The years were 2003-through-2007, the place was a sunny WASP kingdom known as The O.C., and the hottest club was The Bait Shop. The Bait Shop was an intentionally rustic indie rock venue that every band Fox wanted to cross-promote with The O.C. just happened to play at, while Ryan, Marissa, Seth, Summer, and friends came of age in the audience. But The Bait Shop is just one small part of the bizarre tradition of characters in narrative television shows deciding to attend a music gig in the middle of an episode, a tradition which serves to both kill some time and let the band and the show bask in each other’s luxurious synergy.
This tactic has appeared in cultural products as diverse as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, in which The Bronze nightclub appeared in 66 episodes, showcasing primarily local Los Angeles bands, to the Vin Diesel vehicle XXX, in which German metal gods Rammstein spit actual fire over the crowd in the opening sequence while a secret agent gets a bullet in the back (oops, spoiler alert). Though these types of moments can provide a wealth of entertainment, especially for music lovers, unfortunately they’ve historically been relegated to shows that, as influential and well-crafted as they were (okay, maybe not XXX), were not shows of the “capital S” serious variety.
The critics say we’re living in the Golden Age of Television and yet still we are deprived of one simple pleasure. We can’t see our favorite super-serious dramatic characters decide to let loose for a night and go see [insert whomever is signed to someone’s record label]. The best we get from our beloved dramas is this webisode explaining that Jesse from Breaking Bad has a band called TwaughtHammer. And we all know that if it’s web content, it ain’t worth the screen it’s printed on. Fortunately, we’ve got you covered.
We went ahead and imagined a world in which Vince Gilligan and the rest of the Breaking Bad leadership had decided it was an auh-mazing idea to have Walter White, Jesse Pinkman, and oftentimes Heisenberg, go to a dingy meth-addled bar in the middle of the New Mexico desert to listen to some jams. A venue made of weathered sawdust and called The Lab just so everyone knew right off the bat what they were dealing with. Read on for 10 bands that would have played it.Click to start the list