Is there one band you would freely fork out major money to see live in concert? Amber and I like to play this game sometimes in the car. Our list includes the Smiths (i wish), the Verve, and so on. We understand that there is a super slim chance the Smiths will reunite and tour. But, how awesome would it be to see Morrissey, Andy Rourke, Mike Joyce, and Johnny Marr on stage again? That is how I also felt about the most influential band in my life, Black Happy. Unlike the Smiths, Black Happy decided to give it one last go (actually 2 shows only in Spokane and 3 in Seattle) and I forked out the dough to get some small closure with some rock idols of my youth.
Before I describe the show, please visit the band's site http://www.blackhappy.net/ to get an idea of what makes them different. You can find them on iTunes as well. Understand, that while almost unknown to the rest of the country in the early 90's (the grunge era), that Black Happy was one of the most beloved bands in the Northwest. In no exaggeration, their popularity rivaled and often exceeded many of the major label acts that you would recognize that came from the NW during that time. Music blog, Seattle Subsonic, says it brilliantly here (warning, some language). It has been 15 years since they last played together. There was no way I was going to miss this, cuz I know that this is it.
So, yesterday I flew up from my Arizona inferno to see Black Happy play at the Knitting Factory in downtown Spokane. I was joined by my friends Michelle and Bruce Coppess. There were many-a-thirtysomethings waiting to get into the venue. The frequent topic in line was "Am I too old to mosh?". Yes, yes you are.
The three of us spent our time in the balcony during the first too bands. For an energetic band such as Black Happy, there should have been more high tempo bands. But, there were a lot of yawn going around. I can't even remember the names of the acts. Oh well, you didn't miss anything there.
After 2 hours Black Happy finally hit the stage. At this time, I moved down to the floor to join the humanity (and no, I did not mosh). The guys in Black Happy are starting to look like grown ups and no longer the long haired rockers they once were. Paul forgot the words a few times and some sound system kinks required some adjusting, but they gave their heart and soul to us last night. Although Paul did a brilliant job singing, I'm not sure if he really had to. The crowd knew every word to every song. Often he would point the mic to the crowd to soak up the love as we all sang and sang and sang. The highlights for me was when they sang "The Life and Times of...", "3-Day Weekend", "Myself", and especially "Home". All those songs came from the epic "Peghead" album, which is one of my top 3 albums of all time.
This was a cathartic experience for me. Its ironic that I left Coeur d'Alene 15 years ago, the same time that Black Happy split. And since I've been gone, many relationships I had basically no longer exist. It is hard for me to identify myself to that area anymore. Yet, Black Happy's music has always stayed with me, much like my most treasured friendships of my youth. I needed this concert to reconnect me with who I was then and with people and a place that I seemingly abandoned. Black Happy gave me the courage as a teen to be me and not what I thought I should be in comparison to others my age. Through them learned it was possible to rock the casbah and maintain my integrity at the same time. I still carry that with me today.
Like I often say, go check out Black Happy on iTunes, online, etc. Sad to say that unless you saw them this weekend or next, you're not going to see them again. But, you can still hear some of the best music the NW (and specifically Coeur d'Alene) ever produced.
Thanks to Michelle and Bruce for a great 18 hour weekend at "Rancho Be-bop"!