Dent May Is A Good Band To Bring Your Parents ToBy Luke Winkie
Last Wednesday, a PR person emailed me if I wanted to cover a Dent May show in San Diego on Friday night in a club called The Casbah, which is the exact type of random indie-rock show people like you and me spend a lot of time at. I decided to invite my dad, who invited my mom, which quickly turned into a big family outing. I spent the entire evening/night documenting everything in my phone’s notes. Here’s what I wrote down.
6:30 pm – My parents leave the house to put in our name at an Italian restaurant I have never heard of. Apparently, this is the sort of place that books early-bird arrivals instead of reservations. Our meal is set for around 8:15 pm.
6:35 pm – I try to think of the last time I actually had dinner reservations before an indie-rock show. Coming up blank.
7:20 pm - My brother, his friend, and I are about to go meet our parents at a bar next to the restaurant. His friend gets in the shotgun seat like it’s no big deal. I am mad, but I don’t say anything out loud.
7:43 pm – We’re in downtown San Diego, and it's becoming increasingly apparent that we’re going to have to parallel park. A sense of dread is slowly billowing over the car.
7:45 pm – Wait, found a paid parking lot. Maybe this will bail us out.
7:46 pm - $15 parking for one day? NOPE.
7:50 pm – Eventually, we find a suitable street spot and are able to squeeze the Corolla in between two larger cars. My brother looks genuinely concerned by how badly he’s fucking the other two drivers’ ability to get out.
8:00 pm – We make it to the bar, where my parents are dressed as hip as they can muster. My mom in a sparkly, neo-hippy top with a pair of skinny jeans that I believe once belonged to me, and my dad in an open button-up with a shirt with the Hawaiian Flag on it. That is about par for the course for him.
8:05 pm – I’m sitting between my brother and his friends, who are talking about a film they just finished shooting, and my parents and their friend, who are talking about middle-aged relationship issues.
8:06 pm – Middle-aged relationship issues sound pretty horrifying.
8:07 pm – My girlfriend calls me to say she is going out for “a night on the town,” so I should “expect a call from her very late at night.”
8:10 pm – The only other show my Dad has seen at The Casbah was a British Sea Power gig that he more-or-less stumbled into. He cites it constantly throughout the conversation.
8:30 pm – I am instructed to go check on our table. It is still unavailable. Apparently, a group of 10 who have already paid their bill have been sitting around chatting for the last half hour. Hm.
8:55 pm – Our table is finally ready and our waiter’s name is Griffin, which is kind of awesome. I look at the time on my phone. Dent May is the second opener, so hopefully, they’ll be going on around 10:30 or so. I’m not nervous about missing it just yet.
9:00 pm – Literally, the average price on all of these entrees is $18; to put that in perspective, the cover of the show we’re headed to is $12.
9:02 pm - My parents do this thing where they always point out all the vegetarian options on the menu. I know I’m not the only one who knows that experience.
9:15 pm – I keep stressing the fact that the show we’re going to tonight isn’t a huge deal. It’s not Roger Waters doing The Wall. But I suppose it’s a little hard to explain how most people don’t have fancy dinners before Dent May concerts.
9:30 pm – This gnocchi is not worth $18.
10:05 pm – I mention that we should probably be on our way, because missing a show that you’re on the list for is, like, the biggest dick-move of the music writer vocation. My parents say that they’ll do “the best they can,” which is always the least reassuring thing ever.
10:15 pm – Ok, it looks like we’re on our way. Goodbyes have been said. We’re headed to the car.
10:17 pm – My mom, who has apparently never been downtown in San Diego on a Friday night, looks deeply perturbed by the number of tight-short-dress/high-heels combo.
10:19 pm – “They keep pulling the dress down to keep their crotch from showing! It’s pathetic!” — My mom, on the nightlife outfits of 2012.
10:26 pm – We’ve made it to The Casbah, and Dent May is about to go on. My name is on the right list, which is like a 1-in-3 chance if you’re covering a band. My dad is parking the car. My mom is my +1.
10:27 pm - I think this bouncer thinks I’m dating my mom.
10:30 pm – My mom and I are settled in the corner of The Casbah. It is a completely ordinary rock club. My mom tells me she is just entertained by the “parade of it all.”
10:32 pm – An incredibly hip (misguided) couple in semi-matching cowboy hats walk by. I now know exactly how my mom feels.
10:35 pm – My Dad makes his way over. Dent May is setting up. Both my parents look totally happy to be here.
10:40 pm - Dent May start their set, which is essentially just a hallucinogenic take on softie, white-guy party music. Both my parents are bobbing their heads. This is good. I feel directly obliged to make sure they’re having a good time.
10:45 pm – We’re all deeply enthused by the rotund, frizzy-haired bassist. Perhaps because he has the body-shape of someone who was born to be in a rhythm section.
10:55 pm – Dent May are hitting their groove. “Wedding Day” is particularly glorious. My Dad starts to “Woo!” and put both of his hands in the air. My mom is standing back with a placid grin. This is good. Dent May is a good band to bring your parents to.
10:56 pm – Dad keeps looking like he’s about to dance. But he can never quite get there.
10:59 pm – Dad tells me that Dent May would be better if they were all dressed the same way. I laugh.
11:02 pm – Dad brings up the matching outfits idea again. Apparently, he is quite serious about this proposition. I told him he should tell the band his idea. His reply: “No, they’d tell me to fuck off.”
11:05 pm – Pretty sure this bassist is making my dad consider digging out his old bass. My parents both tell me they’re having a “great time,” which is deeply heartwarming.
11:10 pm – My girlfriend texts me “Gay bar time.” I reply with “Uh-oh.”
11:20 pm – Dent May go into their last song. My dad tells me I should buy a Casbah t-shirt, and I could wear it around Austin (where I go to school) and people would be like “Hell yeah, The Casbah! San Diego!” This is a lie, partly because nobody knows what The Casbah is, but mostly because everyone would think of the Clash song.
11:24 pm – The Casbah shirt has a skull on it. My Dad maintains that it is totally OK to wear skulls on your shirt.
11:26 pm – As we’re leaving, my dad asks a bouncer to turn around to show off his staff Casbah shirt. At this point, my Mom looks a little embarrassed.
11:30 pm – “When I was growing up, we wore jeans and boots, not this bullshit.” — My mom, on the tight-dress/high-heels combo that is once again in her line of sight.
11:35 pm – On the ride home, my Dad brings up the matching outfit idea one last time. He tells me that if a good manager got a hold of them, and dressed them up, they could really go somewhere. I explain how that isn’t how the music industry works. My now slightly-drunk Mom is in the backseat, still upset about the dresses. I’m glad they had a good time.
Want more Dent May? Check out our interview.
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