Black Eyed Snakes Exorcise Crowd

Andrew Olson

Reader Weekly

The Black Eyed Snakes played for a large crowd at Pizza Luce’ this past Saturday night after debuting a few videos and performing at the Zinema 2.

Black Eyed Snakes are fronted by local phenom Alan Sparhawk and combine classic blues with a penchant for an exorcism of classic styles. At Luce’ the crowd exploded when the band took the stage and they were all thoroughly entertained, living off of the energy of each other and the band.

I haven’t written about a local band in some time, and I don’t get out as much as I used to a few years ago when that scene was my beat. After the show I felt like Danny Glover in the Lethal Weapon movies with his trademarked line, “I’m getting to old for this s#!t.”

Ever since my trip to see Jack White’s The Dead Weather I have referred to rude people from Denver as “douches”. While watching the crowd at Luce’ I was reminded that we still have plenty of them right here in our own city. They also could be called tools, but no word could describe the deplorable actions that some guys took.

The Black Eyed Snakes rocked the house and their music is second to none. Having a band of that caliber play locally makes me wonder why more people don’t rate them as the best band in Duluth. After all, they are TBT with balls!

Sparhawk is possessed on stage and when he flies up from his chair he looks up as if to receive confirmation from the gods. His energy and skills remind me of Jack White, who we also discussed after the show. Sparhawk was amazed, like I was, at the film It Might Get Loud and we talked about the movie. The band is also well rounded out by Justin Sparhawk, Brad Nelson, and Bob Olson.

The crowd was what really surprised me the most as it has been about a year since I attended a show at Luce’ into the wee hours. I have become more of a brunch/happy hour person and I usually just get frustrated when I see that Luce’ is having a band I want to see (and everyone else does too). This is because I know that it will be really tough to meander around the small venue and it will be over packed. I hate that we don’t even have the Nor Shore for large shows anymore (although I saw plenty of PBR at Luce’). I would really like to see TBT with White Iron Band on Halloween if it was at a larger venue, but I am not going to squeeze into Luce’… Like Glover said, “I’m getting to old for this s#!t.”

Let me say this though, for Black Eyed Snakes at Luce’ on Saturday there was never a problem getting served (maybe because they weren’t taking cards at the bar) and I really enjoyed the show at the venue. The crowd though was filled with plenty of toolness…

First off, I grabbed a spot off a bit to the side behind some shorter girls up front. This was a good choice and made sure that I wasn’t smushed into everyone around me… At least until the music started. The first tool of the night was a guy who asked if he could ask one of the girls in front of me a quick question. Now, I have had plenty of girls do this at a concert, but this was the first time a guy did it. So I let him… All 6 foot 5 inches of him… And then he stayed there. Everyone around me gave a collective groan as now no one could see a damn thing around this dude. The woman next to me even told the guy off a bit, to which he gave the typical tool response and stood his ground.

Finally, after about 3 songs he left!

The next tool moment came when the crowd began to push and mosh. I thought people were twirlers at Black Eyed Snakes and TBT shows, not slam-dancing shovers. It didn’t bother me to stand there and let the mass push against me, after all, I had just survived some of the largest clubs out West and never lost any ground. So I was ok holding back the crowd, but then I saw something that made me sick. This guy was getting pushed a bit by the crowd, so he turns and pushes two girls as hard as he can and they fall over on the ground. Even the biggest douche in Denver would have thought this was pretty sickening watching a late-twenties guy push a girl to the ground.

Before I decided that I needed a drink, and seeing all this really wasn’t worth it as the show was about to end, there was the gratuitous body (crowd surfer) being passed, but I just didn’t feel like it. So one tip to any one who expects me to carry them: avoid me. After all, I’m too old for this s#!t.

My last question about this crowd was about who gets to decide the person that gets to dance on the table by the doorway to the bar? My other thought was if it was really worth it moving closer to the stage if you have to shove everyone?

To answer this let me explain the last weirdo moment I had. There was a couple next to me and the girl really wanted to get in front of me to be closer to the stage. She would lean and push on me hoping to get a few inches closer. This has happened often at shows, but it was really strange when her boyfriend was grinding on my back to shove his way in. I never like feeling another guy’s body against my back dancing as they are trying to overtake my spot. If that is the price of 3rd row you can have it! Which eventually the couple did, to which they smiled and basked in their minor accomplishment.

When I used to go with my wife to see Hydrophonics at the Red Carpet in Saint Cloud that band always had these girls who were my size that I nicknamed the “purse girls”… I called them this because they constantly would use their purses to keep people away. You never knew when you would get smacked by a knockoff Chanel that was clutched under their arm and strategically would sway back and forth. My wife would often have me hold her front row spot (which I really hated as I am not a huge fan of Hydro) while she ran to the bathroom. I was often smacked by the purses as they spread out, defending their territory, but I never lost the spot. Even in the front row at Lollapalooza with 150,000 people behind me pushing I never saw anything nearing the sickening behavior displayed by a few local douches.

So was the show good? Of course! How about the crowd? Most people were extremely cool and everyone enjoyed what they were seeing on stage. Can’t let a few bad apples ruin the whole night. Black Eyed Snakes still have it, and they only get better with age.