The mention of Georgia Avenue and our 352 parties got me thinking about those crazy days. So here is a little homage to TBPOC (The Best Parties On Campus) based around the various bands we hired to play. First and last weekend of school every year, 352 was the place to be. That untouchable universe in-between 350 and 354 which only materialized twice a year amid the crowds. I think the spirit of 352 emerged at other times (and still does!) but the actual place is, sadly, gone.
August ’01: We never intended on having a band but someone offered the morning of the party. I can’t remember the name, but it was then and always has been referred to since as “Rob’s band.” It was this night that set the tone. How many kegs. What kind of beer. Sure, the police can hang out across the street and listen to the music. It doesn’t mean we’re getting in trouble, they’re just keeping folks off the roads. Who are half these people. Etc. It was also here that Cameron and I began our tradition of singing with the band. I can’t quite remember what it was this time – “Babylon” I think.
May ’02: Had to follow up with another kickass band, but the one we had booked flaked out at the last minute. My roomate ventures down to the strip of bars at lunchtime, looking for a band, comes back with Benny Dodd, the past-their-prime bunch of Allman Brothers wannabes. Benny Dodd was famous among the crowd who frequented a super-UVA bar called Coupe’s, due to their weekly gigs. They were fine. Novel, anyways. Yeah Benny Dodd played a 352 party.
August ’02: Junior year, Georgia Avenue. Our first out of town band, came with a trailer and everything. I still have the slip of paper that says “call me for bass tracks.” Making musician friends even then. Though I can’t remember the guy’s name, of course. They were good, but I think even at that point they had plateaued.
May ’03: Imported from North Carolina we had Jake’s band, another name that escapes me. There was a violinist who attracted lots of girls. Cannot remember music here here at all. Did Cam and I sing Dave Matthews? I think we did.
August ’03: Someone finally got sick of all this college rock and hired a funk band, Boogiehawg. They rocked. I think they are still gigging restaurants and small shows in Northern Virginia, three years later. Only recently have I stopped getting their newsletters. Makes me wonder. I remember they left me their CD that night and said they wanted me to sing harmony on one of their songs. Never talked to them again.
May ’04: Oh boy this was the kicker. We got Jon Thompson’s band to play. Where is he now I wonder. Cam and I did our folkie version of “Killing Me Softly” except not folkie, and had a lot of fun. Especially my trademark move: forget the words, collapse on the stage in laughter, and chalk it up to the champagne. That was a true moment.
These were my early experiences in event production. Oh, the meetings and the money collecting and the decision making. Anyone will tell you they were the best parties around, so I think 352 left a kind of legacy all it’s own. I learned about keg tapping and the frat-boy power of being the one behind the bar. I learned how not to get wasted and then get on stage. (Collapse in laughter, works every time.) I learned the true meaning of Launchpad after I slept on it. I learned about the crusty strangers who come around in the mornings with trash bags and clean up all the beer cups. I learned the true importance of chord sheets that have the right chords on them. That was probably my most relevant lesson.