* There’s this concept in sports, “Going out on top,” where an athlete retires after a big victory while he’s still in his peak. Sure, he or she could put in a couple more years, earn a couple more paychecks, and maybe make it back to the pinnacle of their sport. The trade off is, especially in a contact sport like American football, you may suffer a freak injury, have your bell rung one too many times, and run the risk of ruining the rest of your adult life. Similarly, you can also overstay your welcome, become a shell of your former self, and tarnish those good memories you’ve built over the years.
This concept is largely foreign in the music world. See Smashing Pumpkins. See Weezer. See that band who had one hit in the ’80s or ’90s playing to 20 people on a Tuesday night.
When Nick Cross, Tony Cross, Pat O’Connor and Tony Janicek of the long-time Cleveland rock band Coffinberry looked out at the jam-packed Pat’s in the Flats, they had to feel like they were going out on top. It wasn’t the big room at the Beachland or the House of Blues, but how many other local bands have been witness to such a large outpouring of support for their final show? The patio was full. The bar was full. Cars were lined up and down the side streets. I don’t think anyone expected such a huge turn out.
* Considering this was a farewell show, Coffinberry played a career-spanning set which included the first song on their first album, “Nightlife” from From Now on Now, and the last song on their final album, “Last Dance,” from the just released Adult Situations. In between, the band treated the crowd to that loud Coffinberry sound, a mix of country, grunge, garage rock, and Strokes-like, cosmopolitan guitar rock. Add in a few cuts from God Dam Dogs, the album many consider the band’s quintessential statement, and a rollicking cover of Springsteen’s “Open All Night,” and you had yourself quite the night of rock.
* Opening for Coffinberry were locals Prisoners and Uno Lady and the Poison Arrows from Chicago, Illinois. Of particular interest was the set from Prisoners, a band who have a similar Cleveland, bar-rock sound. Not to go all Star Wars on you guys, but it was like witnessing the young Paduans inheriting their mission from experienced Jedis.
* One final note from Saturday night, spotted in attendance at Pat’s in the Flats was none other than local artist Jeff Chiplis, whom you may remember was a victim of a horrific attack on his way to Pat’s in the Flats barely two months back. Someone buy the man one of those “Cleveland, You Gotta be Tough,” t-shirts, for no one embodies the fighting spirit of our neighborhoods more than that man.