed never fully realized. I thought that was kinda charming actually. I also though the off key vocals were kinda charming but the rest of the club groaned. There was a table of old farts behind me (why the hell would they be at the BOTTLENECK!?! It must have been a home game.) who actually shouted "Learn to sing first." and were commenting that the songs were all three-chords. I thought "Jeez folks climb up on that stage."

The flyers I saw said "Rebecca Gates as the Spinanes" so I thought it was just going to be Becca with her guitar, however she brought along a drummer, 2nd guitar and a bassist/keyboardist. If I were cooler I could tell you who they all were, but I can't. The wiry 2nd guitar did look terribly familiar though. About 50 folks came up front for the show as Rebecca walked on the stage. Not many folks at all especially for a $6 national act on a Saturday night.

Right off the bat I was terribly impressed with Rebecca. She was smart, sexy and funny and handled the (often belligerent) crowd well. Silencing the red necks screaming "Go Chiefs" by talking sports with them. I think that confused them to have a woman speak their language. The songs were much more pop than the appear on the various discs, largely as a result of the full band. They were good though and I danced my legs right down to the knees even if I was the only one dancing. About 8 songs into the set she dismissed the rest of the band, played a handful of solo numbers and then admitted she was getting a little sleepy so she brought the band back out for another handful of numbers before retiring. It was fairy small and informal and that was nice.

I mentioned the rude table behind me earlier, well they were balanced out by the 40 something couple up front who were embarrassingly polite. At the end of a tune the crowd would applaud and Rebecca would say "thank you". We all know the drill. However this couple would reply "No, thank you!" and follow it with "you're the one up there working so hard" and other bits of praise. At one point she said "What do you want me to play?" and the guy said "Play something that you like to play." Wow! That's like ultra PC there. Wacky and as I mentioned almost embarrassing but still fun to think about and ponder.

Anyway Pepper and I split and headed out to Dunkin' Donuts. I was good and only had a couple but Pepper ate a couple of bagels. Wow that is some will power I don't want to ever have. Afterwards I dropped Pepper off, got lost driving through the KU campus, and finally hit the highway for the ride home.