Amoebapalooza San Francisco is a swinging success!

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, June 25, 2008 12:13pm | Post a Comment
Employees Kelly and Sean share their hazy impressions of another year's sonic bedlam!

As you may already know, here in San Francisco we recently celebrated the uproarious madness that we like to call Amoebapalooza! Here are two first-hand accounts of the controlled chaos that is Amoebapalooza SF!

First, we hear from Miss Kelly Sweeney:

Every spring, say around March or so, ideas begin buzzing around inside the heads of Amoeba’s staff. These inklings and urges are born of a question: What should I do, or rather, who can I be at Amoebapalooza this year? Could it be that this is the year that your dream Thin Lizzy cover band enables you to live your classic rock fantasy on stage for fifteen minutes? Is it finally time for you to rediscover your inner Buddy Guy, Stevie Nicks, or Michael McDonald? Everyone’s whisperin’ Fleetwood Mac -- will it happen? Whether you’re of the impression that Amoebapalooza is nothing but a glorified talent show or, conversely, that it’s perfect conduit through which Amoebites can shed some of their geekdom while gaining an odd sort of street cred, one cannot look past the fact that when it comes to “office parties” Amoebapalooza celebrates the uniqueness of the people that daily breathe life into the overall experience of one of the world’s best record stores.

This year’s Amoebapalooza hosted a motley lineup of acts featuring employees and friends of Amoeba SF. Tributes to our fellow employee and cherished friend Anthony Marin punctuated the playful atmosphere of the evening, with everyone expressing their reverence and grief in gestures, dedications and in some cases bizarre shout-outs; the love we feel for Big Ant was very much a part of the celebration.

Given the ever-widening parameters of my enhanced state on the night of Amoebapalooza, I caught as much of the total show as I could before all my borders blurred into a wash of memory loss. That being the case, I shall offer the best of my impressions of Amoebapalooza 2008 by concentrating them into a top ten list. (Listed in no particular order, as there can be no best of Amoebapalooza when one of the players is yourself.)

1. Proxy Music - This group, comprised mostly of employees of Berkeley’s Amoeba plus SF’s own John Garcia, totally blew me away. Playing Roxy Music covers from the first two albums and spurring me to dance my ass off, literally (means I’m still looking for my ass, okay people?), Proxy Music rocked my world.

2. Wittle Lings actually happening. This was my own pet project: a Little Wings cover band that almost canceled a few days before the date of the show. Thanks to the guitar-savvy DJ Gilmore, I was able to get this baby on the stage and rockin'. Though we had a limited time to prepare for our performance we managed to pull off a full set of the rockin'est Little Wings covers ever, the highlight being the song "What Button."

3. Louder Than Bombs, the all-girl acapella Smiths cover chorus. Six lovely ladies, myself included, ohhed and ahhed through a small program of woe and Wildeian jams. Many have said that this was their favorite act of the evening. For my part, this act was the easiest, most pleasing performance to be a part of. The only thing that would have utterly completed the sisterly feeling I get when I think on our practices and performance is if we all had a sleep over/slumber party afterwards. We all got rip-roaring to’ up from the flo’ up instead. Oh well, girls will be girls.

4. The Blue Demon Three - Ben Tutttle’s fast and furious surf-rock trio. Boy, did the panties come off for this one! Those thongs can really fly far.

5. Douglas Pagan - I’m not sure how he does it, but the man’s amazing-- like Mr. Wizard at the controls with a killer voice and curious on-stage persona. Wish I had seen more of his act. Seeing the last half of it only wet my whistle and left me wanting. Here’s hoping for his performance next year.

6. The absence of Stevil and Josh Pollack, Amoeba SF’s M.V.P. veterans. If these two genii had been available this year there would have been twice as many acts. Again, high hopes for next year’s show.

7. Brainbombs - The closest we came to seeing the much missed In-Securities this year. Plus, it wouldn’t be Amoebapalooza without a healthy dollop of punk rock.

8. Weldschmertz - What does it mean? In terms of sound, it could mean cellos do Hallowe’en or the death of a tall ship. This act was deliciously creepy and, sorry to say, out of season. (I prefer Autumn to Summer mostly for my cello listening.)

9. The upright bass stylings of cashier Zack. WOW! Brandishing a cape as well. Through a blurred memory I remember dancing two-step, singing along to Hank Williams, laughing at Tuttle again, and generally having the most fun. Zack: hardly know him, would like to know him more.

10. The Velvet Doodle, or, the act I ruined -- don’t ask. Something about the repetition of the phrase, “Covered in sperm!” The details are shamefully foggy. All I know is that I wanted to be on stage with my good friend Gabe Wheeler so strongly that I didn’t hold back. That’s right, I crashed the final act of the night, or so I understand. I hope the footage burns.

There are other sundry impressions that make the evening more precious for me in more ways than one, but I’ll save those for the personal files. Really folks, Amoebapalooza is the shizz. Some of the strongest bonds between my coworkers are formed and strengthened by this event. Hopefully trust will never be broken by it. I forgive you Arvel, I am so glad to know you Marc W. and R.W. -- what can I say, I’m sorry. Casting an eye forward to next year all I can say is: don’t dream it, Amoebites, be it.

And second, we hear from Co-emcee for the evening, the illustrious Sean Murphy:

Amoebapalooza-- no other night runs the gamut from joyous to excruciating quite like this one.

Amoebapalooza-- a cavalcade of whimsy, a bacchanal of sonic delights, an excuse to get shit-faced right in front of yr b
oss. Hosting (oops, I'd better amend that to co-hosting before Audra does something unpleasant to me with a riding crop!)... Co-hosting this year's Amoebapalooza San Francisco was a total blast! 

This year, the acts ranged in style from acapella choral arrangements of classics by the Smiths to whatever the hell that was that Gabe Wheeler did (I still can't explain it).

One of my personal favorites was the group Proxy Music (clever, clever) featuring John "Tolstoy" Garcia on guitar, and Marc Weinstein on the drums. Early Roxy Music is one of my all-time faves, and these guys did it up right! 

Doug Pagan gave a farewell performance that featured a Stevie Wonder-esque acapella passage, and some interesting keyboard work, and Lance, Ben W., Dereck D., and Connell totally brought about rock n roll destruction as Brainbombs.

The Little Wings cover band Wittle Lings was a delight, with an adorably drunken Kelly Sweeney rolling around the stage with complete abandon, barely being held down to earth by the adept musicianship of DJ Gilmore and Ben Tuttle. Speaking of the legend that is the Tuts, Holy Cow!! My man played drums in like 8 bands that night!

All in all it was an awesome night, and the best part was they gave me my own microphone!