(Okay, so…I intended to write and publish this the day after the event, which I was incredibly fortunate to attend. That was three weeks ago. Ack. I actually did get something on paper, er, computer, a week *after* the event. And, until now, there it sat in my “All Posts” WordPress folder. Unloved. Unpublished. Only for me to read and re-read. And that didn’t even happen. Until, that is, the fabulous folks at Blurt published their own piece on the evening. Okay, I said to myself, it’s not too late to do this. It’s just sitting there. Waiting to be released. And likely waiting to be embellished before release. But, umm, that’s not gonna happen. So here ya go, a brief overview of one helluva fun night, capped by the briefest, and maybe the bestest set, I’m seen Prophet knock out. Killer stuff)
I’ve been wanting to write about Chuck Prophet for a few days now. He’s got a new album out (as of Tuesday) and Prophet, in tandem with his his label, Yep Roc Records, cobbled together an unusual record release party to celebrate. Record release party? Labels and artists still do that? Apparently they do. However, on a much more minimal scale than they used to. (I will never, ever forget this party that Hollywood Records threw back in the day when the label signed Queen – rented the Queen Mary, which is docked in Long Beach, and threw a supremely sick party. Not sure the label ever made their money back on that extravaganza.) No, instead of boarding a giant luxury liner, about 50 people piled onto a tour(ist) bus and subsequently spent a couple of hours tooling around San Francisco, taking in various landmarks that were either lyrical touch points for various songs found on Prophet’s new record or…just some place that Chuck wanted us to check out. You see, the album is loosely constructed with the city of San Francisco as the primary backdrop for what might very well be Prophet’s strongest set of songs to date. However, I can’t emphasize the word “loosely” strongly enough. This is certainly not an example of conceptualism trumping art. And it’s hard for me to even call it “art”. It’s rock and roll.
But seeing how Prophet has lived in SF for most of is adult life, it only makes sense that the city would inform his work. Loosely. But we did wind up in some places I had never been. For instance, never stopped to see Treasure Island, an old Navy base that is now undergoing a lengthy transformation into a residential community. In my mind, the only reason to go there was for the annual Treasure Island music festival. Way too indie for my tastes. But man, the setting is gorgeous, and the view of the city skyline, especially in the evening, is amazing. Also never been up to Twin Peaks, set somewhat in the middle of SF, from which you are witness to a spectacular view of the city and San Francisco Bay. And, on certain nights, Chuck Prophet (along with Stephanie Finch and James DePrato) busking. It was quirky. It was fun. But it was just the prelude.
We ended where we began, which was in the Mission. Makes sense. Prophet’s hood. The “after-party” took place in a warehouse space called the Catacombs. Very cool vibe. Not long after arriving , Prophet and band hit the stage and knock out a half-dozen (?) songs from the new record. The sound was out-standing. Seriously, I’d go see bands there every night. Well, if I didn’t have to drive 90 minutes each way to attend. But yeah, the band, with a brand new drummer, killed it. Final song of that set was the title track, Temple Beautiful”, and like the record, featured former Flamin’ Groovie frontman Roy Loney on background chorus vocals. And hey, as long as he was there, how about a three-song Groovies mini-set? Word. Super rocking covers of “People”, “Teenage Head” and, yes, “Slow Death” ensued. Damn. After that, there were a couple of Two-For-Tuesday even-minier sets from Kelly Stoltz and Stephanie Finch before Prophet and band came back to close out the night with some Iggy, a cover of “I’m Bored”. Good night! No, great night.
By the way, if you would like to check of the Blurt piece, with lots of fancy pictures (in color!) and written by something who can actually write, check it out here…