Thursday night 11/15 at Chameleon Club, I treated myself to another night of G. Love and Special Sauce. The opening band, Guerilla Panda Dub Squad, played heartily but briefly. I will keep my eyes open for another area appearance by them. But I don’t miss G at the Chameleon and it’s safe to say the crowd was feeling the same way.
He opened with “Shooting Hoops” from the first album and people went nuts. Then he slipped into “Who’s Got the Weed.” Ten years ago that would have sparked many clouds rising from the dance floor. This time it only brought security with flashlights.
The band played many crowd favorites: “I-76,” “Baby’s Got Sauce,” “Back of the Bus” and of course “Cold Beverage.” G played a nice acoustic version of “Gimme Some Loving.” I didn’t hear any new songs which surprised me. Usually the band tries out a few new ones live before committing them to a new recording. They played from 10:30 to 12:15. That also surprised me as the last time they played Chameleon was a four-hour affair.
Two things at the show went beyond surprise to disappointment. As I worked my way into a spot near the stage, some guy whacked me in the head not once but three times. He was cursing me and asking who I thought I was to just move in front of him. I was actually beside him but that’s not the point. I moved back rather than picking a fight with this guy. I have too much respect for Chameleon to cause trouble there. As I got to the edge of the crowd, who should appear but former club owner and friend of mine Rich Ruoff. I told him what happened and his reply was, “At a G. Love show? What’s the world coming to?” He asked if I was ok and we resumed our grooving but it was very upsetting. If you are the guy who whacked me in the head, reply here and I’ll be glad to meet you on any corner in town.
The other upsetting thing was the distinct lack of an under-21 crowd. When Lemonade was released on iTunes, people downloaded it that month more than any other album. “Booty Call” and “Lemonade” were the singles but people downloaded the whole album. G. Love and Special Sauce never got major radio airplay but they had a committed national following among young adults. Where were they? Did the Fixin’ to Die album with the Avett Brothers scare them off? Was this show marketed wrong?
I suspect this is another symptom of “social mediatus”: confusing virtual reality with reality. No amount of downloaded songs is going to provide you with a concert experience ie real socializing and seeing a band in person. We veteran concert-goers need to get the next generation out there to some shows before venues turn into iPod bars!