Sunday night was the 6th annual Hot Stove Cool Music concert at the Paradise, and this was a particularly excellent edition. Pat and I got there extra early thanks to the availability of parking spaces on Comm Ave in front of the FitRec center, and so we were able not only to see Milchelle and Angie in line but to snag spaces right up front. Mike O'Malley emceed, as usual, and brought Theo out to introduce the first band (Theo: "And I'd like to welcome--[covers mike] It's Furvis, right? [uncovers mike]--Furvis!"). They were quite good. Nada Surf were excellent, and I need to track down a couple of their records now. Mike Gent from the Gentlemen always makes me think of either a missing Davies brother or at least the leader of a mythical 60's band, and so I have to forgive him for going from a hand-clap song start into the "Giant Glass" commercial theme. (I'm not forgiving him for the "99" theme, though.) I'm not that into Juliana Hatfield but will thank her for bringing Lenny DiNardo up to play guitar. Kay Hanley was a lot of fun. Buffalo Tom--er, Buffalo Theo!--made me pine for our beloved GM. I would have preferred to see Bronson Arroyo play acoustic, as he did at the Fenway show last July, but didn't mind seeing him wrap things up with a band (and some improvised lyrics about JD!), either.
What I really love about the Hot Stove concerts is that they merge my love for the Red Sox with my love for music--and that I'm not the only one! It's hard to see anyone associated with the team who doesn't look as though he's thinking he'd really just as soon be a musician. It's amazing to see a guy getting paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to throw a ball looking sidelong at Bill Janovitz and clearly thinking, this is so cool.
The auctions are always way out of my reach. There were some nice ticket packages, and a visit to a taping at ESPN with Peter Gammons where he promised to say some off-the record things. ;) I actually bid in the $2800 range on the gorilla suit in which Theo escaped Fenway on Halloween. (It was a free bid, basically--there was no way it was going that low!) Mike O'Malley called on Jonathan Papelbon to run the auction, and he was incredible: confident and self-assured, with an astonishing piercing gaze as he urged each bidder on.
And of course, to me the most surreal moment is always the set by the Peter Gammons All-Stars. Gammons, Bill Janovitz, Mike Gent, Ed Valauskas, and Pete Caldes rocking through "Death or Glory"? Adding the Red Sox bullpen (Arroyo, DiNardo, Papelbon and Hansen) on backup vocals for Warren Zevon's "Model Citizen"? Wrapping the whole thing up with "It's Only Rock and Roll"?
And it is. It's only baseball. It's only rock and roll. But I LIKE it!
Couple of photos by Brita Meng Outzen, which I feel better about linking to since we had to make room for her to take them! (I didn't bring my own camera--I find that when I take photos at live shows I stop listening. But had I thought about the decent light and photo ops between sets, and the likely presence of young Mr. Hansen, I might have reconsidered!)
Theo in the gorilla suit.
Papelbon urging the bidding higher.
Hansen and Papelbon. I could look at these guys all day...