It's only "All Ages" if you count the parents.

Last night my wife and I went to see a relatively new band called The Click Five. They have a brand new single called "Jenny" that is well-crafted and catchy as hell. Whether it has any chance of seeing airplay remains to be seen. They had some modest success a couple of years ago with a tune called "Just the Girl" written by Adam Schlesinger from Fountains of Wayne, but this upcoming CD features a brand new lead singer.

The show was billed as "all ages" and from going to previous all ages shows, we thought we knew what to expect. Normally, you go in, get your bracelet or stamp, then head to the bar where the grups are hanging out segregated from the kids, and you drink and listen to some good music.

The girl who took our ticket looked to be about 17. She handed us a little photocopied sheet from the FYE store that said we could meet the band and pre-order the CD after the show. We took the flyer and walked into what can only be described as the cafegymitorium.

There were maybe 40 people milling about, and unfortunately for the band, this number never increased. The average age appeared to be somewhere around 14. This average included the parents, and, as it turns out, the band members themselves. As they become more popular I'm sure the crowds will get bigger. I think they will, as long as the lead singer's voice doesn't change when he hits puberty. I'm kidding. But damn, they were young. The guitar player looked like he might have needed a ride from his mom to get to the gig, but he was fantastic.

After a diligent inspection that consisted of one quick glance around the mostly empty rectangle of a room, we realized there was definitely no bar. There was an upright cooler case with soda and water and red bull outside, but that was it. We instantly decided that if we couldn't buy overpriced drinks and get buzzed, we'd buy overpriced red bull and get wired.

After we stood around for 20 minutes not knowing what to do with ourselves, we noticed a couple of guys pushing a giant cart full of stacked chairs. "Oh," my wife said. "They must be putting chairs out after all. Maybe we're just early." The guys with the chairs then proceeded to put a single row of chairs flush with the back wall of the room.

That was it.

As it turns out, this was "Parent's Row," and it seems that most of the parents either knew this from previous concerts, or as result of some parenting gene found deep in the reptilian level of the brain. Even before the last chair was down, everyone over the age of 25 was doing the zombie shuffle to the back of the room like the sound guy just popped the top on an extra-large case of fresh brains.

Since we were already standing awkwardly in the back trying to pretend our red bulls had vodka in them (and next time, they will - oh yes.) we decided we'd have a seat as well. Our only other option to Parent's Row was to go sit on the floor by the stage with the slutty 12 year olds who I am fairly certain all have The Osbornes for parents.

I really couldn't believe what I was seeing at times. I saw a 13 year old doing a dance that would have made a seasoned stripper blush. I saw another girl who was probably 15 sporting a full sleeve tattoo. WTF? Sometimes I'm so glad I don't have any kids, because I don't think I would handle it very well if my daughter came home from the "library" with a neck tat. I wanted to jump up off my seat every once in a while and yell something like "Melanie! Stop that! It's disgusting!" but then I didn't. With my luck someone in parent's row would have a kid named Melanie who just happened to be a little tart and then the next thing you know the cops would be asking me all sorts of questions about where I knew her from and well... I just didn't want to go down that road.

The opener was an amazing singer named Kate Voegele -- from Cleveland of all places -- who has a voice that's a cross between Patty Griffin and Avril Lavigne. She was great, and after her set we went to tell her so. I said, "You have a great voice. You remind me of Patty Griffin" and she said, "Thanks. You remind me of my dad." No, not really. She said that Patty Griffin was her idol, and she couldn't believe I said that. Her dad was there, and thank god he looked older than me. He saw me talking to his talented daughter and said, "Back off, perv." No, again I lie. He just asked me who I mentioned and when I said Patty Griffin, he seemed pleased. It was funny because on stage she had such a presence but off stage she didn't look old enough to get into an R-rated movie. At any rate, her record comes out on May 22nd on myspace records of all places. Even though she looks 14, she apparently just turned 20 and writes all her own songs. Check her out. For all you Cleveland people, her CD release party is at the Cleveland House of Blues on 05/24/2007 at 09:00 PM. Get tickets and see her now, because I predict she's going to go places. Trust me, it'll be worth the ten bucks.

The Click Five were really pretty good, considering this was only their second show on the tour. They had some technical difficulties with some mic stands and what not, but they laughed it off and even made up a song about their roadie "Steve [Who] Saved The Day" when he brought out another stand. They all had that Lords of Dogtown mop top that you see everywhere these days, and that I personally may or may not have sported as a pre-teen in the mid-70s. To put it another way, they looked like a bunch of skate punks in suits and ties. It was funny to see this new band trying to look like OKGo in 2005 who were trying to look like The Knack in 1979 who were trying to look like the Beatles in 1964. It all comes back to Lennon & McCartney eventually it seems.

At one point, the lead singer announced a song and said it was by Nick Lowe. I turned to my wife and said, "Besides you, me and the band, nobody in this room has even heard of Nick Lowe."

Damn these talented kids. They all make sick, but I'm really glad somebody is still making the good pop.


  1. It probably wasn't a real tattoo, they now market t-shirts with sheer sleeves that mimic full sleeve tattoos.

  2. yeah no. I checked. It was real.

  3. Anonymous6:05 PM

    Thanks for that story, I found it quite amusing.

    I have thought, likewise, that it's so amazing how kids could become rock stars (or basketball players or whatever) at such a young age. It's really quite amazing and at the same time it's disturbing because it's just a reminder of one's own relative age.

    I also just realized it's not as if I'm in a great place to make that comment since I'm not exactly old. Nonetheless I have made that observation. So be it.

  4. i have been to many all-ages shows and am a little intimidated by them now. those kids are ruffians!

    perhaps i am just getting old.

  5. I actually like The Click Five. And I effing hate being the "old folk" at concerts nowadays. Unless I take in an 80s hair band or Rick Springfield, I'm someone's old lady. And I effing hate cell phone cams...damn kids!

  6. You're just not used to teenagers any more. The average well-bred 15-year-old from a nice family looks like a hooker strung out on crack nowadays.

  7. Anonymous11:15 AM

    Ahh, I can't tell you how this post warms my heart! I'm a regular patron at a local "all-ages venue," and I'm not exaggerating when I say that at 31 I'm usually the oldest person in the audience by 10 years. And that's only because my boyfriend is 10 years younger than I am - the rest of the crowd looks to be around 14-16. And yes, I've been to many shows where the "crowd" consisted of maybe 30 or 40 people. But I've seen some awesome bands there.

    Hey, if you're into pop, you gotta check out Everybody Else. Songs so catchy! I saw them for the second time recently (at the aforementioned venue), and there I was in front of the stage, singing along with - and getting repeatedly jostled/slammed by - a couple dozen high school students. Ah, good times....

  8. Anonymous12:23 PM

    not to give away my age...but when I brought my 16 year old daughter to the last Backstreet Boy Reunion Tour (a few years back) in upstate NY, I believe Click 5 was their warm-up band....They were good....but ....talk about being on the lawn in the "parent's section"...lol

  9. I work at a place called Fathom www.clubfathom.com in my hometown, we have all levels or talent or untalent play there, and once every couple of months or so we'll have a national act, most recently Sevendust(whom I'd never heard of till the week before they came. There was a brutal mosh pit, and even though I normally watch the inner working of a mosh pit from a safe distance, that night I was ordered to monitor the melee from the middle of the pit. Got my butt kicked... Anyway, if any of you music snobs comes through or near my little town, you ought to come check out Fathom, lots of up-and-comers there. There, I've finished my free plug, thanks for the use of your comment space JV. :-)