Clem Snide + John Vanderslice + Short StackCity: Washington, DC
Venue: Black Cat
Driving, driving, driving. Listening to music and driving. Driving, driving, missing the exit off I-495 and driving. You'd think there'd be more signage for such an exit. Next exit, turn around, back on the interstate. Driving, laughing about error, driving, missing the exit. Again. Missing the exit again. Laughter subsiding, anger rising, taking next exit for same road in different direction. Driving through four lights, seven lights, ferocious U-Turn on the ninth light. Back in the game. Driving, laughing again, driving, missing the next exit. Swearing. Hitting dashboard instruments and steering wheel, chain-smoking, swearing, swearing, driving. Fuck. Turn around. Looking for left turn. Anywhere, a left turn. Driving, driving, not talking, driving. An army of dangling signs, 30 yards apart, all apparently championing death for any fool who dares to make a left turn. Driving, fucking driving, smoking, driving. Making a second ferocious U-Turn at the same intersection. Driving, in the same spot twice for the second time in 20 minutes, driving. This is what happens when you're lost, stoned and late for a concert.
Driving, bewilderment, dark, dark streets in D.C. The right road. The right turn. The correct turn. The Black Cat. The fucking Black Cat. Finally.
But an arrival is an arrival, regardless of how late. And rather unsurprisingly at this somewhat delayed arrival, there wasn't much left of John Vanderslice to vander see. At just past 10pm, a full hour and half past schedule for a 40-minute drive, there was no sign of the man. Instead, after a ridiculous amount of instrument tinkering and general dawdling, the audience was treated to a musically accomplished but generally bland, repetitive, lingering set by Short Stack, whose two guitarists (one slide, both seated), bass player (a d-e-a-d ringer for the Son of Sam), and drummer (. . . he was good . . .) would've sounded most at home as the bar band in a background scene of Blue Velvet. Or maybe