When bar bands blow minds

Yesterday I lost my keys, and the whole thing is a true mystery.

I didn’t notice until I got to my front door.

Reflexively, I reached down to pull them from their usual right-pocket home but… nothing.

I did the usual “slap every pocket” dance, and then opened my backpack and scraped my hand along the bottom. Some loose daily contact lenses but nothing else.

Then, I open the entire backpack up and poured all of the contents out.

No sign of any keys.

So I ended up taking an Uber back to the office in San Bruno to grab them from my desk (which is where I assumed I had left them).

Nope. Nothing there.

And the team that runs the shuttles (which I often take home) said they weren’t on the shuttle I took to get home.

A great mystery.

So I Ubered back to SF and took a BART train out to the East Bay to meet up with my mom, who holds a spare key for these situations.

All of this meant that I was 2-3 hours late to a planned hang-out session with my brother-from-another-mother, Eric (don’t worry—I texted him to keep him updated on what was going on).

This meant that, instead of dinner, we got a drink at this place called “The Saloon” in our ‘hood: North Beach.

The place is incredible. It’s a blues bar that’s been around since 1861—and they play live music there at least 3 or 4 days a week. Last night, they had some band I had never heard of and a 5 dollar cover.

I must admit, I wasn’t expecting much. The band would probably play some mediocre covers at an uncomfortably loud level, and my buddy and I would probably leave after 15 or 20 minutes (due to our inability to talk).

Boy, was I wrong.

Holy cra*p. This band could jam. The lead of the group, a guy named Jinx Jones, played some of the best guitar I’ve ever seen in my life.

His solo-ing was magical, and he opened a couple of songs with Van Halen style speed and precision. It was bonkers.

It blew me away.

After all, you don’t expect a truly great artist to play in a small bar in North Beach for $5.

This is The First Law of Expectations: Things always seem better when one’s expectations are low.

I was expecting a cruddy bar-band, but saw one of the better musicians I’ve encountered in my entire life.

It's funny, these sorts of happy surprises seem to happen less often these days. Maybe it's due to the PR industry and the never-ending hype-machine that's quickly expanding to fill every area of life.

It's hard to try a new product without having seen some advertisement talking about how "mind blowing" or "amazing" it is... and all of the bands we listen to on Spotify and Apple Music have been refined to perfection in the studio. They'll never sound better than they do on their albums.

So we go into most situations with inflated visions of what we'll encounter.

That's too bad... but we can fight back. We can work to build more serendipity in our lives. We can order concert tickets for bands we're never heard of, and we can jump into restaurants that we haven't Yelped beforehand. But all of these actions require us to take a leap of faith--and in this era, I'm not sure how much of that we have left.

This email's for you, Jinx Jones.

-Jason

Jason Hreha