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Mike Park / Colossal / Dan Potthast - live in Berkeley (Cover Artwork)

Mike Park / Colossal / Dan Potthast

Mike Park / Colossal / Dan Potthast: live in Berkeleylive in Berkeley (2005)
Asian Man Records

Reviewer Rating: 4.5


Contributed by: FuzzyFuzzy
(others by this writer | submit your own)

924 Gilman: the starting (and ending for some) point for some of the greatest, most well-known bands in the independent music scene. From Operation Ivy to Fifteen, this venue has been a pillar in the community for a long, long time. Combined with the chance to see Mike Park, the owner/operator of As.


924 Gilman: the starting (and ending for some) point for some of the greatest, most well-known bands in the independent music scene. From Operation Ivy to Fifteen, this venue has been a pillar in the community for a long, long time. Combined with the chance to see Mike Park, the owner/operator of Asian Man Records, frontman of seminal ska act Skankin' Pickle, and more recently the frontman of the Chinkees, as well as the Bruce Lee Band, his own solo work, founder and operator of The Plea For Peace Foundation (busy man!), I was easily sold on going to this show. Add in the entertaining Dan Potthast and ever-talented Colossal, and I was making it across the Bay Bridge come hell or high water.

The night opened up with Chinkees member Jason's other band Short Round, with a fairly pleasing blend of punk and a hint of ska. Unlike some shows I've been to lately, where if an opener resembled punk, they were probably pretty horrible at playing it, Short Round displayed a sense of melody reminiscent of the mid-90's as well as the positive and fun attitude of that time as well. They only played about six songs, but it was an entertaining set, and they received a fairly decent response.

Next up was Shinobu, a fairly mediocre band bridging the realms of indie rock, traditional melodic emo, and punk. So incredibly bland. The vocalist/guitarist had all the stage presence of a field mouse. His inability to enunciate his between-song banter led to a widely confused audience, while his off-key crooning (poorly harmonized with by the bassist) kind of hurt my ears. Although I seem like I'm being exceptionally harsh, I will say that if they were playing another show opening for band that I liked, I wouldn't purposefully miss them. The music, for the most part, was competently played (minus the ill-advised keyboard smashing at the end of one song) and enjoyable, and overall were much less offensive to the ears than others who've tried this sound have been.

Next stop, POTTHAST. I'll be honest; while I was the token ska kid in my small West Virginian town growing up, I was just never that "in" to MU330. I checked out Dan's solo stuff mostly because at the time I had an emusic account, when you could download as much as you wanted for a small price. His acoustic guitar crooning was endearing but nothing special, until I saw him on the Ska is Dead Tour at The Bottom of the Hill last fall. Between his stage presence, voice, and overall honest approach to his solo stuff, I was sold on him, and was looking forward to the same feel this time. Boy, was I surprised. Dan took the stage, backed by bass guitar and drums, plugging in an electric guitar for himself, and proceeded to rock us with some really fun, catchy punk music. I was extremely surprised, but not disappointed. Dan's voice is easily one of the most recognizable and enjoyable I've seen live, and he makes the transition to power-trio frontman with grace and aplomb. Extremely enjoyable.

Colossal's Welcome The Problems was one of my favorite albums released last year, and having seen their live show before in Boston with the Lawrence Arms, I was all a-titter waiting for them to come out. I found it curious that they were simply setting up an additional drumset on the stage instead of disassembling the one previously used, but basically paid it no mind, 'till I noticed not just the normal drummer warming up, but another as well. As they started out, Steve Choi was introduced as "a guy we just met, who's never played drums before" and they broke into their super solid set of indie/post-punk rock. I'm not one to gush over a gimmick like two drummers because they can be done in a way that really adds nothing to the music. But here, here was a use of them that was appropriate to the situation. Using both the other drummer to fill in the small gaps where there was a drum hit, Colossal powered through their set, playing a good selection from both their LP and EP releases on Asian Man. The drumming was fantastic, the guitarwork fantastic, the bass-lines spot on, and the vocals excellent. The only complaint I could have was that the trumpet's mic was a bit low in the mix, but life goes on when you have two drummers.

Mike got up on stage, setting up a projector and screen, as well as his acoustic and amp, and got started right away. His set began with him playing to an 8-minute video that he and the other fabled AMR employee made. The video, for those who haven't seen it, has Mike showing us the records that "got him through high school," questions to the audience as to who their heroes are (his include Chuck D, MLK Jr., Gandhi, and other important musical and social characters), questions the roles of Asian-Americans in popular culture, and spurs us on to change the state of things. I don't know what it was, but the very honest, stripped-down video, combined with the lyrics of "Can You Get Me Out of Here?" were a bit much for me, and I got a bit choked up. Mike stopped the video, played a few songs, and stopped to compose himself (he was feeling it too).

While he was stopped, he took a few minutes to address a request that he apparently gets a lot in e-mails, the concern that while the new music is good, it's just "too damned serious!" He fixed that by playing a Skankin' Pickle standard "A Girl Named Spike." It was good to hear an old favorite and to see the huge smile on his and everyone else's face while he did so. He powered through a few more songs, then invited Hellen up on stage to play cello with him. After a short dedication from Hellen, they played "Supposed To Be There Too" together, which may be one of the most moving songs ever when heard live in its full instrumentation. A few songs later, Mike told us all about the new album that he just recorded, backed by the guys from Colossal. So they came up, played a couple of the new songs, and they sounded great. Colossal, mixed with folk, fronted by Mike's voice: incredible.

Mike closed the set with "Don't Sit Next To Me," and hung around to talk to kids and participate in my interview. On the way home, my brother and I talked about the show, and came to the conclusion that the honesty, rawness and intimacy of Mike can only stem from someone who's doing what they do for the love of it, and out of a desire to do the right thing. This was beyond compare one of the best shows I've ever seen. Between the ambience of the venue and the talent of the performers, I'd see this show a million times over. Catch it if it's in your town.

Photos from the show

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (December 18, 2005)

I agree with the person who posted directly under me. Why would you resort to somehting as stupid as a racist comment to express how much you dislike someone?

Hey, I have an idea! Why not next time, take a cheap racist shot at a dead guy! That would be offensive or rude in any way!

*note my heavy sarcasm*

And to this guy.

"Mike Park is a slant eyed gook. Go back to being a gook and keep your politics to yourself"
Look out! He called Mike a gook! How many beatings have you taken so far? Quite a few I'd imagine. Another 20 or so should set you straight."

How oculd you even go to sleep at night knowing that you speak like this? Calling someone something as horrible as a gook... Listen. I am Asian, too.

What are you gonna say to me now?

MIKE PARK, DAN POTTHAST, SHORT ROUND, SHINOBU, AND COLLASSAL OWN MY HEART AND SOUL!

Anonymous (February 2, 2005)

I don't understand what is up with the racism on this board. Punk should be about acceptance, not seclusion.

joeg (February 1, 2005)

"Mike Park is a slant eyed gook. Go back to being a gook and keep your politics to yourself"

Look out! He called Mike a gook! How many beatings have you taken so far? Quite a few I'd imagine. Another 20 or so should set you straight.

Anonymous (February 1, 2005)

score is for steve choi

Anonymous (January 31, 2005)

true

Anonymous (January 31, 2005)

And you suck at spelling.

-Chinatown

Anonymous (January 31, 2005)

hahah, you try to hard

stevejonestherealbones (January 31, 2005)

haha...keep on complaining and whining about me....you seem to do it each time i post.

when exactly did i whine in this review by the way?

- jones the bones

- boo fucking hoo i am dope as fuck

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

- xanga.com/ctw160

Anonymous (January 30, 2005)

"hey dumbfuck, do you understand the word "was" and the words "i am" or "i'm"? because what that guy said made perfect sense....he WAS a fan in middle school and IS 21....now..... "

boohoo im jones the bones and i like to whine boo hoo

stop being a fuckin shithead.

im jones the bones booooooooooohooooooooooooooooo
dumbass!

stevejonestherealbones (January 30, 2005)

"I was a huge Skankin' Pickle fan back in middle school/high school and I'm only 21...a far cry from 30. Don't get mad just because I have pubes...

Damn you were 21 in middle school, you sure are a dumbfuck"

hey dumbfuck, do you understand the word "was" and the words "i am" or "i'm"? because what that guy said made perfect sense....he WAS a fan in middle school and IS 21....now.....

- j the b

Anonymous (January 30, 2005)

I was a huge Skankin' Pickle fan back in middle school/high school and I'm only 21...a far cry from 30. Don't get mad just because I have pubes...

Damn you were 21 in middle school, you sure are a dumbfuck

Anonymous (January 30, 2005)

I love Ian's bald head! I want to polish it with my juices!

-xxxFugaziGroupiexxx

psychoos231 (January 30, 2005)

Damn BSD you just kicked the shit out of that kid

hey_sailor (January 30, 2005)

I was a huge Skankin' Pickle fan back in middle school/high school and I'm only 21...a far cry from 30. Don't get mad just because I have pubes...

kenjamin (January 30, 2005)

"That's fucked up!"

I'm just backing you up!

stevejonestherealbones (January 29, 2005)

dan pottast is the shit and mike park is dope.

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

- in the first grade, i gave you all my chocolate milk ...in the first grade i'm doing all your math homework

Anonymous (January 29, 2005)

Hahahaha, I have never agreed with you more BSD.

-!GreenVandal!

Anonymous (January 29, 2005)

"These bands suck. That's one thing I can give to you "punks," you stick with your bands years and years and years and years after you should've moved on. Face it, if you were a (yuck) Skanking Pickle fan "back in the day," you're like at least 30 now. Does that "sweet ska music" still speak to you? If so, why aren't you fixated on the NKOTB or Weird Al youwere into as a 10 year old. Face it, this shit sucks. These bands are crap. Go ahead and get into football."

Believe me, punk/hardcore fans have nothing on metal guys... Those guys need to be given tax breaks for being able to consistently listen to that shit...

-BSD

Anonymous (January 29, 2005)

"Score is for that haircut, ugh...."

Hahahaha. Okay, Ian MacKaye.

I suppose anyone without a shaved head or a Navyboy jock-cut is obnoxious...

Or maybe they just don't want to look ugly.

-BSD

Anonymous (January 29, 2005)

Herpes Herpes Herpes

Anonymous (January 29, 2005)

These bands suck. That's one thing I can give to you "punks," you stick with your bands years and years and years and years after you should've moved on. Face it, if you were a (yuck) Skanking Pickle fan "back in the day," you're like at least 30 now. Does that "sweet ska music" still speak to you? If so, why aren't you fixated on the NKOTB or Weird Al youwere into as a 10 year old. Face it, this shit sucks. These bands are crap. Go ahead and get into football.

Anonymous (January 29, 2005)

Mike Park is way rad. His music IS NOT.

-!GreenVandal!

notfeelingcreative (January 29, 2005)

"Brendan Kelly is part asian. You'll never guess which part"

That's fucked up!

Anonymous (January 29, 2005)

But let's bring this discussion back to the subject of, um, "colossal" man breasts.

Anonymous (January 29, 2005)

I didn't know Inspector Clouseau's sidekick had a music career...Although, being honest the man is a downright legend

Anonymous (January 29, 2005)

That was a great review for what looked to be a great show. Nice work.

Big_Guy (January 29, 2005)

Short Round slays

Colossal slays

Mike Park slays

Dan Potthast slays

kenjamin (January 28, 2005)

Brendan Kelly is part asian. You'll never guess which part!

notfeelingcreative (January 28, 2005)

everything associated with this guy/band/label is asian related. we get it dude. fortune say...schtick getting old fast.

Gotta love those asians in Mu330, larry arms, slow gherkin etc.!!

Anonymous (January 28, 2005)

nice review

pastepunk (January 28, 2005)

nice review fuzzball... I appreciate your attention to detail.

joeg (January 28, 2005)

"everything associated with this guy/band/label is asian related. we get it dude. fortune say...schtick getting old fast. "

you getting annoyed? excellent.

8dollarclarinetsolo (January 28, 2005)

i would love to see this tour. plus short round rules

Anonymous (January 28, 2005)

everything associated with this guy/band/label is asian related. we get it dude. fortune say...schtick getting old fast.

-the other baldwin brother

swingline (January 28, 2005)

don't ever use "t-lo" again. oh, and why is jennifer lopez not dead yet? some one with bigger balls than me needs to step the fuck up.

Anonymous (January 28, 2005)

Man oh man I wish I could've gone to this one. A little while ago I saw Dan P-Hast at a basement show. He started out playing just his acoustic guitar, but then the last couple of songs he played an electric guitar and he had a base player and a drummer come out. It was awesome. While I still respect Mike Park, I haven't listened to any of his solo stuff in a while. I guess I need to pick up his new cd.

Anonymous (January 28, 2005)

I was all a-titter to see Collosal too. Those guys are getting so chunky, when they look at their chests they're seeing a titter or two as well. Hairy man boobs to match hairy man boob music! Is the dairy open?

Anonymous (January 28, 2005)

"I personally (opinion) prefer T-Lo and Mike Park to Waits

-adamfromohio?

I officially hate you. Not for your opinion that Ted Leo and MIke Park are more the Man than Tom Waits (however wrong), but for the fact that you said T-Lo. Seriously, man, WTF?!

Toby_at_Fat (January 28, 2005)

I went to this show, which meant two nights in a row at Gilman/Pyramid Brewery. It was a cool show and Mike's new songs are his best yet methinks.

Anonymous (January 28, 2005)

Solid review.

Crookedsuperhero (January 28, 2005)

The MAN.

sickboi (January 28, 2005)

Score is for that haircut, ugh....

jamespastepunk (January 28, 2005)

I'm seeing this tour in Chicago next week. Something tells me it'll slay.

adamfromohio (January 28, 2005)

I personally (opinion) prefer T-Lo and Mike Park to Waits

-adamfromohio

Anonymous (January 28, 2005)

insert obligatory comment about mike park being the man, followed by other comments about ted leo and tom waits also being 'men'.

Anonymous (January 28, 2005)

Colossal had 10 songs on "Welcome the Problems." But "The Serious Kind" was the only one that managed to stand out as anything but self-indulgent wanking. The band has a potentially bright future, but they still have to cross the "we're just making music because we can" frontier to find the promised "we actually have something to say" land.

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