Reverberations from the past
Touch of gray: Tommy Stinson was 13 when he started playing bass in the Replacements. Or maybe he was 12. It doesn’t really matter—that was a million years ago. After decades that have included drunken performances, time with Guns N’ Roses and a recent ’Mats reunion, Stinson is back on the road with his own band.
Bash & Pop played Harlow’s Restaurant & Nightclub on Friday and, though attendance was disappointing, enthusiasm was high, both in the crowd and onstage. Even with his age-weathered face, Stinson is still wiry and boyish. Now 50, the musician led the four-piece through a tight set that included selections from Bash & Pop’s new album, Anything Could Happen, as well as its 1993 record Friday Night Is Killing Me. There was also a slew of covers.
“We’re gonna try a couple of things tonight, because we wanna,” Stinson told the crowd before launching into loose takes on “The Kids Are Alright” and “Midnight Rambler” (the shortest version of the Rolling Stones jam ever, one observer noted). Throughout, Stinson swigged whiskey (bussed in from the crowd) and made rock ’n’ roll small talk. “We might be getting the hell out of town tonight because our hotel is really sketch,” he said, leaving those in attendance to puzzle over whether he meant the really sketch place on Alhambra Boulevard or in Midtown. Turns out it was neither, but rather a really sketch place on the outskirts of town.
After, Stinson sold merch as a mohawked guy from one of the opening bands tried to score coke from someone, anyone. No one obliged. “It’s not the ’90s,” someone noted dryly. “Yeah, well I’m not 90,” he shot back, sourly.
Finally, Stinson, tired from shilling records and posing for photos, had had enough. “You’ve got to get me out of here,” he told a cohort. Rock ’n’ roll may never die but, in its 50s, does get a little crankier.
Psychedelic EDM: It was a hometown extravaganza for Hippie Sabotage.
The crowd erupted when brothers Kevin and Jeff Saurer took the stage at Ace of Spades. It’s no wonder—the duo has been making waves in the EDM scene all over the country. On March 2, they waxed nostalgic about their days growing up in Sacramento, and the crowd ate it up.
So high was the enthusiasm, the brothers prolonged their spoken intro for several minutes before playing a note of music. Kevin wandered in the audience, passing a joint around to eager fans while Jeff hyped up the show from the stage: “If you’ve never been to one of our shows—I like dancing, I like screaming, I like jumping …”
Once they started, so did the colorful beaming lights and crazy video monitors, which played chaotic video jump-cuts and spiraling neon shapes. I’d never considered the connection between ’60s underground subcultures and modern-day electronic dance music. But seeing Hippie Sabotage with tie-dye shirts, dazzling flashing colors, gleeful drug use and overall reckless abandon, it was clear that the line between the eras was much thinner than I’d previously realized.
The brothers have been making beats for more than a decade. In the early days they produced for rappers over at Sound Cap Audio right here in Sacramento. They’ve since enjoyed success on the Billboard charts with their original songs.
The audience, largely under 25, thrived on the inherent chaos of the show. Jeff and Kevin were more like carnival barkers than band members, hopping around, spraying water on the crowd and periodically stirring them into a frenzy, repeating: “I don’t give a fuck, I don’t give a fuck, I don’t give a fuck …”
They closed the evening by once again connecting to the ’60s with a song called “Bob Dylan.” They invited the crowd to fill the stage. Every person on stage sang along to the chorus, and I wondered how much they knew about the man whose name they chanted. Certainly they were feeling his spirit.