A Bows & Arrows farewell

Midway through the band's set, Matt Leonardo of Boats! commanded everyone to do the wave.

The crowd looked only slightly amused—this was a punk show, not a baseball game.

“As in, wave goodbye to Bows & Arrows.”

Oh. Right.

So we all joined in on the silly tradition—twice—just hours before Bows & Arrows closed its doors forever last Friday night. (OK, not really forever: There was a less official last day of business on Saturday—a 10-hour Nerd Night extravaganza.)

Nonetheless, it seemed like a strange combo: four punk bands putting on the farewell party for a collective known for vintage clothing, fine art, and its lush, peaceful patio. The sound didn't quite match the visuals. And the mosh pit that broke out during Charles Albright's set seemed extra unnecessary, what with all the framed photos and water glasses around.

But maybe the whole night felt strange because it was so hard to believe Bows & Arrows was really closing.

The woman who served my Berryessa Brewing Co.'s saison looked sad, and indeed, I saw few smiles behind the bar all evening. It probably didn't help that most young adults in attendance purchased cans of Miller High Life instead of helping the venue get rid of its finer bottles. Duchesse de Bourgogne, for example, was discounted from $9 to $6.

The line for beer stayed steady, as the garden remained full throughout the evening. Conversations in the bathroom line usually went like this: “Do you know why they're closing?” “Do you know what could possible take over this giant space?” “Did you ever actually buy anything here?”

It may not be too late to support the venue: the Bows website (www.bowscollective.com) hints at a new shop opening in May, though we don't know if it'll be just a shop or another shop-cafe-bar-venue.

Let's talk about the music instead. Boats! blasted through its set of two-minute loud-and-fast songs, as expected, and with plenty of comedy.

“This is a song about smoking, which you should never, ever do,” Leonardo stated, leading into a song titled “Smoking Is Cool.”

Boats! drummer Adam Jennings switched to a glittery guitar for a couple of songs with his new band Shoju Kitten, a cutesy, anime-inspired punk outfit. For the miniset, members assumed ridiculous names like Soda Pop and Cream Puff, and the singer played a keytar with a lavender, faux-fur strap. There were light-pink go-go boots with fluffy, white pom-poms; uneven pony tails; and mismatched tights.

Definitely a band to keep in mind, if only for the fashion inspiration.

Charles Albright continued the momentum with a speedy set of post-punk, and the Four Eyes closed out the show with nerdy songs about RoboCop, salt, and rock ’n’ roll martians. They played slow, drawn-out covers of Beatles songs, and talked about teaching a seminar on “how to clear a room” just as the room did, indeed, begin to clear. Ultimately, it was a strange, anticlimactic end to what could have been a glorious send-off. Awkward jokes ended in silence, such as this one: “Hey, thank you for supporting this place all these years and keeping it open.”

Too soon, Four Eyes. Too soon.