Thursday, August 24, 2006

My First Lovehammers Concert by Keysunset

Editor's note: We here at Leper Pop don't make a habit of offering space to guest writers. Our primary reason for this is we do not wish to besmudge anybody's good reputation by being seen here. But the event described below was such a special one to most of us in the Leper House community we thought we'd risk ruining Keysunset's good name and post her Lovehammers encounter here. Please do not think badly of her for stooping to our blog level. She is actually quite a wonderful person, and has taken pity on us.

I have been patiently waiting, ok maybe not so patient but waiting nonetheless, for the Lovehammers to plan a tour stop in my backyard. Apparently they were not going for the offer of free lodging (air mattresses and futon in my family room) or free food (How about oven broiled pork chops, boiled corn, fresh sliced tomatoes, and sweet tea? I could even make ‘em a banana puddin’ for dessert!) But I was being denied.

SO, since I do not drive long distances, nor at night, it was the result of some very fancy footwork done by my husband, my niece, and myself, to manage to work out being able to travel to Columbus, OH, to see the Lovehammers Get Live at The Basement under Fat Eddie's Bar last Thursday, August 17.

I had connected with some gals before I arrived in Columbus. My niece, her best friend from high school, and I met the group at the Red Star Tavern in downtown Columbus. Downtown Columbus is going through a revitalization so, contrary to what the name of the establishment might suggest it was a very nice, full service restaurant as well as bar. Besides the .org gals, there were also posters from the Sisterhood of Marty Casey. I don’t post at the SMC but several sisters post at .org. One of the sisters who knows me from .org was at the Red Door. What a hoot! She squealed with excitement when she found out that I was “keysunset” and I squealed in return when I found out who she was! Some of the “girls” had been there long enough to eat and were getting ready to go get in line at The Basement. My trio took up some of the now vacant seats and perused the menu. For you foodies – I had the Chicken Pesto Panini. It came with fries, which I didn’t eat. I drank water. The sandwich was good, light, not very pesto in flavor, but that was ok. I was so excited that I was afraid if I ate anything very heavy I’d end up being sick and that would be sad.

After my group ate, we walked over to the venue and stood in line for the doors to open. I really really really wanted to be near the stage for the concert. I really need not have worried too much. As it turns out, and as I had heard, Lovehammers fans are some of the best people in the world. As the word spread that this would be my “first,” I was assured that come time for the Lovehammers to perform, I would be in the front row. I smiled and said thanks, but in my heart of hearts didn’t really believe it would be so.

The Basement is a long rectangle. You enter through doors near one end of the rectangle. The whole room is open, broken up only by support columns, the bar, “conversation areas” made by sofas and stuffed chairs at tables across from the bar, the stage at one end, and a small alcove with a door leading outside at the other. As you enter you see the stage, beyond a metal railing. You have to turn right to go down to the other end of the railing, turn left to walk down a few steps, and there you are! No seats there, just a human energy pit awaiting the bands. My niece noticed the signage and had to break it to me that there would be no crowd surfing. Oh well. I planted myself as near as I could get to the stage, while my niece and her friend moved back a bit where they could sit at the base of one of the support columns near the railing.

About seven, the warm up acts (yes acts, there were three!) began. They were great! The first one was Curtis Peoples along with another guitarist named “Slim” (Jason "Slim" Gambill). Curtis mentioned that he had met Marty in LA and that Marty had become a good friend. I enjoyed Curtis’ performance. I bought one of his cds (Whisper To A Scream)after the show. A funny – at one point during the show Curtis said that Slim had the coolest hair cut in the business. Slim, who has very long blond hair, had his hair in two braids. In retort, Slim said, “Yeah, beside your David Hasselhoff.” This was indeed, especially from my viewpoint with a spotlight behind his head, what Curtis’ hair looked like.

The next act, Tony Lucca, was extraordinary! He accompanied himself on the guitar and on the keyboard and he had a great voice! The final, and the listed warm-up act, was Joe Firstman and friends. Slim, who had played with the first act, and Tony also played with Joe Firstman. There was also someone who played upright bass and an incredible drummer! Joe played guitar and keyboard and during one of the songs also played drums alongside the drummer! They, too, were really great! The crowd was SO ready to ROCK by the time the Lovehammers came out!

By the time the opening acts were done, I was about three rows back from the stage. However, true to their word, when the stage was set and it was getting close to time for the Lovehammers to come out, one of the Sisters put her hand in the middle of my back and PUSHED me to the front, while others parted to give me a way through. It was surreal. Suddenly I was standing at the railing, maybe two feet from the front edge of the stage! There was another first-timer, a Sister complete with her decorated garter, there and they pushed her up beside me as well. The set list was distributed about the stage and one of the sisters got a photo of it on her cell phone:

This Town
Call of Distress
Ultrasound - Full Song
Sky is Falling
Wish you Were Here
Hold On
Give It Up
Eyes Can't See
Rockin' in the Free World
Straight as an Arrow

Finally, although the opening acts had been so good it didn’t really feel that long, the Lovehammers appeared. Marty came out with a jacket on over his white shirt and (at least to me at the time appeared to be) a black tank top. He had on a pair of blue pants. Not the stripey ones, but he is so pretty I’ll forgive him that. However, it was so HOT inside The Basement that very soon into the concert Marty went offstage and put the jacket away.

Then the concert begins to lose correct chronology for me. Several times they played a song then played right into the next one, so that I can’t remember what things happened exactly when. I had decided in advance that I didn’t want to experience the concert through a camera lens, not this time, though I did hope that I’d see concert photos posted online. Photos were allowed during the concert. I also didn’t want to be trying to take “notes” during the concert. So I totally let the Lovehammers pick me up and take me along for the ride.

That said, here are some of the things that happened to me:

All in all (and not counting standing out on the sidewalk to get inside the venue) I stood (thank goodness for my black princess-style Reeboks!) for over five hours – most of that time screaming or singing.

Marty is a beautiful man, MANIC on stage and I love the way he moves around. Although I did manage to tear my eyes away once in a while to look at Dino, Bobby, or Billy, I spent the vast majority of my concert time staring at Marty.

At some early point of the show Marty said, "Well, we're here in the Basement" at which the crowd yelled even louder than we already had been. Then Marty said, "You're going to have to keep it down. My mother's upstairs!"

Also at the early part of the show, Marty jumped really high straight up in the air (how DOES he do that!) and I swear he hit the top of his head on the ceiling! The ceiling was very low in this venue. He carried on with his performance so I hope all was OK. Later before he jumped he put one hand on a lower part of the ceiling and put his other hand where the ceiling went up slightly and positioned himself to jump where he had more space!

Marty would walk right up to the edge of the stage and put his foot on the padding on top of the rail at the front of the crowd. Since I was at the front, and near the spot where he would walk up, just to my left seemed to be the favored spot for him to put his foot. Then he would bend his knee and lean forward onto his thigh to sing out into the crowd. I cannot begin to count the number of times during the concert that this would happen and I would be inches away from his foot and leg.

Twice during the concert I received the “baptism of Marty” – being hit by dripping sweat as he spun his way through some part of a song or waved his arm out over the crowd. The first time it happened it was just a drop and I actually looked up at the ceiling for a moment in confusion before I realized what it was. The second time it happened was more of a spray of droplets. It still surprised me, but I knew what it was then.

Somewhere in the concert after Marty shed the white shirt, and leaned forward on his thigh to sing, he put his arms straight outward to the sides. When I looked up at him, and that armpit just within reach, I really did think how tempting it would be to tickle him. But I restrained myself.

There are those who say that “Bobby is hot.” I’m still a Marty girl, but Bobby was SMOKIN’ hot on the drums! Fantastic! I really enjoyed Billy’s performance as well – his “Rockin in the Free World” was really cool.

And Dino! So cute. At some point during "The Riddle," I think when they sang "... there has to be something more to the middle ..." I had managed to drag my eyes off Marty (I hadn't had MY eye-f**k yet, so I was pretty much staring at him constantly .... ) and looked at Dino. During that phrase Dino, very cutely, did a whole body shrug -- up on his feet a bit, shoulders up, eyebrows up, elbows out a bit. Sort of Charlie Chaplin-esque. It made me smile!

During “Trees,” Marty came over and was staring at the first-timer beside me. I was staring at Marty’s face. When he got to “combination for DISASTER” he looked at ME for “disaster” with that wide blue eye (my vision is such that I tend to look at one eye or the other, not both at once) and in that pause just after “disaster” lifted his eyebrow to open that eye just slightly larger. The whole time, I realize afterward, I have been slowly breathing IN and slowly leaning farther and farther backward, so that if it had not been for the Sister behind me when Marty moved on to the next face in the crowd, I might have fallen over backward. Yet, even though I was leaning backward, I felt like I was falling into a blue pool of lovely delight! When Marty did move on, both the first-time Sister beside me and myself looked at each other like “was that what I think it was” and the Sister behind us said “You girls have been truly eye-f**ked!”

Then, since Marty had in effect made the first moves – singing to me, sharing sweat, doing that eye-thing – the next time he put his foot on the rail I did finally touch his leg, just the ankle and a little above, but the thought that passed through my mind was “this material is sort of coarse” and “his leg is very skinny, he needs to eat.”

I did wait for the Meet and Greet, which since I was at the front of the crowd for the concert meant I was at the back of the line for the M&G. By the time I was getting close to the band, we were being rushed a bit. In addition, they were NOT allowing any photos in the M&G. So my plans of having niece just take a casual photo of Marty and I was thwarted.

After I got past the merchandise table, you turned a slight left into the alcove at the back of the venue. The Lovehammers were sitting on bar stools behind a tall table, which effectively meant I was practically standing on tiptoe to be able to be seen. Maybe not quite that bad, but close.

My niece and her friend took my MC&LH and MOMM cd liners through the line for me, ahead of me.

Dino was first at the table. As I walked up, I said, “I know you hear it all the time, but you guys were fantastic.” He said, “I never hear it enough.” So I said, “Well you were fantastic, wonderful …” “More,” he said, “tell me more.” “I had heard how great you guys were live and this is my first concert. It was true,” I said. I mentioned someone from the .org board and he made a compliment and a sweet smile at her name. Someone barked “Move it along” so I made an apologetic smile at Dino and then it was Marty.

My mind went to mush. I think we shook hands. He asked me my name. Then I said, “I have something for you.” I gave him the photo of my child with the signed poster received as the prize for the "Rain on the Brain" video. Marty gave a big smile at that. Then I said, "I know you guys didn't write this song, but I hear that you sing it sometimes, so I was hoping you'd sign a copy of the lyrics for me" and passed him the copy of Alan I printed from Leper House. I wish y'all could have seen his expression. Priceless! :-D He did sign it, though he asked me if that was his copy and why didn't I bring him a copy. I did feel bad about that. :-( I didn't think of that! He said, "I want the Lovehammers to cover Alan"! And then he started singing while drumming on the table with his fingers, "Alan, whatever happened to Alan." I've not heard StivOO sing it, so I can't compare, but it sounded pretty fine coming from Marty!

Then I had to move along. We were being really rushed by then, and my head was all a-buzz, so I’m afraid I shorted Bobby and Billy with my comments and compliments. I’m sure they understand. One of the comments I did hear that Billy made to someone who went through the line ahead of me was, “Small venue. Good crowd.”

We went on outside. A group of us loitered a bit hoping the band would come out before we had to move on. I had decided to go ahead and give Marty the lyrics he had wanted, but it was not to be.

Finally, really feeling dead on my feet and floating on a cloud at the same time, I told niece and her friend I was ready to go.

Back at the in-laws, my niece said it was a great concert and "won't it be DA BOMB when they come to our town!" as we were collapsing onto the sofa bed.

Except for a little of Rockstar:INXS, which niece didn’t watch regularly as I did, this was her first exposure to Marty and definitely to the Lovehammers as a whole band. Her friend had never heard of them at all before. So, when niece and her friend went out together on Saturday, I sent along my Marty Casey & Lovehammers and my Murder On My Mind cds. They were able to listen to Marty Casey & Lovehammers and niece’s friend said she likes Trees and The Riddle very much. (Which, besides Marty singing on Rockstar:INXS, are the two songs that initially hooked me!) Since her criteria for buying a cd is if she likes at least two of the songs, she’ll buy the cd, she is planning a trip to Borders to use a gift card to purchase it. I hope she does.

I’m sure I’ve forgotten things, put some things out of order, probably gotten some things just plain WRONG. I enjoyed myself immensely, though I have some regrets about things I couldn’t do or didn’t do. Overall, I was very satisfied with my Lovehammers concert experience, and I can hardly wait to do it again!


bibi said...

Hey, Keysunset -- and Leperpop guys -- Thanks for sharing the fun with us. Really happy for you and your family that you got to experience all this. They are pretty amazing. I saw them open for that other group (you know the one) at the Warner Theater in February. I was stuck in the balcony but was still thrilled as **** when LHs came out and started doing their terrific thing. It's smart too to experience your first without taking two tons of pictures and "taking notes" as you put it. Good on ya.

Brooklyn Girl said...

It's great to see this review over here. There are tons of similar reviews over at, along with some terrific "official" press.

I saw them four times on this tour, and was blown away each time. I love the snark on this board re. this year's RS, but there will be no snark from me when writing about Marty and the Lovehammers. If you get a chance, even if it means driving for a couple of hours, GO SEE THESE GUYS!

kristy said...

What a wonderful surprise! You couldn't have picked a better guest blogger. I loved reading about every detail Key, it was just like I was there enjoying your smile and happiness at seeing such an amazing band.

I laughed at this:
"He had on a pair of blue pants. Not the stripey ones, but he is so pretty I’ll forgive him that"

Love those pants too : )

HR said...

YEA KEY!!! I loved reading it again! Oh how I wish someone took a picture of you...

Not even some good-natured ribbing, Brooklyn Girl? I simply cannot resist.

leplov said...

Fabulous guest blog, guys!


I love that one of your first thoughts when touching your Marty was how skinny his leg was! Someone needs to send them a plate-o-shrimp I'm thinkin'.

So, so happy for you!

keysunset said...

oooh, I'm floating even higher on my dream cloud, friends! First, I go to my first ever Lovehammers concert! Then my Leper brothers set me up for my first EVER blog post!

Life is good. :-D

p.s. and what can I say, I have a "thing" about food ...

Leper Hopeful said...

I second the other comments - especially Kristy's.
Yay Key!!!

del said...

Yeah Key! I can't think of anyone who deserves it more... both the excellent first concert and first blog! Lots of cherries popping for you lately, girl!

AMAI said...

WOW, Key!! What a lovely surprise. Your description of the entire event was wonderful and so worthy of a guest blog spot!

Hurrah for you!

Elated said...

Wow, I almost felt like I was there! Nicely done...

I really need to see these guys. Sounds like the energy is incredible. Thanks so much for posting this. Now I need to check the tour dates.

LL said...

Oh Lolly, I'm so happy you got eye-f**ked :)
Sounds like you had a blast!!

Anonymous said...

Keysunset, I was at that show too and it ROCKED!!! Thank you for saying how nice all the fans are-- I have been to 12 this year and meet the best people there! What an amazing first show for you.
Marty is the king of the eye***k! There is nothing like it when he gets in your face!

Mr. Keysunset said...

Glad I could wrangle a way to get you to the concert. Thanks for the report!

keysunset said...

Thank you everyone for your comments.

Thanks especially to Mr. Keysunset and to my niece. Without their efforts I wouldn't have been able to attend.