It’s a given that when you go to South St, you’re going to be bombarded with countless fliers to see someone’s shitty band in a creepy bar in a bad neighborhood. It’s part of the South St experiance, just like giggling at the names of the porn dvds in Condom Kingdom and getting a crappy 4 dollar slice of pizza. This particular time, however, the flier actually caught my attention. Bright yellow, just like all the others. Big, bold typeface…nothing special there….so why did I pay attention to this one? What caught my eye? It was a familiar quote, although one not often seen in print these days. “I Don’t Think So, Tim” it read. Five simple words that we’ve all heard countless times, and have probably recited countless more. I had been in the right place at the right time, and actually paid a little attention to a flier that someone gave me. And it changed my life.
I DON’T THINK SO, TIM – America’s Number One All Home Improvement HardxCore band. Friday Night 9pm @ The Hidden Tract $12 21+
That was it. About 20 words on an annoyingly bright yellow quarter sheet of paper. A band that plays ALL Home Improvement? And a hard core band? This has to be a joke (and to be honest, I’m not really sure if it is or not…). But even if it were to turn out to be a bad joke, or just an AWEFUL band (and come one, this one really has potential to be sucktastic) I really don’t think we could have passed this one up.
So Friday night rolls around and Michelle and I saddle up and head out to West Philly to a dumpy little place like the ones referenced above. The Hidden Tract is sort of like the North Star, but….crappier. If the First Unitarian Church basement had a bar and was smaller, it would sort of make this place (make it look even crappier, somehow…but that’s alright). But we weren’t there for their friendly service or fine cuisine, we were there to see the coolest concept (at least on paper) that I think I’ve ever heard of for a novelty band (although to be honest, by the end of the show, I don’t really think these guys consider themselves novelty at all…more on that in a bit).
Ok, so let’s get to it. The lights dim, and the bartender introduces them to a small but dedicated crowd. With no further conversation or introduction, the stage lights explode on to 5 performers, backs turned, and in one of those “yep, I knew it…” moments, I realized even turned around, that the dude who would reveal himself was wearing dress pants, a shirt and tie, and most importantly, a toolbelt (run on sentence, or the COOLEST run on sentence ever?). They turn around and burst into their first song, and while it was a little bit hard to understand what the singer was trying to say (it WAS hard core being played in a shit hole bar), I could make out the chorus, which was a sort of demonic chant of “MARK-BRAD-RAN-DY.”
Man, hearing that I almost completely lost it until I realized that the singer, I’ll call him Tim, sang it with the same passion that I’ve seen in countless other frontmen, from Church Basement to E-Center Tweeter Center Susquehana Bank Center. This guy meant business (or he was REALLY good at faking it). One song in, but I was a fairly impressed. These guys were fairly polished for what they were…Have you ever seen Paint it Black at the Church? Or Bane? These guys were no Bane or Paint it Black, in terms of polish or anything, but they were a solid Atom and His Package. A little awkward, a little weird, but very entertaining. They had Al playing bass, a Heidi with a tambourine (I’m assuming it was a girlfriend), Brad and Mark playing guitar, and, my favorite, a guy with a fishing cap and vest hiding behind the drums. That’s right. They have their own Wilson.
So they kept the mid-song banter to a minimum, no cheesy jokes or anything, which sort of leads me to think that they’re a little more serious about this than people realize. And that’s probably my favorite part of the whole thing. These guys really mean it, and they’re not ashamed to let you know that. So would I seem them again? Sure, if it were convenient. I probably wouldn’t go TOTALLY out of my way to seem ‘em again, but if it were at a decent place on a free night, I could definitely see myself there. Who knows, maybe they’ll have the same success as Tim Allen some day (the whole…having the number one book, TV show and movie in America success, not the whole…drugs and drinking thing…).
So if you get the chance, should you miss an opportunity to find out more about this band? I don’t think so, Tim…