Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Rollins Band @ 9:30 Club

Not going to lie, I've been counting down the days to see good ol' Uncle Hank perform for the past couple of months. I've actually been yearning for an opportunity to see Rollins perform (Spoken Word tour not included) since Ryno and I caught him in 2003 at Seattle's Showbox. It was an experience I will never forget. One that cannot be described in words, or conveyed through pictures. You've either seen him perform live - preferrably a few feet away - or you haven't. Most. Intense. Performer. Ever. As proven last night, the man has not missed a beat. Some thoughts on last night's show, accompanied with some classic Rollins quotes and pics I took.

The first thing I noticed when Rollins took center stage, in his tradional uniform of absolutely nothing except for a pair of black athletic shorts with black spandex underneath, was how incredibly ripped he has been able to stay in his older years. I'm talking...ripped. Aside from his gray hair and the addition of perhaps .5% bodyfat, he looked in his prime...
“Keep your blood clean, your body lean, and your mind sharp.”

The second thing I noticed is that everybody in the band rolled in bare feet, Cloud Cult style. And that Rollins' tattoos were, well, even cooler 8 feet away then they are on the poster circa 1983 I keep in my office...
“Scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue. Realize the strength, move on.”

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, Rollins is fucking insane...
"Want a good body? Work at it. Want to be a success? Work at it. Want to be truly exceptional? Be a touch insane...You need a little bit of insanity to do great things."

Rollins does the whole spit/spray thing better than all in my opinion. He does it using his own sweat, sometimes licking it off of his body, which earns mad style points compared to the likes of HHH and his reliance on bottled water. When Rollins does consume bottled water for his antics, he shoots it through his nose in classic snot-rocket fashion. Can't really find a fitting quote here so I'll just add an old favorite...
"I think about the meaning of pain. Pain is personal. It really belongs to the one feeling it. Probably the only thing that is your own. I like mine."

"Liar" was by far both the crowd mover and the crowd pleaser. The song slows down into a jazzy swagger, lyrics are warm and soft spoken, and for at least one song the focus goes to the band and their musical talent. You see the crowd move their heads, shuffle their feet, and close their eyes - everybody's heartbeat slows down for the first time all night. Until, ENTER HENRY FUCKING ROLLINS! This emotional rollercoaster is the equivalent of drawing a red-marker dot on your chest cavity and slamming a giant syringe of adrenaline Pulp Fiction-style into it. The crowd erupts, screaming the chorus in unison (unlike the sound of doves crying)...
“Sometimes the truth hurts. And sometimes it feels real good.”

Rollins' performance on stage was nearly flawless - quite impressive in his older years. He manuevers himself like a predator ready to attack and kill, in his gladiator's arena consisting of 4 center speakers, all facing inwards (no earplugs for Henry of course). For whatever reason, everytime he does his little routine with the bobbing head, pelvic thrust, side-swagger, and acrobatic lean-over, it reminds me of the those mean-ass velociraptors from Jurassic Park. You know, when they break out, but temporaly pause and do their little swagger with the cameras zoomed in before they go out on the town. Kind of wierd; sorry. But if you read his T-Shirts (I was the proud owner of the only long-sleeved one I saw there; call me old school) he is PART ANIMAL. PART MACHINE. Anyway, despite his impressive performance, he did slightly trip over his mic cord once during his set...
“Half of life is fucking up the other half is dealing with it.”

There was only one 'spoken word' segment to Rollins' set, inserted either after the first four songs or the second four songs. He said something along the lines of 'There are people here in this city (DC) who are getting very overweight...they sit at their supper tables in their homes, while they send young Americans off to get slaughtered...they say their blessings, with their children safely eating at their table, getting fatter..." I can't even come close to restating what came out of his mouth. All I know is that is was incredibly well said, Rollins is a huge supporter of the troops and frequently volunteers with the USO to speak to Soldiers deployed in OIF/OEF, and Jesus did this fire up the crowd...adding even more fuel to a 311 Rollins fire that was blazing inside of the 9:30...
“Nothing Brings People together more, then mutual hatred”

Random note by me: See a Grown Man Cry...Now Watch Him Die is one of my favorite books, if not my all-time fave. Now I know what those of you who are familiar with this book are thinking, and you are damn wrong! I don't claim this book to be my life story or my bible, and I don't claim to be able to relate to most of the stuff he writes about. On the flip-side, reading his shit makes you realize that you never have it as bad as you think you do. Think you've had a bad day? A bad life? 'Hahaha' says Rollins through his sinister yet beautifully crafted words...
“If I lose the light of the sun, I will write by candlelight, moonlight, no light. If I lose paper and ink, I will write in blood on forgotten walls. I will write always. I will capture nights all over the world and bring them to you.”

Before posting the set list, a final Rollins quote...one that shows even this machine has a little soft in him, you know, underneath all of that scar tissue...
“They say true love only comes around once and you have to hold out and be strong until then. I have been waiting. I have been searching. I am a man under the moon, walking the streets of earth until dawn. There's got to be someone for me. It's not too much to ask. Just someone to be with. Someone to love. Someone to give everything to. Someone.”

Set List:
"Low S/O"
"All I Want"
"Volume 4"
"You Didn't Need"


Hot Sauce said...

What about X's set?

TOP said...

Unfortunately, I did not stick around for X. The emotional drain of dealing with a suicidal employee all day combined with the emotional high of the Rollins set left me feeling completely drained, yet still completely fulfilled. I'm not sure how many did the same, but I threw in the towel and headed straight home.

InMyTree said...

I was not the suicidal employee. But, it gets close, on a regular basis.

Anonymous said...

I just caught Rollins Band last night in NYC. You got it dead on man. Super intense, and the band was in top shape.
The crowd was real riled up too. I saw some dude get punched in the head real hard. I haven't been to a show like that in a while. There were a lot of people in the crowd over 40 to balance things out though.