Editor’s Note: Today we’re continuing our crossover series with The Larryville Hipster on our favorite shows at Lawrence venues over the years. We’ve swapped stories about The Bottleneck and most recently Liberty Hall. This week, we’re discussing The Taproom. Here’s The Larryville Hipster’s account of his favorite show there. You can find ours over on his site here.These days I’m generally far too old and grumpy to linger at the Taproom late enough for a show (and way too old for the dance parties that the Tap is just as known for these days), but I’ve certainly seen some good gigs there in the past. I always liked the feel of waiting around upstairs for a show to begin, sometimes waiting right through the opening act, and then descending into the basement for a sweaty bout of rock and roll. And some of you aging scenesters certainly remember what Taproom shows were like before the smoking ban. Your eyes might water the rest of the night and your clothes might be nearly irreparably smoke-infused. You had to be tough for those shows. You had to WANT that rock and roll.
My favorite Taproom memory is the night in 2007 when Ghosty played a whole evening of Big Star tunes (it was billed, I think, as “Ghosty as Big Star”). I’ve seen a lot of “tribute” shows over the years in Larryville. Some of them were sloppy and under-rehearsed (I won’t name names here, on such a celebratory blog!). Some of them were terrific (the Dead Girls playing the Adventureland soundtrack at the Replay on Halloween). But this show was probably the best synthesis of a band and their chosen artist.Ghosty has been one of my favorite local acts since my early days in Larryville, and their penchant for pretty pop songs melded perfectly into Big Star’s beautifully crafted and seemingly simple lyrics of young love (“Won’t you let me walk you home from school”) and youthful aimlessness ( “Hanging out, down the street, the same old thing we did last week.”) As much as I like Ghosty, their own songs can occasionally feel a bit…detached. Playing Big Star forced some raw emotion to the forefront. And of course Big Star itself was an inspired choice. Any LFK hipster worth his or her PBR knows all about the Pixies and Pavement, but loving the much-earlier band Big Star is a step beyond, and this show was well before Alex Chilton’s death in 2010 which likely caused younger scenesters to discover the greatness. If you were at this show, you were already a fan, and you were ready to sing along to “Back of a Car” at the top of your lungs: “Sitting in the back of a car, music so loud can’t tell a thing.” Thanks for the rock and roll memories, Taproom and Ghosty!
by Richard (and Chip)