29 Apr 2011

The Union Hall: A pathetic venue for a high calibre (or any) show

My father-in-law offered to buy tickets to Mix Master Mike (of Beastie Boys fame) and Travis Barker (of Blink-182 fame). Strange that he knew about the show, and I didn't.

Yes! Where? The Union. Oh?! I used to do handbills for a bar that was there in a past life.

I am a fan of Beastie Boys. Their instrumental albums--The Mix-Up, The In Sound From Way Out!, in particular. But no one can deny that their musicianship, including mixing, on their more popular albums are genius.

Blink-182. I have no idea. Well, I otherwise would have been embarrassed to say that I listened to anything Blink-182. How Travis Barker started there and ended here, I have no idea. But he made a good career move.

The show went like this.

MMM and Travis Barker were to take the stage at 11:00 p.m. We arrived 10:15-ish to get a good standing spot and a couple of pre-show drinks--Molson only, sick. There was a beer tub girl, bartendresses asking for your order in sultry tone, and a well endowed, though very short, shooter girl with alien sparkles in her cleavage, but I didn't notice. She asked me if we were with Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission after I bought two shots of her sugary piss water served in plastic.

11:30 rolls around. Shows always run late. OK. Good kids all around. A couple more drinks. Someone from the Union woke up a couple of speaker dancers at home and asked them to come in for a set to keep the crowd entertained, which they weren't. The sound guy was MIA. Do drums really take an hour to set up? Alien sparkle breasts passed by two or three more times.


My cigarettes, wallet, and our patience started running very thin. Good conversation, fortunately. We started inventing excuses for the late, late start. Loud mouth on the speakers kept asking if we were ready. Yeah, an hour ago, jack ass.

The show was almost ninety minutes late, and we were in the worst bar in Edmonton drinking the worst beer for two and a half hours. Had the show started a minute later, we would have split. Father-in-law had to work, and I was to attend my daughter's mass at 9:15 the next morning.

Aside from not enjoying the first ten minutes--until the piss off wore off--the next twenty was a show worthy of any place other than this one. That, and the crowd was either ready for bed or had been served Rohypnol by the bar to avoid a mass riot.

The show was thirty minutes. We left stunned. I have never been to a show where the headliners played for only thirty minutes. We invented reasons why the show was only thirty minutes.

Across town, I stopped in to grab a late night snack before heading home. Two mildly drunk, chatty young women were waiting for their food. I asked where they were enjoying themselves. A Lil Wayne concert at Rexall. They asked where I was. I sneered, the Union. MMM and Travis Barker.

It was shortly after that I learned that Travis Barker also played with Lil Wayne the same evening.

I could have been mad that Travis Barker ditched us at the Union Hall, but I wasn't. If I were a rock star, would I rather play in a shit hole or to a stadium? It's a no brainer.

I got home and sat down to eat my sandwich just in time for the start of CBC's Wills & Kate.

My daughter played bells at mass the next morning. The priest was dull. And I was glad not to be at the Union.

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