Had the lights down low, glass of (non-masticated) wine nearby, my 11-and-a-half’s up on the ottoman. Electric candles, lit. Laptop, open. “Is everybody in?” I thought, shaking my head at the moldy, distinctly ’60s-ish melodrama. “The ceremony is about to begin.”
Drama-filled texts from Mom, Bro, and Sis? *sets phone to DND* New episode of Black Bird? Later, babe. FBI raid of twice-impeached, disgraced former U.S. president?! Raincheck. Sorry, but quite possibly my favorite band of all time is on now. Well, a tribute to them is. Call me the crawlin’ king snake / And I rule my Fort Worth den!
It was a Saturday night, and I was about to take in a concert by The Odors, the only Doors cover band I know of in North Texas. They were livestreaming from MASS. Since my wife and I live 20 minutes from town and have a demanding 10-year-old (sweet as heck, but c’mon, little dude — do we have to do all your thinking for you?), my humble little setup was going to have to pass for the Hollywood Bowl circa 1968 tonight. It had been years, literally, since I had done anything for myself that didn’t involve sweat, and even that hasn’t been doing anything for me but for the people who depend on me. I was not going to miss this G.D. show. I dug my whimsical pizza-socked feet deeper into my footstool.
And what a kickass show it was, 34 songs long, and if you know The Doors as well as I do, every tune is a slice of pure pop brilliance. The only track I never needed to hear again is “Alabama Song,” but The Odors made it as palatable as a sweating rocks glass of Uncle Nearest 1856. Pretty much every rendering was delicious, and while I would say I appreciated the deep cuts, they’re all A-sides to me.
Backed by guitarist Chris Holt, Richard Zemcik and “Big Mike” Michael Richardson both on bass and keyb’s, and drummer Eric Hicks, who held everything together expertly, El Hicks did a great job matching Jim Morrison’s porterhouse steak of a voice, and if you squinted at the screen at some moments, you could be tricked into thinking, “Yeah, El could be Jim circa 1995,” a slightly graying, longish-haired, bearded, shoeless shaman who no longer writhes on the stage floor or pretends to suck off the guitarist during a solo or relieves himself into the first row. Just a talented man there to give the simply beautiful rock music (that’s right) the respect it deserves.
The Facebook stream was delightful, with only two or three hiccups. It was the next best thing to actually being at the Near Southside venue.
The last time I saw a Doors tribute act was in the late ’90s at a nightclub back in my crappy Rust Belt hometown. Rosebud or The Rosebud or whatever it was called was super-douchey, but everyone back then was super-douchey, self with tight T-shirts and hair so spiky it could impale a MFer included. The show was kind of a religious experience for me. I had worshipped at the altar of the Lizard King since senior year in high school, when that greatest hits cassette tape somehow found its way into every Buick Century, Ford Bronco, and diesel Mercedes-Benz in Pittsburgh. The “hits” didn’t move me. I’d heard them all a million times before on classic-rock radio and some of them even on MTV. No, it was “Celebration of the Lizard,” a.k.a. “Not to Touch the Earth.”
“Dead president’s corpse in the driver’s car!” Jim shouts/sings. “The engine runs on glue and tar! Come on along, not goin’ very far! To the east / To meet the czar.”
I was entranced, and I stayed that way for a long time. Musically, I’ve mostly moved on to jazz and classical, but I still listen to my Doors Pandora station every week or so and now will catch The Odors any chance I get if only for their spellbinding version of “Not to Touch the Earth.”
I will stream them. I just don’t think I’ll ever be able to see them or really any other band that doesn’t go on before 7pm in person. I just don’t live that rockaroll lifestyle anymore. I’m old. I’m married. I have a kid. I live far away. And 6:30am rolls around pretty early these days.
The seamless livestream itself was admittedly not as rocking and rollicking as being there but still way beyond adequate. I was also able to virtually tip the musicians decently with the money I probably would have forked over to the bar and definitely would have spent on my Uber home.
I’d like to thank the man behind the livestream. Big Mike knows the medium works — the show still exists on his Facebook page, where we all watched the show. I also think we need to thank MASS for putting musicians first and bar sales second, because I bet all that money the bar didn’t make went right to Big Mike, El Hicks, and the other cats onstage and off-.
This Odors show was the second tribute evening of the weekend for MASS. The night before, Puce Floyd, another Big Mike production, put on an all-Pink Floyd show, and I may still watch that one, too, but please. No one sings me lullabies. — Anthony Mariani
Contact HearSay at Anthony@FWWeekly.com.