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Duff McKagan's column runs every Thursday on Reverb.
Life gives us little pleasures sometimes when we least expect them. Unexpected good happenings don't necessarily slap

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No Need for Heat: Dead Babies Take Care of Themselves

duff004.jpg
Duff McKagan's column runs every Thursday on Reverb.
Life gives us little pleasures sometimes when we least expect them. Unexpected good happenings don't necessarily slap one upside the head when they are taking place, but simply reveal themselves as little pleasures after the event takes place. Last week, I had two such "events."

I did some hanging out with former Post Stardom Depression and current Missionary Position frontman Jeff Angell all week long. It is always fun to catch up with a fella as talented and chill as this guy. Jeff and I have a lot in common:

-- We are both musicians

-- We both are fathers to two girls

-- We are both from the Northwest

-- We both are fans of the Prince

When Jeff told me that his band, Missionary Position, was playing last Friday in Georgetown, I took this to be a perfect opportunity to get a little "dude time" out of my feminine household. Besides, the gig was in Georgetown and I hadn't been down there for some time.

For those of you who don't really know much about Georgetown, in truth, the residents down there would probably prefer to keep it that way. It is a hidden and commercial-free little mecca for art, coffee, pizza, good beer (they say), and bikes.

Not just any bikes, either.

The Dead Baby Bike Club, a bike "organization" originally formed from the social outer-edges who make up a healthy part of Seattle's bike-messenger community, holds an annual event down in Georgetown in August called the Dead Baby Downhill, a hilarious bike romp through the city that now ends down there near Boeing Field, followed by Dead Baby Bike Club's "Greatest Party Known to Humankind."

Check out a slideshow from the Dead Baby Downhill race and party.

As it turned out, the Missionary Position show was just one of many bands playing that night. Dyslexic 33, Plaster, and Horse Headall were also among the bands playing after the finish of the Dead Baby Downhill, a sort of Georgetown punk-rock street fair. All without the notable presence of the Seattle Police Department.

Apparently, the Dead Baby Downhill race and ensuing party in the streets of Georgetown are both a rather unsanctioned affair by the city. From what I understood from that night, the citizens or punkers of G-town--and the neighborhood police--could not really agree on a set way to hold the DBDH. The police wanted more safety (and thusly, less fun). The Dead Baby people wanted less safety (and thusly, more fun?).

Somehow--and I am not even sure how it was sorted out--the area of Georgetown and the city agreed for this whole affair's responsibility to come squarely on the Dead Baby Bike Club's jean-vest-wearing shoulders. They rose to the occasion.

The absence of the police in all other situations would more than likely be an unremarkable aside. But at a nighttime function with free kegs of beer and jousting on bikes without any pads or helmets, it was hard not to notice that police were not around. Because here is what happened . . . there was not even the slightest hint of violence in the air. Not even the slightest threat of a fight, or some dumb-ass being a dumb-ass in public. People seemed less hindered and fettered and more responsible and chill all seemingly BECAUSE there weren't cops visible and showing force. It was an "ah-hah!" moment.

I couldn't say, nor would I think to recommend, that all of Seattle's street fairs and parties shouldn't have the police around. But in Georgetown, I am telling you, it just seemed to work better that night.

The four different artist stages showcased all kinds of different rock, punk rock, DJs, and sundry other types of music. When I finally found the stage that Jeff Angell's band was to be playing, I was pleasantly surprised to find Tad Boyle's new-ish band Brothers of the Sonic Cloth just plain ol' rocking out. What a sweet thing to just sort of run into. Only in Seattle, right?

As I stood there waiting for Missionary Position, it became apparent that the people in front of me were still moving. What I thought was a mosh-pit for BOTSC was actually a rather damn large lineup of people for the free beer kegs. The free-beer part of this street fair was just another way to keep this more of a "party" in the city's eyes, and less a commercial venture. If it was a private party, well then the Po-Po wouldn't be a necessary invitee. Ahhhh. I get it now!

And alas, as I waited for my buddy Jeff's band to start . . . some other band who hadn't gotten to play earlier took the stage. My eyes grew tired, and all of the hoopla was starting to take its toll on me. I get up early, ya know. I'll catch MS on their next gig if it ain't too damn late.

This column kind of wanders a bit, don't it? Well, here is one more point of randomness. I did see John Roderick at Slayer the next night, and we found out that we are related in an abstract way. He is my nephew's uncle-in-law. Figure THAT one out.

As I said, it was a week filled with a few little pleasures.

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