Veruca Salt (or “Did she say Pig Jelly?”)

Well, I told you all that news on the Veruca Salt show would come on Wednesday, and I wanted to keep at least one promise in this lifetime.

Here goes.

Doors were at nine, but George and I didn’t leave to head downtown until shortly after nine, putting us there at 9:30. No problem. We had tickets, right? So we park and pick up our tickets at La Zona Rosa’s willcall, then shuffle over to the front doors and hand them to the doorguy.

“Congratulations,” he says. “You are numbers five and six.”

“Huh?”

“You’re the fifth and sixth people to show up.”

“Really?”

“Yeah.”

“Wow.”

How is this possible, you ask? Well, the show was announced something like two weeks ago. It was barely advertised. It’s been five years since Veruca Salt toured or released a record (Resolver, which most people don’t know exists anyway). Okay, this could be depressing.

Ran inside and grabbed a beer, then stepped into the middle of the floor (with four other people) to watch Dig Jelly. The Jelly is a band out of L.A. who just signed with a label. They weren’t bad. Not the best band I ever heard, but there’s some really catchy stuff in there, and their guitarist, Robby, was incredible. For the first few songs, I could have sworn their singer, Rayko, kept saying they were Dick Jelly. She later corrected this, but the sound system led me to believe she had said Pig Jelly. I eventually ran back to merch stand to check. Oops on me!

After Dig Jelly, George and I grabbed another beer and went outside so George could smoke and try to convince me to go to the Our Lady Peace show on the 20th (he succeeded). Well, as we’re standing there, we see Robby and Joey (Pig Jelly’s drummer) hanging out, so we went over to congratulate them on a set well-played. We ended up talking to Robby and Joey (and later Rayko, who videotaped the whole thing, for about two hours. They’re a great group of folks, and I’m really hoping they can make it back for South by Southwest. I want to see those kids again!

George and I finally bid Dig Jelly adieu in time to catch Veruca Salt’s set.

And what a set it was. When Veruca Salt took to the stage, there were still less than 100 people at the show, maybe less than 70, but they still played with all the gumption, bravado, and enthusiasm they had. They tore the stage apart for over an hour, Louise (who now looks both “cuddly” and “spoonable” as per George and I) ripped through solos and shucked and jived through the rowdier bits of several songs. Guitarist Stephen was all over the place, getting as close to the crowd as possible. During the bridge on “Shutterbug” he handed his guitar to George, who rang his beer up and down the fretboard wringing as much noise as possible out of the Les Paul.

Louise premiered four new songs during the set, all of them off of their new EP, which should be available on their website this week. “For Days” is the winner here. After switching into “Straight,” the band left the stage, only returning when all 70-100 people were chanting “Better than Oasis!”

Encores? “Officially Dead,” “Seether”, and “Hellraiser,” the song Joy Gerwe once proclaimed “Everything a rock song should be.” The band left the stage to numerous cheers, and George and I stumbled over to the back bar for a drink.

Once we were done imbibing, we headed out by the tour bus for a chance to meet the band like good little fanboys. Louise came out first, said hi to a few friends and walked right over to George and I. We shook her hand so much I was afraid we might crush it, but Louise smiled through the entire ordeal, incredibly grateful to still have fans and determined to talk to every last one of them. I thanked her for having Triple Fast Action open for their 1997 tour, thus introducing me to one of my favorite bands. We talked briefly about whatever happened to that band, then we shook hands again, and George and I shuffled back to the car.

And that’s how last Friday went.