On a Pale Horse played an awesome show at HoB as they always do. I was a little disappointed that they were opening for Only and played an abbreviated set. I missed Release the Smoke, but it was good gig even without it. PS - no broken bones, that was just a line from a Pale Horse song...but I did end up cracking a tooth sometime over the weekend. I like Only but didn't really feel like staying for them, so me and the gf-unit took off and ended up making out on the patio of the Iowa State Historical Museum for a while. What can I say, it is a beautiful area with the museum's architecture and artwork, the city skyline to west and the capital building to the east. It just seemed like a good place.
Soul Asylum was great. They played for over an hour and a half...and all for only $4. They were funny (Dave Pirner telling a "Pirate walks into a bar" joke, playing snippets of country, blues, pico de gallo, throwing in covers of Wipe Out, Led Zeppelin, Peter Frampton, etc...). They could have played a few more songs from Grave Dancer's Union (their masterpiece) but they hit a lot of high notes, getting everyone in the mood with "Somebody to Shove" as their first song. "Runaway Train", "Without a Trace", and "Misery" were some of the other highlights for me. The one song that I wished they would have played but didn't was "Can't Even Tell" from the Clerks Soundtrack. I forgot how awesome these guys are, I'll have to dig out my old CDs and give them a listen again. I think the show could have been promoted better...there was a small crowd but I think if people had known, many more would have come out for SA for $4 (personally, I just heard of the show by complete accident).
The Soul Asylum show was part of the Rib America Festival and I am glad that they could bring such great entertainment to Des Moines...but they seriously need to do something about their pricing. I understand that this is supposed to be some fancy BBQ event and everyone needs to make money but I shouldn't feel like I am getting anally raped when I go to buy something...I thought concerts like Lazerfest were rip offs, but this blew them out of the water. I was told it was going to be bad but it was worse that I figured. $35+ for a full rack of ribs (without any sides), $24+ for a half rack, $4.50 ear of corn, $7.50 beers, etc... I would have spent a lot more money if I felt like I was getting SOME value. This was more like paying someone to kick you in the nuts! Plus it was on the "ticket system" where you have to buy tickets in order to buy food and drinks from the vendors. I guess it makes it easier for the vendors? I don't know, seems more like a way to ripoff your customers. Tickets were 7 for $10 or about $1.50 each (that was the best deal)...and of course all food is sold in even number tickets, so you always have one left over that you can't use. I guess they think they are hiding their prices this way or something? I don't know, it is just a way to screw you over, in my opinion. I actually don't mind paying a fair price for a good product or even paying a lot for something incredible...but how are you to know at a place like this? Each vendor did have "Rib Samplers" for 6 tickets...that is right, you get 3 rib bones for $9. I really wanted to try some ribs from all the places but I couldn't let myself pay that much for 3 rib bones.
You walk in the festivus, and there are 6-8 large BBQ vendors and they all have similar menus and prices and all have the world champion banners...so how do you decide to spend your money/tickets? Well, I walked past them all to see if any seemed extra special or any had deals...no they were pretty much all the same, just different names. I liked the one named Pigfoot (just because of the name) but I ended up going to the stand that drew the worst set up spot, figuring that they would probably be more appreciative of my business and they listed their brisket sandwich as "Johnny Cash's favorite." After surveying the options I decide to spend my $20 on a brisket sandwich plate (a combo deal where I payed two extra tickets to get cole slaw and bbq beans), and ear of roasted corn (mmm corn sounds good and I can't wait till the local stuff becomes readily available), and a 20 ounce Coca-Cola. All I have to say is that Johnny Cash must have been coked out at the time that he said this was his favorite. The sandwich was OK. It was brisket, with a slightly smokey taste...very slight. It was a little dry and all the free bbq sauce was pretty mild, boring, and lame. The cole slaw was totally bland and really had no taste, the bbq beans tasted like jalapenos...not spiced up with jalapenos, just jalapenos...there were no bbq or bean flavor at all. The corn tasted old and didn't even have a smokey roasted taste. So of my $20, I feel like I got about $4 worth of value. So yay on ribfest for the entertainment but boo for trying to satisfy hunger. My only comfort was that I accidentally shorted one of the people a ticket when I was paying...I hope it was the corn guy. Damn the man!