By Patrick Kelly
I had this brilliant plan all worked out. Friday night in San Francisco. A friend from the East Coast in town. Our plan was to head to two shows in one night. Walking across Death Valley in the middle of the summer this was not. But, for city life, it was a somewhat ambitious plan. Anyways, first, we were to hit up Slim’s to see Fun. at 10pm. Then immediately after that, we planned to catch a short ride to see The Most Serene Republic (at 11pm) and The Annuals (at 12pm) at Bottom of the Hill. At worst we’d miss about 20 minutes of The Most Serene. At best? We’d get all three! Music! Yay! Drinks and concerts and jokes–who could ask for more right? And (assuming you are somewhat familiar with San Francisco) to top it off, the distance between the two venues is relatively nothing, which would make it all the more possible! Not so fast…
My friend and I were, to put it mildly, excited about Fun. We’ve been following the band’s front man, Nate Ruess, since our freshman year in college (where The Format played a show on our dorm’s lawn…COLLEGE!) and each live show has been just as good as the last. I wish I had some more creative way to describe why our enthusiasm was, and continues to be, so high, but the band’s name does it all the same. After an hour and 15 minutes of head-bobbing, foot-stomping, smiling and chorus-yelling (not to mention a lil’ beer drinking), only then did we realize that we’d have to book it to catch the second half of The Most Serene Republic. Not a hard feat, especially considering the fact that Slim’s is located on what seems like a taxi highway (11th and Folsom). Whether you are there at 2pm on a Sunday, 3pm on a Wednesday or 6am on a Friday (been there!) chances are you’ll be able to hail a cab in minutes. Well, we decided to walk the six blocks (my estimate) to find out that it was more like 12. And yup, you guessed it, that pushed us past 11:45, leaving us having time to see exactly zero of The Most Serene Republic. I did, however, get to see them leave the stage. WA! WA! WAAAAA!
While I fumed on a beer, upset that I missed my favorite dreamy pop from The Most Serene I found solace in the fact that I was about the see The Annuals, who at one time seemed like they toured continuously and now seem like they’ve ceased all cross country movement (it might have something to do with a forthcoming LP and the recent release of their new EP, Sweet Sister). The 6-piece (maybe 7….it was getting late?!) North Carolina-bred band did not disappoint. Their sound if you haven’t heard it, is equal parts acoustic guitar, dueling drums, keyboard and bass all brought to a bake by rising rhythms, a great voice (not to mention distinct), talent all around and hopeful/thoughtful lyrics. Let’s just put it this way: if you at all like melodic indie music (and I do!) it’s exactly the band you want to hear at the Bottom of the Hill. The band’s recent LP, Such Fun, served as the meat of the set, though a couple of songs from the new EP got its turn. And thankfully, they played a few of the older songs- most notably the best song of their set, “Brother.”
I’m just saying: the plan was totally legit. I just didn’t really take into account the possibilities of encores and/or drinks. Here’s to planning ahead of time a night of Most Serene and Most Serene alone.