Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Clarks - May 5, 2005

I only had the pleasure of seeing The Clarks live once (so far). If you include the time I saw their acoustic counterparts, The Dick Clarks, live at Nick’s Fat City in Pittsburgh, then technically it’s twice. The Dick Clarks, for those keeping score at home, are two-fourths of The Clarks, performing acoustically, playing stripped down versions of The Clarks bests songs.

Maxwell’s, a small, somewhat famous club in Hoboken, New Jersey was the setting where I would see the band perform. Maxwell’s has a small performance area located in a room separate from the bar that holds only hundreds (if that much). Think of it is a miniature version of your favorite club. What that meant was I would be real close to the band without even trying. That was a good thing. The downside to that was going to be the volume. I had a feeling that I wasn’t going to be able to hear for a couple of days afterward. The sacrifice we make for our love of music.

The Clarks were supporting their greatest hits package, Between Now and Then, that had just been released. This was grand, because it meant my first Clarks show was going to be chock full of hits. Although, The Clarks are so good that even their deep cuts are hits to me. That’s the beauty of the band; they are the story of “Little Engine That Could.” They are the band that keeps grinding it out and making more and more fans along the way.

Club shows are late shows and small shows that bring a lot of pleasure to the music fan. The differences between a huge arena performance and a small little club show are vast. Club shows really bring that intimate atmosphere, and it’s pretty cool to watch a band set up and break down their own equipment. It helps to alleviate some of the notions that these guys are larger than life. While they are exceptional musicians, The Clarks are just four hard working guys who have been doing what they love for 20 years. Not many people can claim that.

The band took to the stage, which barely fit them and all of their equipment, and launched into their brand new single Bona Fide. An excellent way to start the night, Bona Fide is an incredible song and it was magnificent hearing it live. That launched the evening and the band took off from there.

I was standing no more than 20 feet away from the band and cold see everything from the beads of sweat on their forehead, to the cracks on the wall behind drummer. It was a different concert experience. The Clarks were amazing that evening. Penny On The Floor, Snowman, Cigarette, Apartment Song, Hey You, Gypsy Lounge, all were played and more. Song after song after song sounded so beautiful that I didn’t want the night to end. Lead singer Scott Blasey’s voice was strong on that hot summer’s night and the rest of the band was in perfect harmony with him as they plowed through the hits.

Even though they were playing to a small crowd hours from their Pittsburgh hometown, the band gave their all and that’s what makes them so great. Whether it’s 100 or 10,000, The Clarks give everything they’ve got for every performance. Numbers do not matter to them, it’s the fact that there are fans in front of them wanting to see a great show, that’s what this band cares about.

No bombs, no explosions, no special effects, barely any lighting, this night was all about the music. The bar band blues and rockers exploded from this little foursome for just over an hour and a half. They satisfied everyone in the room with an exceptional evening of fun. At the end of the night, I was smiling like I hadn’t in a long time. The Clarks brought the fun in music and entertainment and made me forget about everything else that was bothering me in life. For those 90 minutes, I got to escape with the band and enjoy myself, knowing nothing but the songs that were being played. The Clarks made that time, our time, leave your worries at the door, come in and have a good time. We did just that, thanks to the hardest working band in rock and roll.

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