From The Jam at the Great American Music Hall
Rarely do I wish I was older than I already am. In fact, these days, I never make such a wish. However, were I older than my tender 38 years, I would have been older than 10 in 1980. And had been older than 10 in 1980, perhaps I could have been a mod scenester and caught The Jam live while they were still together.
Alas, I was not older than 10 in 1980 (well, except when I turned 11 ten days before the end of the year), and The Jam broke up before I attended my first concert in 1984. That concert, for the record, was The Go-Go's and The Red Rockers at the Greek Theatre in Griffith Park. But this post is not about those bands or that show.
As it stands, I am the age I am, and I never saw The Jam. However, I was able to see a pretty good recreation this week in the form of From The Jam. Or, as I like to call them, Almost The Jam or Sort of The Jam. From The Jam features Jam bass player/singer Bruce Foxton and drummer Rick Buckler, but guitarist/lead vocalist/principal songwriter Paul Weller is notably absent. The Jam without Paul Weller may seem terribly wrong, but I'm not embarrassed to admit that I take what I can get. Besides, I saw Paul Weller at the Warfield in 2005.
So on Tuesday, I met Richard and Eleanor at the Great American Music Hall for a 1980 mod dance party. My friend Tom was there, too, but unfortunately, I never found him. Foxton and Buckler have recruited a keyboard player/rhythm guitarist, as well as a lead guitarist/lead singer to replace Weller. I have to admit, Fake Paul Weller wasn't bad. He did a pretty good imitation, in fact. And it was just so much fun to hear those songs live. I was so happy. Even the obligatory grey haired, middle aged slam dancers didn't bother me during this show. Mostly because they stayed away from me.
I will say I was disappointed that they didn't play "Beat Surrender," my absolute favorite Jam song. But I suppose no show is perfect.
In other news, I have a new favorite place in San Francisco. That would be Coffee Bar in the Mission. I don't even drink coffee, but this is still my new favorite place. Why, you ask? Well, for one thing, you can get hot chocolate at any coffee place; so you needn't drink coffee to enjoy a coffee joint. However, what makes Coffee Bar stand out is that they also have wine and beer. I do drink those. Plus, they feature an array of delicious snacks.
I met Emily at Coffee Bar yesterday afternoon and began with a hot chocolate. An hour or so of chatting later, Emily and I both upgraded to wine. We chose glasses personally recommended by the sommelier, and they were delicious. If all that wasn't enough, they gave us free chocolates and let us sample cupcakes. Super duper yum!!!! The atmosphere is also good, and since Coffee Bar is new, it wasn't overly crowded.
The very best part is that the owners of Coffee Bar have some serious chutzpah. They have opened one block away from a Starbucks. Well, technically, Coffee Bar is across the street from the Starbucks, but their respective entrances are a block apart. As of yesterday, the Starbucks was still busier, but when was the last time you had South African wine at Starbucks? Exactly.
I must say, I highly, highly recommend Coffee Bar. And if you actually like coffee, all the better.
*** Jam photo by Pennie Smith. Coffee Bar photo by Amy L. ***