I recently had plans to go see Watershed play the Slim’s 30th Anniversary show in Raleigh, NC. The show was a little over four hours from my home in Virginia, so my wife booked us a hotel just three blocks from Slim’s and we had a plan. I have been contributing here on Pencilstorm for over two years now, so I was looking forward to meeting the guys behind it, and finally seeing a band I have followed since 1994. Unfortunately, a family emergency arose and I had to cancel. Nothing I can do about that. But here are nine shows I could (and should) have gone to that I still kick myself about. In chronological order:
U2 – The Bayou, Georgetown, Washington, D.C.
U2 released the album “Boy” in 1980. I was still in high school but I was regularly seeing shows at Georgetown clubs. All ages shows weren’t really a thing back then, but it was easy getting into places. U2 came to the very small Bayou. It was their second show ever in the United States! I could have gone, but I had not heard the record and I wasn’t sure if I would like them. Only a few weeks later I had “I Will Follow” blasting several times a day. Damn, that was stupid.
The Clash – William & Mary Hall, Williamsburg, VA.
In late 1982, The Clash played at the College of William and Mary. I was a couple of hours away at the University of Virginia. Somehow, I didn’t know about the show until the last minute, so me and three friends decided to jump in a car and drive down there. We had no tickets but we were pretty sure we could get some. We headed down Route 29 South. The driver (not me) missed the exit onto Route 64 without realizing it and we just kept driving, almost to Lynchburg. At that point, we were way out of the way, time was running out and we had no tickets, so we just decided to drive back to school and drink a bunch of beer. It was the “Combat Rock” tour, but still… I never saw The Clash. It was my future wife’s very first concert (we had not yet met). She was 16 years old. Damn, that was stupid. Extra stupid.
The Lords of the New Church - The Bayou, Georgetown, Washington, D.C.
I loved the Dead Boys, so when Stiv Bator teamed up with Brian James from The Damned to form the Lords of the New Church, I was all in. I bought the record and loved it. I was away at college in Charlottesville when I saw an ad for upcoming shows at the Bayou (clipping attached to ticket below). I bought a ticket ($5, wow that’s cheap!) and was so psyched for this show. About two days before the show I found myself faced with a massive architecture project due and I had done next to nothing. The project was due the morning after the show. All-nighters followed and I bailed. Damn, that was stupid. I did eventually get to see both the Dead Boys and the Lords of the New Church, so this one is a little less painful. By the way, I never became an architect.
Oasis – WUST Music Hall, Washington, D.C.
My wife and I got three tickets to see an Oasis show at WUST Music Hall. WUST was a radio station before it became a music venue, and then later it became the new 9:30 Club that is still there today. The radio broadcast tower still stands on the roof of the club. Anyway, our friend who had dibs on the third ticket got held up at work. We waited for him. And waited. Finally, we hit the road for the hour and a half drive and got to the club around 9:40. We prayed that they would start late, but as we pulled up, the club was emptying out. Show over. Damn, that was stupid.
Marvelous 3 / Eve 6 – Trax Nightclub, Charlottesville, VA
In the late 90’s, there was a slew of “alternative rock” coming from everywhere. My wife and I went to three of the huge WHFS music festivals at RFK stadium in D.C. DC101 was the radio station of choice. Two of my favorite bands from that particular era were the Marvelous 3 - which was led by musical genius Butch Walker - and Eve 6. They played together one night at Trax in Charlottesville, a mere 45 minutes from my house. I still don’t remember why I didn’t get off my ass and go. Damn, that was stupid.
Watershed – The Pit, Kill Devil Hills, NC
My wife and I used to go to the beach on the Outer Banks of North Carolina two or even three times a year. On one particular trip, we had reached the end of our week-long stay. We packed the car and headed out for the five hour trip home. On the radio comes “Small Doses” by Watershed. The DJ says, “Great band, go see them tonight at The Pit,” (in Kill Devil Hills, NC---the Outer Banks!). I wasn’t even out to the highway yet. I was in town for God sakes. We had dogs to pick up from the kennel, and other stuff to get back to, but we could have made it work. I kept driving. Damn, that was stupid. (editor’s note: Not to make John feel worse, but I roadied that gig, and it was a GREAT show. That WAS stupid. - Ricki C.)
The Damned / The Briefs – Black Cat, Washington, D.C.
I saw The Damned back around the era of The Black Album, but I love The Damned, and I haven’t seen them for a long time. So when Dave Vanian and Captain Sensible got together recently and went on tour, I should have made an effort. I saw they were coming to the Black Cat, and the openers were The Briefs, who make great punk songs, short and fast like the Ramones. After being lazy, whining that it was a Sunday night and not going, I looked up the set list. It was amazing. I should have gone. Damn, that was stupid.
The Biters / Wyldlife / Frankie and the Studs – Voltage Lounge, Philadelphia, PA
The Biters have been pretty much my favorite overall band for about four years. My favorite band changes almost daily, but The Biters keep coming to the forefront. After The Biters, next might be Wyldlife. So when they play together, well you can’t miss that. I mentioned the show to my wife and daughter. It was three and half hours away, and the Philly hotels are damn expensive, but look at this double bill in a small club. YOU. HAVE. TO. PULL. THE. TRIGGER. YOU HAVE TO. I did not. Now The Biters have called it quits. I did see them once. I still haven’t seen Wyldlife. Damn, that was stupid. Really F*cking stupid.
Supersuckers / Upper Crust – The Broadberry, Richmond, VA
I love both of these bands. The Supersuckers are just great ragged punk ‘n’ roll with a little country thrown in. The Upper Crust are from Boston. They play hilarious but excellent rock with a theme and great costumes. I’ve heard it called costume rock, but it’s not goofy at all, it just rocks. One of the members of Upper Crust recently hurt himself and they are on indefinite hiatus. I suspect I may never get to see them play live. This show was in Richmond, an hour and a half away. I was getting up early the next morning to leave for a family vacation. I didn’t want to be tired for the long drive the next day. I did not go. Damn, that was stupid.
Maybe you also have made some bad decisions that haunt you.….feel free to share in the comment section below.
Ricki C. and JCE (John, to his friends & family) first bonded over their shared mutual love of Boston's Finest Sons - The Neighborhoods - and everything extended out from that rock & roll ripple. JCE lives in Culpeper, Virginia with his wife & daughter, and he & Ricki are STILL waiting for the long-rumored NEW Neighborhoods record to be released. Maybe in 2019.