Honor your inner hesher

Some music fans prefer their entertainment served up in coffeehouses.

Now, coffee is good, and desserts are nice, and folk music is gosh-darned swell. Truth be told, I’ve sat in my share of rooms, hushed in such reverence that you could hear a guitar pick drop as a waif-like figure onstage fumbled his or her way through rudimentary chord changes and put poetry to song. There is often a fragile beauty to those undertakings, in which musicianship is secondary to emotional expression, so the mind of the listener must fill in the musical blanks the way a confabulating senior citizen fills in the details of half-forgotten experiences.

But sometimes that simply won’t do. Some of us have an inner hesher. (Definition, found at www.urbandictionary.com: “Long-haired, usually mulleted person who listens and rocks out to metal or thrash music. Generally seen wearing acid-washed jeans, leather motorcycle or denim jacket covered with band and skull patches. Will often have a molester mustache.”) A hesher is the kind of savage beast that will not be mollified by sitting quietly in a room packed with static listeners who are hanging on every carefully chosen word, every whispered syllable and every discomforting silence. It’s the kind of beast that would rather heckle said folksinger, bounce off a few walls and maybe stumble outside for a breather or a smoke.

And I don’t even smoke. I gave that vice up back in the 20th century.

But I still like loud, cheesy rock, the kind that the Oasis Ballroom at the corner of 20th and I streets used to serve up before it got shut down—a space now occupied by an advertising production company, which houses the Sacramento Rock & Roll Museum, and a hair salon. And for the kind of “let’s do the time warp” rawk that the Oasis booked, you’ve gotta go suburban. Deeply suburban, as in the Boardwalk, at 9426 Greenback Lane in Orangevale, and the Roadhouse, at 1336 Bell Avenue in Robla.

Both joints have Web sites. One, www.boardwalkrocks.com, makes this curious statement: “The Boardwalk also presents memorable shows from bands like Megadeth, Saliva, Oleander, Tesla, Jefferson Starship, Great White, John Entwistle …” Now, it’s generally accepted that Entwistle assumed room temperature sometime back, and the local fire marshal might have a problem with Great White, but the rest of the lineup looks significantly non-folkie. As for the other club, the opening page to www.roadhouserocks.com mentions “the terrible tragedy in Rhode Island,” and lists three upcoming tribute bands: Kiss (May 3), “early” Van Halen (May 17) and AC/DC (May 31). For those about to rawk, we salute you.