An apology apropos for a hater

J. Tillman slams the gong and gets to stay onstage for nearly two gorgeous hours.

J. Tillman slams the gong and gets to stay onstage for nearly two gorgeous hours.

Photo By SHOKA

Show of the week: Local folk-rock four piece Two Sheds’ Johnny Gutenberger shot me a memo last week about what will be stunna’ night at Old Ironsides (1901 10th Street) Wednesday, September 2 (9 p.m., $8).

Two Sheds will headline. I asked Johnny what’s up with the band; my last encounter was chasing them across Austin, Texas, to no avail, at South by Southwest. And things have been poppin’: Rusty Miller toured with Jason Lytle; James Finch Jr. put out a solo album; and Caitlin Gutenberger’s “working hard on her newfound passion, gardening,” according to Johnny, who’s been playing with his old group Far “from time to time.”

Los Angeles-based Everest will open for Two Sheds, passing through Sac on their way to Seattle’s Bumbershoot festival. They’ve also been on the road with Neil Young for the past year. It’s hard to believe Everest’s album Ghost Notes, which came out last summer, is already a year old—because it sounds like it’s 40 years old, straight outta 1969, harkening back to one of my favorite Young albums, sophomore release Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (see Ghost’s opener, “Rebels in the Roses,” for poppier proof in the pudding). (Nick Miller)

A formal apology to J. Tillman: Dear Josh: It’s a long way from Seattle to Sacramento, so thanks for stopping at the Blue Lamp last Saturday, because, to understate it, your set was amazing. But only the 40 or so people in attendance know this, and that’s why I owe you an apology on behalf of Sacramento. I fear you won’t return, solo or even with Fleet Foxes, because we weren’t there for you. And that’d be tragic, because as good as your music sounds recorded, with a full band—including your brother Zach, who seriously looked like Westley from The Princess Bride with that ’stache—it’s unbelievable live.

All the feedback issues you had to endure: I’m sorry. And I know you’re not a stripper, so when some dude threw money at you while onstage, you of course tossed the bills (which weren’t $1 bills, yo) back and continued to rock out. But the same dude returned later and asked for “change for a 20,” warning you he’d be back again before dropping a 10, heading to the ATM and finally flinging several 20s on stage as well! I also apologize for this, although it was amusing.

Thanks for taking it all in stride, for wailing on a gong, for playing what felt like a lovely forever (nearly two hours). And lastly, I’m sorry I didn’t buy a CD from you at the time. I’m making amends today. Sincerely … (Shoka)

Warped thoughts: When the Vans Warped Tour began, it was a modest event. The original idea was to combine extreme sports with the music that the cult-like followers of those activities enjoyed. Bands like Deftones, Blink 182, 311, Dick Dale and Lagwagon were among the musical acts that played those first years. In addition, professional skateboarders, BMXers and rollerbladers were invited to perform on the tour.

My first Warped Tour experience was in 1999, when the tour was in full force. Ska and punk were at the peak of their popularity, and my friends and I only wanted to get into a mosh pit, create damage and be damaged.

This year, the professional skaters and BMX bikers were nowhere to be found, but the halfpipe was still present, amateurs showing off in the pros’ absence. Bands like 3oh!3, All Time Low, I Set My Friends on Fire, and Escape the Fate were some of the hundred or so groups at the Sacramento stop. Kids dressed in skintight outfits littered with neon and T-shirts with bold letters resembled the old “Frankie says relax” shirts you used to see back in the ’80s. What really seemed to be popular are these colorful, square, plastic sunglasses. And Warped must also be a huge money-maker for hair stylists across the country. I have never seen so much product in all my life.

“Back when the tour first started, what was popular then was pop punk,” explained Chris Demakes, singer and guitarist of Less Than Jake. “If you had Lagwagon, Strung Out and No Use for a Name on this tour—no disrespect to those aforementioned bands—you wouldn’t have anybody here.” (John Phillips)

Hater, grump: Local metal act the Grumpy has a longstanding bond with the editorial staff here at SN&R. Reporter Cosmo Garvin wrote a piece on its former guitarist, who was held up at gunpoint and had his ax stolen in 2007 (“Rockers vs. robbers,” SN&R News, June 21, 2007). Kel Munger has a special relationship with the band’s former publicist and I, too, have a unique rapport with Grumpy’s current flack.

Anyway, said persistent press rep has been up in my Kool-Aid for months trying to get real estate in these pages; I’d neglected to do so until now, when after my morning coffee I felt compelled to take an objective and unbiased look at Grumpy’s MySpace page.

The band’s most popular MySpace song, “Change,” is a rock-metal anthem with frenetic drums; distorted, palm-mute heavy guitars; haphazard pentatonic soloing; and what are actually some killer drum fills—basically all the makings of derivative modern prog-rock, including vocals by Cameron West, who sounds Layne Staley and Scorpions’ Klaus Meine, but without the Alice in Chains frontman’s impressive range or talent, and with a bizarre nasal fortitude that must be a unique byproduct of Sac’s allergy season. Gesundheit; you’re welcome. Visit for upcoming shows. (N.M.)