As everyone knows, yesterday was Cinco de Mayo, another of Americaís ìethnicî reasons for getting drunk and acting retarded. So, after having a tasty Mexican dinner and some adult beverages, what better way to finish off my Cinco de Mayo than to witness a gig from some Northern Irish guys who met in Scotland. It was United Nations rock night and I was treated to a lovely gig from Snow Patrol to close out my day. The Patrollers were back for their second gig in SF in support of their new record Final Straw and seeing how it is one of my fave albums of the year, Cinco de Mayo or not, I wasnít going to miss them.
The crowd at Slimís (big ups to Tracey Buck for the tickets!) was amazingly upper-demo for Snow Patrol. Then again, the band has released three albums dating back to 1997, so this IS a band with history, regardless of whether or not most of America knows about it. The crowd was in love with Snow Patrol from the first notes and itís no surprise why, with songs galore and a self-deprecating sense of humor that you just canít help but find wholly engaging, Snow Patrol are a great bunch of guys with a great bunch of songs. The tracks off of Final Straw were the most warmly greeted, but the songs from 1997ís Songs For Polar Bears and 2001ís When It's All Over We Still Have To Clear Up had plenty of fans, as well. Whether it was rockers like ìWow,î Tiny Little Fractures,î and first single ìSpitting Games,î or heartstring-tuggers like ìHow To Be Dead,î ìChocolateî or ìSame,îGary Lightbody and his crew have a way of making it magical. As he kicked into the spine-chilling ìRun,î he strummed and sang the first four seconds or so of Coldplayís ìDonít Panicî (as they sound similar), then stopped and looked around all confused and said ìwait, wait,î much to the delight of the crowd. ìRunî was even more incredible live than on record and as the crowd sung the final lines loudly and Lightbody quieted his vocals for full effect the song came to an end and the band applauded the crowd. ìWeíve only got two dates left of this tour, so weíve done about 16 dates and no one in America has ever sung the end of that song, so thank you,î he exclaimed. The crowd roared back and he asked if he could take us all with us wherever they went as we were the best crowd theyíd had all tour, which of course elicited an even louder response. The band came out for two encores, and while there was no appearance by ìStarfighter Pilot,î it was no matter: when Snow Patrol comes back in the fall, you need to make sure you catch their live show ñ with quality like this, itís one not to miss.