Reviewing music is good, but really, everything needs to be reviewed. Bands, albums, riffs, chicks, scenes, zines: all of it. And venues especially. In order to help us review anything that could ever possibly be construed as "heavy metal," the dudes from Ramming Speed will be offering their critiques of bars, clubs and basements across the country, beginning with The Shakedown. Name: The Shakedown
Location: San Diego
At the crossroads between skate shop and biker bar sits The Shakedown, a dimly lit watering hole in San Diego, CA. The owner (who is also the sound guy and bar tender) keeps skate videos on the TV and an impressive selection of scumbag beer in stock. The room itself is long and narrow with two (free) pool tables, a non-digital jukebox and a stage jammed into the corner near the entrance.
Sound: Only the vocals are mic-ed (kick and snare would have been nice) and the PA itself was a little dirty sounding, but its the type of room where your band pretty much sounds the way it sounds with nothing between you and the crowd. Bring your pro gear and no 'tude.
Drink Menu: Most of the liquor bottles looked dusty, but I can't imagine anyone coming to the Shake Down for martinis, you're there to get fucking hammered on the cheap. The beer selection included 24 oz cans of Old English, Schlitz High Gravity, Steel Reserve, Colt 45 and more. The happy hour special gets you those beasts for $4 a pop!
Hospitality: Upon arrival we were told that each band member got “a few free beers”. It was not mentioned that each of those beers were the 24 ounce's. This means we were quickly staring down 72 cold ounces of malty brutality. On top of that the owner would occasionally shout across the room asking if we needed shots, which.. you know... we definitely did.
Crowd: Our show was a good mix of bikers, spikey punks and “I heard about you guys on the internet”s. Dudes were definitely there to have a good time and despite a gritty vibe the crowd was very friendly. Pete dove off the bar and was caught by an enthusiastic bunch of drunks, in it to win it on a rainy weeknight.
Bathroom: Shitable, but some fat dude busted the door open while I was wiping.
Staff: Friendly, helpful and definitely paid us as much as they could.
In closing: Give this rad locals bar a chance. You might come for the classic punk/metal filled juke box and an Old English, but consider picking up one of the skateboards for sale behind the bar.. maybe they'll have patched up the bowl out back!
(This venue gets 4/5 Hammers. Rather, 4/5 Brutal Hammers. - Frank)