Sunday, March 9, 2008

Paranoids @ The Bike Kitchen, SF

On the night that my band made its live debut, we played with an excellent band called the Paranoids, featuring my co-worker Elliott on the drums. The Paranoids are the real deal: a tight art-rock act out of the garage-glam genre. Of all the bands I played with during my year-and-a-half of gigs in and around San Francisco -- and there were a lot -- the Paranoids were the best by a fair margin.

Last night I headed into the Mission to catch them playing at a venue called The Bike Kitchen. Now, I'd never heard of this "venue" before, and I was definitely curious about the name, so imagine my surprise when I turn down the alley on Laskie Street and encounter a gaggle of hipsters loitering outside a bike-repair shop. Sure enough, the night's lineup of bands was being featured in a funky little co-op garage where people pay a membership fee to get access to bike-repair equipment. Talk about "underground scene."

(As an aside: I've got a certain passion for tiny little businesses that defy convention, and The Bike Kitchen is definitely one of those. What a perfect service for the city's famous army of bike couriers -- not to mention the exploding population of bicyclists taking over the Mission as it gentrifies. Elliott and I were talking on this subject before his band went on, and he told me about a friend of his who's running a profitable business organizing Double Dutch lessons for afterschool programs. I mean, are you kidding me? How awesome is that?)

The Paranoids' performance was great as usual -- there were around 30 people there for the show, crammed into every possible crevice of the place. I startled their guitarist Lennon by singing along to the one song of theirs that I know the lyrics to -- he noticed me mouthing the words and actually did a double-take while he played. It may have been the first time in the history of the Paranoids that the guy observed a total stranger singing along amongst the audience. Good laugh.

Elliott is a neat guy and was never anything but encouraging about my own modest musical effort, so he's the star of this post: that's him slamming the skins in the pic.

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