In The Vicinity of Les Claypool

Les ClaypoolVictoria and I headed downtown last night, having pretty much made up our minds that we were going to see Les Claypool at Jannus Landing. I’d never heard of the opening act, Matisyahu, and could have cared less that we got there after he was already playing. When we arrived there were still tickets for sale, so we decided to walk up the street and have a drink while we waited. We had a good time sitting at the bar at Bishop’s Tavern and talking. It was really nice. Well, until we settled the tab. $20 for two beers and two glasses of wine? That seemed a bit high for a bar that was essentially deserted.
Anyway, we wandered back down to Jannus Landing. Unfortunately, when we came back, I noticed that the ticket booth had been shuttered. I rather ignored that implication, and Victoria and I stood out in the courtyard and listened to Matisyahu a bit. My take on him? He’s nice enough, but it’s nothing I haven’t heard before. The same ingredients, mixed a little differently. I’m not sure why people are so breathless about him. My take on him is that if it wasn’t for the novelty of him being a Hassidic Jew rapping, I know that he would be so compelling. Of course, people are desperately searching for anything positive these days that they may be latching onto him for that.
We decided to go next door to the Pelican Pub to have another beer. It was fun hanging out there. The crowd was light-hearted and fun. I made a minor splash at the bar by asking if they had Old Heathen beer, which a couple of patrons asked us about. We got a beer and a glass of wine for $6, which made us feel like we’d found our spot. We enjoyed standing around and talking, although I felt guilty because as usual our conversation consisted mostly of me talking about the various things I want to do artistically. I wish I could learn to shut off my brain sometimes and just enjoy being somewhere. Of the whole night, though, the most fun I had was just standing around in that bar, drinking a Bass ale and talking to Victoria.
Afterward, we went back over to the courtyard because we thought Les Claypool was starting up. That’s when it finally sank in that the show was sold out, and we weren’t going to be going in after all. Left with little recourse, we sat down outside and listened to the show cranking up. He opened up with Rumble of The Diesel. I can’t recall what came next, but we sat out there for awhile. I was mystified because the whole we sat there people were leaving. I kept thinking that it was kinda wrong that these folks didn’t want to be there (fans of Matisyahu, maybe?), while there were people like us out there who couldn’t get in but would love to be watching the show. By the time Claypool started playing Primus’ Southbound Pachyderm, I was starting to get a little down about the whole thing. It was probably watching people leave that did it for me. The longer we sat out there, the more pathetic it seemed, to be sitting out there like street urchins wishing we could get in. I finally suggested that we leave. I was in a funk by that point. It was only the last fifteen minutes or so that got me. I had already resigned myself that we weren’t going to get to see Les Claypool, because we couldn’t afford it. After suddenly realizing we were going to go see him after all, getting so close and not getting in just seemed wrong somehow. I could hear the Universe laughing at me. I didn’t really get out of my funk until we were home and I was gnawing on a Burger King cheeseburger
However it sounds, I had a good time. If nothing else, I got to get out of the house with the woman I love, drink a few cold beers (I’m developing a taste for Bass ale), enjoy great conversation, and soak up the general ambiance of the Jannus Landing block in downtown Saint Petersburg (which is I think is one of the coolest areas in all of Florida). And although things didn’t quite work out the way I wanted them to, I got to hang out in the vicinity of Les Claypool. In a way, it was nice to hear Claypool’s bass riffs thumping out over the streets of Saint Petersburg. That in itself was something of a surreal treat.

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