Thrasher 2008 Skater of the Year Party
Great American Music Hall
December 12, 2008
Review and Photos by Eric K. Arnold
The t-shirted, sneakered, baseball-capped hordes descended upon the Great American Music Hall Friday night for Thrasher magazine's "Skater of the Year" party. Despite at least one stretch limo parked outside, this was no red carpet shindig, by any means. Rag-tag was more like it. Though thankfully there were plenty of ladies present, alleviating pre-event concerns of a sausage-fest, there were no $1000 gowns or diamond tiaras in evidence, and the only three-piece suit belonged to the doorman at the Mitchell Brother's O'Farrell Theater just up the street.
Lines stretched both ways from the entrance, and extra security had been hired to make sure the event didn't disintegrate into a mob scene. Which was a good thing, as the house had apparently been oversold; all night, people clutching paper ticket printouts pleaded their case to burly security guards, who either shrugged their shoulders or pretended not to notice. This being a skateboarding-themed celebration, many folks arrived with decks in tow. Now, I don't know about you, but to me, a skateboard has as big a potential to be used as an assault weapon as a medium-sized cudgel or sharpened stick. Nevertheless, no one was told they couldn't bring their board in, though several folks were reprimanded for trying to sneak outside alcohol in.
Once inside (whew!), it became clear that this was first and foremost just one big party. There was a lot of standing and milling around, and not much else to do but imbibe copious amounts of booze for a couple of hours. Hey, that's what skaters do, brah. The open bar helped in this respect, although any efforts to actually get a drink within a reasonable time frame (say, under half an hour) were rebuffed by an apparently overwhelmed peroxide blonde bartender with a lip ring who became somewhat of a Seinfeld-esque "Beer Nazi," arbitrarily granting or denying requests to be served based on...well, who knows what was going through that dude's head.
This pattern continued for a couple of hours. Meanwhile, a DJ spun hip-hop classics like Eazy-E's "Boyz in the Hood," along with Beastie Boys faves, a bit of crunchy metallic sludge, and a couple of hyphy tracks. Drunk girls soon populated the dance floor.
The whole affair seemed a bit pointless, until the legendary Too $hort took the stage. Even with no backing band, rapping over prerecorded tracks, $hort's stage presence was considerable. The crowd went apeshit from the time he touched the microphone and didn't stop hootin' and hollerin' until he was through.
$hort Dog was in the house, fa sheezy. His set ran through a selection of recent material which showed why he's the only 40-year old rapper who still matters (sorry, Cube): "Blow the Whistle," "Shake that Monkey," "Burn Rubber," "Go Dumb," "Life of Da Party." Stepping out onto an abbreviated catwalk, he interacted with the crowd, shaking hands and appraising the backsides of intoxicated females. By that time, about 15 or 20 besotted babes had taken up positions on stage; more appraisals of their derrieres followed.
The stage had gotten pretty congested with random females (and members of $hort's entourage, who drank tequila from a bottle and puffed on purple-laced blunts). It would have been apt for $hort to perform the title track of his last album, "Get Off the Stage," but instead he introduced his new song, "Red Bull and Vodka." Despite its obvious product-placement connotations, the tune is kind of a banger, which shows that $hort still has a knack for making music that makes people shake their, er, monkeys.
New-school Too $hort is okay, but classic Too $hort is much, much better. Once the youngish crowd had been sufficiently warmed up, $hort went for the coup de grace: renditions of "Don't Fight the Feelin'" and "Gettin' It." This only whetted the appetite for more classic tunes--"Dope Fiend Beat," anyone?--but, having reached the end of his allotted time, $hort retreated backstage, where he amusedly posed with wanna-be groupies half his age.
Meanwhile, the guest of honor, Silas Baxter-Neal, apparently received his award (which this reviewer missed while scarfing down some backstage pizza), bringing the event to an abrupt, and somewhat anticlimactic, close, at around 11 p.m. Next time, how about installing a skate ramp or something?
Personal Bias: Being from the Bay Area, it's evident that Too $hort is one of the greatest rappers of all time.
Random Detail: Former Bones Brigade hero-turned-Mission St. muse Tommy Guerrero was spotted upstairs.
By the Way: It's pretty amusing to hear dozens of white girls yelling "biatch!!!" However, women with flat booties should not embarrass themselves by getting onstage at a Too $hort show-ever.