Two Saturdays ago, I was present at The Hackensaw Boys show in San Francisco. The opening act was the Beauty Operators - a local acoustic string band, which played some covers of songs. The crowd enjoyed that. I appreciated the more "traditional" stuff more. The Beauty Operators are ok, but they were playing for an hour and a half, which meant less time for me for The Hackensaw Boys, since I had to catch public transportation before it shut down.
I thought the Hackensaw Boys were fun, and I enjoyed the music, even if it could get repetitive for some (the beat at least). (I didn't feel so at the time.) I wasn't sure about the band before I got there, despite having listened to some of the youtube videos, but I don't regret giving it a chance, and would attend another of their performances, if possible. I didn't have time to pick up a CD, as I was in a rush to catch transportation out of the city, but purchasing one of their CDs wasn't really a priority at the moment.
It was a different sort of crowd from what you might find in the SF dance clubs near the red-light district or Mission. Evidence of the increasing gentrification of San Francisco? 99% young white adults - no families, middle-class incomes, living it up during their 20s and early 30s? The scene at the In and Out in San Bruno I visited later that night was more reflective of the multicultural reality of California's major population areas. There was one other Asian there that I saw; I didn't see any other members of non-white groups.
I overhead a male (hipster?) remarking that was probably the only authentic "white people music" the white people had nowadays, comparing it to the stuff on the radio. How many of those attending are regulars at the Brick & Mortar? They turned the floor in front of the stage into a mosh pit. Well, I exaggerate - they weren't that rough and frenzied; it was mostly side-stepping, swaying, and shaking - the typical white people dancing you'd see. Most didn't seem to know any traditional dances, though there were a few couples doing some couple dancing. They might want to check out the Ashkenaz to learn how to dance or clog. Even some swing dancing would have been appropriate at times. I couldn't help but think that the music merited something better - but the crowd was enjoying the music and having fun, at least? The band appreciated that. That the audience members lack roots or culture isn't wholly their fault.
Do the members of the band possess any sort of strong Southern identity, as it is based in central Virginia? How many of those in the audience actually disdain the South, even while appreciating the music that originates there? But what can they offer, other than some bland, politically correct, cosmopolitan, ideologically-based identity? That night it was just more good music to be consumed, separated from the culture and people from whom it originated.
There were quite a few cute brunettes present, most with their boyfriends, and one by herself. The last one disappeared during the break between The Beauty Operators and The Hackensaw Boys. (She probably moved to a different part of the room
though during the break.(It is true that I saw them only in the dark. My opinion might be different if there more lighting.) The Brick and Mortar isn't bad, even if it is located in a less than ideal neighborhood. (Another contrast to the people attending that night's event.) The bar looked to well-stocked. As the focus is on the music, there aren't many seats or tables there; I couldn't tell how clean the floor was, but you probably wouldn't want to lie on it anyway. There was also a pair of blondes - sisters?
Looking at the brunettes I was reminded of an online comment that Asian females have the worst waist to hip ratios. Certainly the Korean entertainment industry tends to seek thinness as the ideal. WHR is an objective marker of attractiveness, and men are programmed to find a better ratio more attractive.
A video of a Contra Dance Flash Mob at Grand Central Terminal:
John Krumm offers his perspective on the communal dimension of dancing: What is Good Community Dancing?
Contra Dance Links
There seems to be a lot of S[W]PL angst about gentrification - an example of the Left devouring its own, as many of those whites with nice jobs and money have 'progessive' values. They don't target those who are benefiting from gentrification as much as the tech companies that are driving the change, but those tech companies are known for promoting 'progressive' values as well, e.g. Google.
Geek-driven gentrification threatens San Francisco's bohemian appeal
Gentrification no longer a dirty word
The Chronicle Discovers Gentrification in San Francisco
I Left My Home in San Francisco: The rise of the white, middle-class anti-gentrifiers
WATCH: SF Gentrification 2.0 -- For Better Or Worse?
Anti-gentrification activists “GET OUT” with Pride - SF Bay Guardian
Anti-Gentrification Block Party to Provide Rare Opportunity to Beat Candy Out of Google Buses
An Article About Gentrification in Oakland That Isn't Going to Make You Feel Good About Yourself
Do you see Gentrification and an influx of Hipsters and/or Yuppies from SF lately in Oakland?
Position on Gentrification - San Francisco Urban Agriculture Alliance
What are the history and effects of gentrification?
Local Protest, Global Movements: Capital, Community, and State in San Francisco by Karl Beitel
Why San Francisco Is (or Used to Be) Different: Progressive Activists and Neighborhoods Had a Big Impact by G. William Domhoff
From 1999: I'm the Enemy