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Wednesday, February 4, 2004
Puddle of Mudd / Smile Empty Soul - 02/04/04 in Jacksonville, FL
Mood:  hug me
Now Playing: Strangely enough, Puddle o' Mudd
That's right... it's the Mudd. First, I should note that we didn't make it to the place (which I'll get to in a minute) on time. The original ride there was late getting to the bookstore. So I took this picture.

I didn't say it was an interesting picture. She got there and we went. Then we had to wait for the third part of the BAM trio of fun to meet us at the mall. He was late. We arrived at Plush around 8:50.

Ticket time? 8:00.

That's okay though. When we got there, there was a line all the way to the other end of the plaza Plush is located in. Turns out that the show sold out while we were in line. Good thing we ordered tickets. So there you have it... a sold out concert, and I was there. Only a few things stuck out while standing in line. A guy had a nice mohawk, for example. I could do that if I wanted. I couldn't keep my job, but I could do that. I don't want to, but I could. Anyway... got to see a guy get tossed (and by that, I mean tossed) out of the building. That was fun. The show was sponsored by Planet Radio 93.3, which is about the least surprising thing ever. I've had an on-again, off-again relationship with 93.3. It was the only station I listened to for a while, then I moved onto other musical lands, and now I spend about a third of my time there. Planet apparently had a pre-show dinner of sorts with Puddle of Mudd, which I'm a little sorry I missed after seeing the pictures (which might or might not still be available somewhere on the main Planet page). That would involve winning a contest though, and I don't get to listen to the radio enough to do so. Of course, if I would've broken away from the "Home" CD at some point in the last week, maybe I would've had a chance to do so.

So about Plush. Plush isn't a big arena or anything, it's just a club. Kinda. Being an all ages show (and it was... there was some woman who brought her kid there), there was the option of showing ID or not to get an armband (our party didn't) for drinking involvement. Here's the setup. When you walk in, there's a bar in the back. Then there's a stage up front. There's a mosh pit in the middle. There's a section of surrounding area around that, then a higher section around that. Confused? Here, let me draw it.

We were in the general area of the pink/orange dot, which was a great spot. Probably closer to the stage (which is not even close to the size I drew it, if you're going proportionately - good luck with the spelling on that one) than I made it look. Each section outside of the mosh pit was raised a little more by about five steps. In actuality, all three levels aren't on street level. And it's standing room only, baby. You go wherever you can get... no assigned seat numbers or anything, mainly due to the lack of seats.

The show didn't start until 9:00 or so. General atmosphere? Dark, as the pictures will show. Not much room to move, which is kinda expected in a small, intimate setting like this. No people in animal costumes rubbing on each other, so the name is misleading. Smoke, smoke, smoke. If you're someone trying to quit smoking, you were in the wrong place. And there was quite a bit of the funky stuff going around, too. I'm pretty sure anyone who went left with at least a contact high. Ah well. Didn't really bother me... I see nothing wrong with it. Granted, don't do it to the point where you get yourself messed up and don't do it walking through Wal-Mart, but I'm not against it. That'd be bad, mmmkay. No more of the ganja than you'd see at any other concert. Probably less than at a Dave Matthews Band show, actually. The people there? Pretty much in the 21-30 range. There were a couple of high school kids. There was a small kid or two, and boy were they in the right place. And then there were a few people in their fifties wearing PVC stuff, which burned the retinas.

So about the show. The opening act was Smile Empty Soul, some band I've never heard of. And they were good. Really good. See, here they are in this picture.

Oh, right. Oops.

Well, they're somewhere on that stage behind the mass of smoke. Photography was not easy here. I finally figured out the technique of raising the camera as far above my head as I could, taking a picture, and hoping I got something. As you'll see, it worked like a charm. Or not.

I can't give you a set list or anything, mostly because I don't know their songs. The crowd was way, way into them. I thought they were great... possibly better than the Mudd. Their last song, "Bottom of the Barrel," is apparently their hit. I liked 'em. I thought the hit song was great, though, I must repeat, drugs are bad. The drummer... loads of charisma. The lead singer... didn't really show much in the way of charisma during their set. Wes, the lead singer of Puddle of Mudd, came out and sang along with the last song. This was liked by the masses.

And this brings me back to the masses. The moshers... wow. My ass would be royally kicked and stomped in the moshpit. Random guys in a circle pushing each other around... very intriguing. Also intriguing were the moshpit surfers. You know, the guys surfing through the crowd up to the stage, where they are dumped into the hands of the big, burly security guys and return to the back. The only problem, at least during Smile Empty Soul's set, was that the same two guys were the only ones being surfed up. It was cute the first three times. From there, especially looking at the guys' faces, it was just a desperate cry for attention. Either that or they enjoy being cuddled by musclebound, bearded security guys. Either way.

Oh, here's one where you can kinda see at least where the band was. Hey, those are drums!

The guy right near the hands in the middle, with the gray shirt and the guitar, was the lead singer. The back of the head featured prominently in the picture was a guy who looks like the lead singer from Dashboard Confessional, who did nothing but make out with his woman all night. Yeah, way to stick it to the single guy.

So the band left the stage and the roadies came out and spent about twenty minutes setting up the stage for the Mudd. After about five minutes, we got this guy, who I'm going to assume works for Planet, coming out and throwing t-shirts to the crowd.

And I thought I was the only one who ran around in Dr. Seuss boxers!

After that... well, it was interesting. This is where I begin using graphic language, because it was used at the concert. Here's a random picture. Be warned... anywhere below the picture, dirty words might appear. If your eyes can't handle it, don't go down there. So there.

Alright. Still with me, mature folk? So the lights were dimmed somewhat and a spotlight or two began going around. As is a tradition of sorts, some chanting began. Oh yes, it was chanting. "Show your tits" chanting. And yep, there were shown. About twenty total pairs, I think. I didn't get any pictures of THAT, but here's a picture of the darkness.

That's the main spotlight. I don't think any boobs were shown in my general area. Lots in the mosh pit. A few on the other side of the building that was on our level. And strangely (or not, really), a pair in the VIP area. All ages indeed.

Random rock music was played during all of this. The only song that I knew was "Back in Black." This brought back both wondering about why the guy from AC/DC thinks that, especially at his age, the whole shorts and dress shirt combo is cool in any way, and thoughts of Lewis Black. I bet Lewis would have some really funny thing to say about drunk and/or high chicks and their boobs.

Puddle of Mudd Hit the stage at about 10:30. With this came much rejoicing. They put on a really high-energy show. I wasn't necessarily a fan before (though I have always thought "She Hates Me" is a fun song in some way or another), but I think they might've made me one. I'm definitely going to look into their CD (and probably Smile Empty Soul's, too) when I get paid Friday.

Here's the cool purple lighting (though it appears blue here) as we waited for them to hit the stage.

Hey, you can kinda see them here. At least there's the lead singer and the bassist, and the drums.

I was still figuring out the whole "raise the camera as high as you can" technique at this point. Here, have another. This one actually turned out very good.

Wes (the lead singer) made his way into the mosh pit (which I can't decide if I want to be one word or two) around song numero three. He was held up on his knees and played for a while. Kind of a cool moment as a girl crowdsurfed her way up to him and snatched his hat.

Meanwhile, I just took a picture of some dude's hat.

That picture, however, is a lot better than the next. Who knew the wall behind me was mirrored and what would happen if I accidentally hit the "take picture" button?

Yes, that is smoooooth.

So they played for a while. Eventually Wes said they were going to play a song that they wrote during soundcheck titled "Country Fried Chicken and Eggs." And by that, he meant "Blurry." Yeah, you probably know "Blurry." It was a hit. *I* know "Blurry." Pretty unescapable for a while if you listened to the radio at all. And it's a good song live. The lead singer of Smile Empty Soul came out and sang along and showed more charisma than during their entire set. As a reward, after running offstage after him following the song, Wes stole his shirt. Wes' original shirt, a white t-shirt with "Eat at Dicks" written on it, was tossed to the crowd at some point.

Some point after this picture, apparently, which is definitely the best one that I took all night.

If only I could've gotten the zoom feature to work decently! After another two songs, they left the stage, where the crowd went into the nonstop cheering. This, of course, brought on the encore of "She Hates Me." This consisted of the crowd singing and Mudd joining in every now and then. It was absolutely electric. And damn if that song hasn't been stuck in my head since.

This is also from before his lost his shirt - I kinda quit taking pictures after a while and just enjoyed the show. He actually does have a head.

And then it was over. The masses were happy. Very happy. And a little high, either firsthand or from being engulfed in a giant cloud o' smoke. And a lot drunk. So, what did I think of it?

Awesome. Great, great show. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I think both bands have won a fan. Puddle of Mudd especially seemed to be loving it, and the entire crowd was electric from beginning to end. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Posted by Andy at 8:13 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, February 4, 2004 8:37 PM EST
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