I have this weird association in my brain. OK, I have many, but only one that's relevant today, wherein I connect Green Apple Quick Step with Green Day. I know, I know, they sound nothing alike. But that's why it's a weird association, and not just a normal one.
Indirectly, of course, this is because they both start with "Green." More specifically, though, this put them right next to each other in my brother's occasionally alphabetized CD collection, and right around eye level in middle school, as he was indoctrinating me into the world of '90s alternative rock.
It was an incredibly formative period. It would be another few years before I discovered classic rock - around the same time that Marco Collins left KNDD and they started playing Limp Bizkit, not so coincidentally - so it was this CD collection, with the help of a radio tuned eternally to 107.7 FM, which turned me into a rocker, through and through.
I always imagined shows with these bands to be raucous club things, full of sweat and shouting and passionate fans thrashing about with the bands. And by the time I finally got out to a genuine club show, I certainly wasn't disappointed. Of course, that was GWAR, so it's a different animal.
Anyway, armed with this long-held expectation, I found myself mildly disappointed by my first live Green Apple Quick Step experience at Hell's Kitchen on Friday night. I suppose it's just because everyone is older now, band and fan alike. Looking around the club, it is clear that the audience is the same one who piled into clubs in the mid-90s.
Aged, cracked GAQS T-shirts were rescued from the depths of closets and hampers. Everyone was happy to be there, and everyone was excited to see Ty Willman and Co. one more time. But no one seemed as excited as I expected. Well, no one but my favorite patron of them all, Hell's Kitchen Air Guitarist Guy - last spotted at the Otherwise show back in February.
Willman and the band put on a solid show. Not the kind of madcap flailing that The Jet City Fix laid down in the opening set, but stocked with, an energetic frontman, a tight and driving rhythm section - DISCLOSURE BOMB: current GAQS drummer Geoff Reading writes the Wednesday Reading column here at the Volcano - and the songs everyone recognized from this music video or that movie soundtrack.
I guess that's what bothered me. Any other band, whether touring on a new album or breaking out for a long-awaited reunion, has those one or two songs that drive the crowd nuts. The song everyone wants to hear, and gets every last mosher off their ass.
That didn't happen. Closing number "Los Vargos: should have done it, and didn't. The people who were rocking out all night kept rocking, and the people who were standing still kept standing. The show ended, and everyone left. It was a night, and an audience, filled with too much "clap clap clap" and not enough "HELL YEAH WHOOOOOO."
I know Tacoma has the hell yeah whoo crowds. I've seen them, and been in them. But this one couldn't even be talked enough to call for an encore by a very encouraging sound guy on the PA, who clearly wanted to see some more show. I waited outside among the smokers for a few minutes just in case, but all I saw was everyone leaving.
The whole thing, that lack of spark to the crowd, soured my experience on what should have been an awesome night with a fun band. So, sorry Green Apple Quick Step. And Tacoma, you should rock harder. I know you can.