The Ghost of Pop materialized at Gallery 5 tonight, a cold December night. For the fifth year, an assemblage of musicians gathered to celebrate the best in RVA popdom, except that this year there was a difference. It was the final show for Prabir and the Substitutes, those carriers of the local pop banner and masters of the hipster haircuts. Let's just say they went out in a blaze of glory.
As the band themselves expressed, it was a bittersweet performance, ending a successful four-year collaboration. Prabir lightened things a bit by reading an e-mail from a long-time Harrisonburg fan who copped to being so drunk and stoned at a show at the Dog House that he took a dump in the trashcan in the back. At the time, Rob the bass player had commented that, "this place smells like shit." Once and for all, that mystery has been solved.
The band played everything from the first song they ever wrote together right up to their instant recent classic, "Everybody's Got Someone to Fuck But Me.". By the fourth song, David Shultz and the Skyline were on stage, singing, throwing balloons, shooting Silly String and popping confetti onto the band. The tone for the evening was set.
Prabir read one other e-mail, from the band Dr. Dog, thanking him for having brought them to RVA and bemoaning the breakup. Again with the bittersweet, but it was tough to avoid given that the band's first and final shows were at Gallery 5.
The final song brought about the slam-bang finish the rapt audience was hoping for; the keyboard was ignited, guitars were lit and smashed, all as the band wound down. With the flames lighting up the stage, the band started hugging and getting sentimental with one other, as well they should after such a superb run. Undoubtedly, local music fans will look forward to seeing what these guys do next.
And, note to Prabir: I should be the one singing "Everybody's Got Someone."