The Henry Clay People @ The Echo 07-17-15


So I was prepping to do a new series of posts on this blog (really!) and then I realized there was an old post I never finished. Here it is. Mostly written just after the event, with some recent edits. It’s about The Henry Clay People. Of course.


Last week The Henry Clay People played their last show ever. Again. Until they haven’t. Or something. Imagine your favorite band, forever playing its last show, leaving you always to experience the euphoria of cognitive closure. Like some sort of dream recurring.

It was my fourth time Seeing The Henry Clay People For the Last Time. It should be an annual affair. They could cheat the system! No more albums or labels or life-disrupting tours. Just a yearly gathering with the same ol’ scene, a celebration of everyone who was there, of shared youth. Rock n’ roll could never die this way.

“There’s no reason you can’t do this once a year,” I said.

“I know, know. I know.”

The Last Show That Was New Years 2012 At The Satellite was bittersweet. The (Really) Last Show That Was At The Echoplex was transcendent, and seemed final. The Last Show That Was Just Three Songs After A Replacements Tribute, also at The Satellite, was a quick darting tease. This one was at The Echo.

And this one stung for some reason. “This Ain’t a Scene” howled liked the wind in the hollows of my heart. “You Can Be Timeless,” a fatal thrust from a dagger of the past. The setlist resembled what they played their last year working full time; I’d like to hear “Living in Debt” again one day, maybe “The Good Ones.” I wish they’d close one of these last shows with “Children of Chin”.

Lots of old friends. Lots of fun. Of course.

I spent days after revisiting all the old obsessions. My friend Travis and I texted back and forth like teenagers after a Taylor Swift concert. Lyrical analysis. All the old songs, the ones not played. Definitive live session recordings. Proto-HCP Vallejo by Knife rarities that preceded classic hits of the scene, their hooks and progressions cannibalized for later fan favorites.

We mused about our illness, the strangeness of obsession over a small band known to so few. Why. What’s the point. What’s it mean. Is it creepy. (Who knows, who knows, stunted adolescence, probably.)

It sounds all very melodramatic. That’s because it was.


The Honey Love He Sells
Slow Burn
25 for the Rest of Our Lives
Something in Water
This Ain’t a Scene
Backseat of a Cab
California Wildfire
You Can Be Timeless
Working Part Time
Andy Sings!

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