Sound to Summer: The Journey Begins in Southern California

Originally posted at SFCritic

After years of slinging drinks (and probably drinking more than I ‘slang’), then working in publishing and journalism (almost always about marijuana… I am the expert on getting drunk and high), I decided I could never work for anyone else, EVER AGAIN. I fell into some time and money (which are usually both in very short supply), quit my job and decided to see the Great United States, just like the original San Francisco Hipster, Jack Kerouac. Along my epic travels I plan to write about the strangers I shouldn’t really be talking to, the concerts I attend, and the escapades I get myself into.

The Journey Begins

Back Street Boy and New Kids of the Block

The beginning of my summer tour across the United States brought me to the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA. I somehow managed free box seats (and a snuggie!) to watch two prolific bands play side by side: NKOTBSB.

What’s that you say? I got butterflies in my stomach as my ticket was scanned and our box seats were unlocked. Let the screaming begin! The first song was a magical trip down memory lane: The Right Stuff.

If you haven’t quite figured it out yet, NKOTBSB is New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys (or New Kids on the Backstreet Boys… slightly intergenerational homoerotica if you will…). At first the kitsch was nothing short of incredible. But then it was everything long of depressing.

Who was depressing me more, us or them? On one hand, the audience is no longer comprised of screaming, hormone surged little girls, instead it is comprised of screaming 20s to middle aged women desperately trying to relive their childhood. On the other hand… are BSB and the NKOTSB broke or are they just trying to relive THEIR childhoods? This was middle-aged man crotch grabbing and six-pack flashing girlie-porn arena-porn awkwardness at an extreme level. Was this a concert or a really loud group therapy session? I don’t know, thank god for earplugs, a snuggie, and the big fluffy leather couches in the box seat.

In a complete 180, the following evening in Los Angeles, I found myself in a shuttle bus working its way up the hill to the Playboy Mansion where I would be seeing a live performance by Fishbone… except I was sitting right up next to them in the bus while my good friend and editor at West Coast Cannabis spent the ride and conversation with the lead singer trying to determine where exactly they got fucked up together in San Francisco. The answer wasn’t quite determined, but one thing that was agreed upon, they all like weed, a lot.

Then we arrived at the Playboy Mansion. Where did they find this place, inside a box of Cracker Jack? In my naïveté I assumed “mansion” meant the place would be big.

In true LA fashion, there was a red carpet in front of the driveway where everyone from Hal Sparks to Ron Jeremy (man that guy crashes every good party…) showed up and posed in front of the Marijuana Policy Project logos.

In the backyard cockatoos, peacocks and albino peacocks roamed the grounds (the flamingos, spider monkeys and exotic lizards were caged). Fishbone lit up the hot LA night so weirdly and delightfully I almost forgot I was in LA, surrounded by LA people.

So somehow in two nights I managed to—for free—get the most incredible seats to two of the most different shows I could possibly imagine… and I still haven’t left the state yet.

Next Stop: St. Louis, Missouri.

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