Monday, June 28, 2021

Don't need nothin ... but a good time!

YOU CAN'T ERASE your past. I grew up in the 1980s. It was the best 15 years of my life. So I apologize for nothing. If I start bellowing along to Still Of The Night by White Snake, it's a good thing and embedded in my DNA.

I especially won't apologize for having a good time. And I had one of the best times ever Saturday night at the Q-Fest Street Party in front of Second String Music. St. Louis band Top Gunz, an 80s tribute party band, played in front of 2,000 people on Maine Street between Fifth and Sixth.

It. Was. Glorious.

The Top Gunz guys are excellent musicians and play shout out loud arena rock songs, but far more importantly they understand it's about the party and energy. When they arrived Saturday we immediately hit it off and they were thrilled to have Second String Music as their Green Room and base for the night's festivities.

"Well," said Hollywood Velvet, the bass player, "We are used to getting ready in closets. Like, one at a time."

These are regular dudes with regular jobs and lives, but when the party starts, Blaze Magnum joins Hollywood and Danger Zone and Izzy Rocks and Nas-T and it's on.

Let's just put it this way - I knew it was going to be a good night when I walked into the back room of the store an hour before the show and there were five dudes putting on makeup, dousing wigs with hairspray and slipping on spandex. 

This was by far the best attended street party at Q-Fest, and there were a couple of reasons. First, people are hungry for entertainment coming out of Covid. Second, it was a beautiful night - the initial forecast was for rain but the stars came out and the temps stayed down as the night progressed.

Top Gunz at Fifth and Maine, baby!
We couldn't believe how many people were already in the street half an hour before the show. Nobody shows up early for concerts in Quincy. The crowd kept coming and coming and half an hour in they were pressing up against the stage. And the more the crowd got into it, the more amped up the band got. I'm sure they've played before bigger crowds in bigger settings, but they were genuinely impressed with the reactions to their songs and the whole street vibe. They were sincere when saying it was one of the best Top Gunz gigs ever.

Tim and Laura Smith joined us on the sidewalk for the pre-game festivities, and it was fun guessing the songs with Tim as they started up. I knew every one. Every. Single. One. That's either a damning indictment of my journey to 80s adulthood or the fact I can remember silly and irrelevant things at the drop of a hat, but not important things like birthdays and shopping lists. Hey man, it's "Don't Tell Me You Love Me" by Night Ranger. And who cares if I forgot to get pickles?

Sheryl and I mingled in the crowd from time to time, but we mostly kept to the Fifth and Maine sidewalk to play band host and to keep the store safe. I mean, the Second String Music Green Room is for the band.

It was a long night, and I hung around until after 1 a.m. so the band guys could store their gear overnight in the store while they slept at nearby hotels. Who cares about sleep?  

Props to Chris Cornwell and Trent Vogel for putting in a long day and doing another great job with sound, and the Young Brothers for the lights. Thank you to all the volunteers who took tickets and cleaned up the mountain of empty and half-empty beer cans after the show, and to Q-Fest in general. Our gazebo music was awesome as usual and it was so nice to see the energy and vibe back in Washington Park with the vendors and the crowd.

Sheryl and I loved playing host to the Top Gunz guys and it was more fun than should be allowed. Yeah, I'm still Living On A Prayer and reliving my 80s rock and roll dreams. I have the hoarse voice and two days later still dragging my sorry sleep-deprived butt around - and I love it!

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