Tuesday, October 12, 2010
When Isabelle invited me to a Sublime gig as a birthday present, I jumped at the idea. OK, so I hadn’t listened to Sublime for a few years – perhaps since I last smoked pot, but that didn’t matter. I remembered them fondly. They were ska, but stoner ska.
So I drove to London, my vast back catalogue of Sublime CD’s strewn across the passenger seat as I reacquainted myself with the band. Uh-oh. Not as many chilled out stoner songs as I remembered, and quite a few more shouty shout shout. The kind of music that gets all my friends to the mosh pit and me fainting from the heat somewhere near the back.
We arrived at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire and formed an orderly queue. Two queues. One, we were told, was for the seated. The other, our queue, for the standing. The moshers. Us. Me. A fish out of water. An alien in New York. An alien in Shepherd’s Bush.
We got to the front and handed over our tickets. ‘You’re in the wrong queue,’ said the 6ft by 6ft bouncer. ‘You’ve got seated tickets.’
Isabelle and I turned to each other, one of us hiding our disappointment, the other hiding our glee. ‘I’m so sorry!’ said Isabelle. ‘Oh shucks,’ I said, shaking my head in mock misfortune. ‘Nevermind.’
We were still rock and roll. But we were rock and roll with seats. We stood, we danced, but we also had somewhere to put our bags and didn’t get beer thrown on us by the crowds above. Accuse me of fuddy duddyness. I don’t care. I was so comfortable.
From my view point, I found myself mesmerised by one of the bouncers. He was huge and, unlike the others, who had formed a ring of defense along the foot of the stage, this one had positioned himself on stage.
The other bouncers at least got some action – crowd surfers were taken away by their cuffs, screaming girls were handed water. They talked into their ear pieces and perfected the burly and menacing look they’d no doubt practiced in front of the mirror.
But this guy? He seemed to be almost enjoying himself. I swear I saw him nod his head at one point. I’d wager he was even listening to the music. I liked him. The other bouncers looked like jobsworths. This guy I just wanted to cuddle.
Apres the gig, Isabelle and I met up with some friends and, being a smug little thing, I declared that my sister’s nightclub, Ginglik, was just down the road and we were all on the guest list. Probably.
After two more hours dancing and drinking, we called it a night. It was 1.30am and we had to be on form the next day too. We left Ginglik and made our way back to my sister’s flat where we were bunking up for the night.
My sister and her boyfriend, Colin, were in north London at a gig, so Colin had left us his key.
Thirty minutes of jamming the key in the lock later, we had to agree that Colin had given us the wrong key. What to do? It was 2am, we couldn’t get hold of Tammi or Colin, it was a bit cold and we were a bit tired.
‘Right,’ I said, taking affirmative action. ‘There’s a hotel over there. We can sit in the bar and have a nice cup of tea while we wait for someone to help us.’
As we approached, the doorman held his hand out to stop us. ‘You staying here tonight?’ he asked.
‘Yes,’ I said. ‘Room 101.’
He didn’t blink. Just opened the door and guided us through.
As we made our way to the bar, who should I spot but the cuddly bouncer fella – the one who had mesmerised me with his head bobbing policy.
‘Hey, were you on stage with Sublime earlier?’ I asked him, running up to him. ‘I watched you all night!’
‘I sure was, I’m here with the band,’ he says, turning to reveal the lead singer just behind him.
The next two hours went by in a blur. I remember getting my longed-for cuddle with Kimo. That was his name. A bit like mine, but with an O, I told him. 'So now you won’t forget my name will you?' I said. He did.
I remember running up and down the corridors of the hotel trying to locate the Jack Daniels vending machines, telling Rome Ramirez, the lead singer of Sublime, that he shouldn’t have to pay £14 for a miniature bottle of whiskey, and then proceeding to kick the vending machine in the hopes one would just fall into our laps. He loved it. ‘You English girls are crazy!’ he said.
That’s right Rome, you should have seen me earlier when I got a bit tired during your set and had a little sit down.