1. Place Your Bet at Slim’s, Nov. 22, 2009. You may not know them--they’re not terribly well-known, and their music isn’t the best either, but the set they played at Slim’s created some weird reaction where everyone in the club suddenly had a hippie epiphany. Between sets by the mopey Raised Threshold and the one by Place Your Bet, there was a bit of subculture warfare. An emo and a jock who clearly didn’t know each other were arguing loudly, and some Rastafarians were being harassed by a metalhead in a leather jacket and earlobes down to his neck. Then Place Your Bet came on. As they progressed into their set, the arguments quieted down, and the Rastas curtly waved the metalhead off. At the very end, their frontman dismissed the rest of the band and took out a single acoustic guitar. Within 3 minutes, half the house was in tears and the other half was waving their cellphones in the air like Zippo lighters. It was like a church. I looked a little to my right and saw the jock and the emo crying into each other’s shoulders.
2. Jonsi at Amoeba, Apr. 17, 2010. I was at Amoeba Records in the Haight to see Jonsi with a few other insiders and musicians I knew. Before the show, we met up with Eva Treadway and Hannah Valente from the local garage-rock band the SHE’s, and my filmmaker friend Ian and I decided to interview them. Ian, some of my bandmates, the writer Gabe Connor and I went over to the edge of Golden Gate Park to interview Eva and Hannah in a quiet spot. We sat in a big circle and were treated to an acoustic performance of “No Can Do.” While we were firing questions, this dreadlocked lady emerged from the bushes and bluntly offered us LSD. I instinctively pointed my camera at her feet, and she threatened to break my face if I posted it. She stared at us for 3 minutes before finally disappearing. After Jonsi finished his excellent set, I saw numerous faces I recognized, and Gabe ran into a friend of his who is also somehow involved with the Rebirth. Everyone knew each other somehow, everyone was happy, and everyone was friendly.
3. Thee Parkside, Jan. 30, 2010. DFR was just setting up. I was across the street to take some pictures of the tiny dive they were playing. All of a sudden, Taija Liscinsky bursted through the door, let out a bloodcurdling shriek, and ran at full speed towards some friends 2 blocks away, arms outstretched and screaming, “You’re back!”
4. The review argument. I had just reviewed a song by a band who wishes to remain anonymous, and one of the band’s members completely misinterpreted the review and started yelling at me on Facebook. What started as a simple argument escalated into a war between six or seven people taking sides or trying to mediate. Many insults were hurled until finally, after a plea from that band’s guitarist, my opponent and I reconciled. We’re on good terms now.
5. The counterprotest at Lowell, January 27, 2010. I’d just come out as gay and was celebrating at a counterprotest against a small protest by the hate group known as the Westboro Baptist Church at Lowell High. It was just like a revival of the ‘60s spirit. People kissed, hugged, held flowers, and painted each other with peace signs. I got to interview five people who were hugging at the same time. And best of all--we sent the Westboro people scurrying back under their slimy rock within ten minutes.