A strange series of events led to a very chill, quaint punk show last night at Hatfield’s in Westpark.
Flashback to a couple of days ago when my pal Nick reached out to me asking if I was still going to see Kali Masi and Sam Russo still. I responded that I would not miss it for the world, and he was quick to tell me the show was sold out and they were not able to get tickets.
I jumped online to see what I could find out, because no offence to the bands, but this was not a show I was anticipating to even come close to selling out. Do not get me wrong, the three acts on the bill are some of my favs, but I was expecting to just snag a ticket at the door.
Sure enough, Hatfield’s had posts saying the show was sold out and that they were actually moving it from upstairs to the main floor. I was floored to see this and highly excited too, but still was wondering what was going on so I reached out to not only Kali Masi, but also Toby at Red Scare to see if the show really was sold out.
Kali Masi pretty much asked me what the hell I was talking about and laughed. Toby said he would get back to me, and he did as promised soon thereafter. Both confirmed with me the show was not sold out and to head up to the venue as planned. Hatfield’s even responded to my pal’s wife saying they had opened up some tickets so they were able to grab a few.
Apparently, bots bought all of the tickets being sold by Hatfield’s online. This is a common trend these days where tickets are bought up by bots and then resold for more money. One might think this is a good thing overall, but the inconvenience and slight stress this put on Hatfield’s and even the acts was a true bummer.
Hatfield’s staff scrambled thinking they were going to have a full house and rearranged their business to accommodate. A vacation was cut short, staff was bulked up, and a lot of time and effort was put into preparing for the show. Sadly, a lot of this was not necessary at all.
In the end though, I think it was a nice shift from expected calamity to an intimate evening of amazing music. The fans that showed up were truly stoked to be there and Hatfield’s accommodated the hell out of everyone in the house.
Ken Hatfield, the owner of the venue/eatery, kept joking all night about the bots in the house. He even took a moment to show me the list of names on his phone who bought tickets and just laughed at how crazy the whole experience was. He credited the whole bot experience likely with the Kali Masi rockumentary that has been getting a lot of attention on YouTube lately.
The result was almost 200 tickets bought by bots, and a handful of fans showing up to take in the show. I have to give it to the staff at Hatfield’s, they took it in stride and handled it well.
So yeah, that was a little odd, right? The show was far from sold out and I am hoping to hell all those tickets that were purchased by the bots are not disputed down the way because this whole ordeal caused a ton of work that was not exactly necessary.
Anyways, felt I should share that given how unique the situation was.
Bots or not, the show was great. It was certainly not a late one, but enjoyable by everyone who attended.
Tane Graves of the amazing band Tightwire took the stage and also was the first person to play on the venue’s new PA system. Blasting through a handful of songs and even a proper Blink 182 cover, he performed like there was a full house in front of him and showed gratitude to this tourmates and also the venue.
The funny thing about Sam Russo is that he was supposed to play Hatfield’s well over a year ago with Brenden Kelly, but Covid had other ideas and forced him to sit that tour out. I thought it was only proper that he was able to play the stage in time and honestly, I have been looking forward to that moment for a long time.
I’ve been a huge fan of Russo since he started playing music almost 10 years back. His folk/punk, storytelling is what captured my attention and I was not the only one. I saw a few other fans singing along through Russo’s set and taking it in.
Hearing “Sometimes” and “Runaways” pretty much made my night. If you have no idea what I am talking about, you need to probably change that. This guy is pretty damn talented. He also learned that what he called fence-talking is called shit-talking here in the states.
Russo was easily the most humble musician I have had the pleasure of meeting. We chatted briefly after the show and the dude was just as real as they come. He was so excited to be on tour with a couple of his favorite bands and was excited to head down and play Fest. I really had hoped more people showed up to take in this amazing Englishman, but there is always next time.
Kali Masi took the stage and Sam Porter was quick to make mention he was not feeling hot and the set was going to be less than what was planned. He credited his illness to possible gas station food that he grabbed on their commute from Chicago to Cleveland. Poor guy looked like he was hurting and I was impressed he even decided to play a few songs.
In a sense, a six song set was a bummer, but also looking at things differently, if by taking it easy for one night so Porter could rest and feel better meant a cut set, that honestly is acceptable. I know these guys will be back again soon.
I was happy to hear them play “Sputter”, “Powerline Days”, and “Some Friends”, and they sounded killer, so zero complaints here. I was just happen to have even had the change to check them out finally.
After the show I decided to snag merch from everyone to just help kick off the tour and give them a bit more room in their van too. Everyone was friendly as hell and not an ounce of disappointment was seen. I think having that relaxed evening did everyone some good.
I will say I had an old man moment and could not remember if I have [LAUGHS] already on vinyl. I even made mention to John Garrison, the drummer that I for the life of me could not remember if I had it. He was quick to reminder me I can always hit up their Bandcamp, Well, I checked this morning, and sure as hell I do not have it. So looks like I will need to be securing a copy of that soon.
It certainly was a night that will not be forgotten anytime soon. I am just glad the show went on and everyone enjoyed themselves. That is what it is all about, right?