This was my fourth - and probably favorite -time seeing Paul Collins live. Three of those occasions were at the Til Two Club in City Heights, and one of those shows was extra special, since I was fortunate enough to be on the bill, drumming for Collins's long-time friend and colleague, Javier Escovedo (the Zeros, the True Believers, Chariot). Talk about a double thrill: drumming with a punk rock legend like Javier, and then getting to see an equally distinguished talent like Collins immediately after!
I think what struck me most about this show at the Til Two was that Collins seemed happy and at ease with his talented, energetic, and young band. They seemed to really get where he was coming from, as opposed to being cynical hired guns, and the vibe throughout the set was one of authenticity and fun. Though past shows featured fine musicians, this show truly presented Collins in the context of a cohesive rock 'n roll band.
And Collins's rock 'n roll credentials are not to be messed with: He's really a triple threat, having a contributed to rock history via the Nerves, the Beat, and his solo work. I always appreciate that while he plays solid and inspiring new material, he also doesn't shy away from the classics. I was pleased to hear Beat classics like "She's a Different Kind of Girl" and (my personal favorite) "Don't Wait Up for Me", as well as the Nerves anthem (recorded before the ubiquitous version by Blondie) "Hanging on the Telephone".
I may be kidding myself, but I think Collins sincerely has a special fondness for San Diego at this point, thanks in no small part to Mick Rossler, the proprietor of the Til Two. Rossler's admiration for Collins's music has introduced many a San Diego music fan to a great catalog of rock 'n roll, and the crowd last night was clearly appreciative of what they heard for the duration of the set.
If I'm not playing a gig myself, I will without a doubt be at the next Paul Collins show in San Diego, or anywhere else I may cross paths with this rock legend.