Monday, July 24, 2006

Part Two: The Show.

Okay, so it wasn’t exactly yesterday. Fact, it was more like four days ago. I’m forced to do a mental rewind, but at least the photos make it a little easier.

Got off to a late start, it did, but that’s how these things normally go. I was not surprised. I became the unwitting MC of the evening, but it felt alright – so many of the 50-60 who showed were people I was personally responsible for being there – and it was as if I’d let people into my suddenly very large living room. Couches and soft chairs were everywhere so, rather than standing at attention for the acts, all were lounging. This was comfort. Once things started up, I’d glance back every so often and I’d catch soft smiles. I came to expect that.

As for the openers, I’m always happy to see Loralee do her thing. She’s so gentle in her man bashing that, even now, people who were there won’t think she was doing any thing of the kind. They will, however, recall her cute-yet-clever “Crockpot” song as well as the one she’d only finished writing that very day and the little soft-shoe dance she did while strumming her ukulele on yet another. If she can be persuaded into doing a show, the next step is to get her a CD release. I don’t care where it is and who does it, but I want to buy copies, sell them out of my trunk and make her a superstar – whether she likes it or not. And chances are rather good she’d like it. Sidenote: Billed as LL Cool J on the flyers (her last name is Jessen, after all, so it fits), the venue actually got calls as to whether or not LL himself was going to be stopping into the coffee shop. Considering he was just in town a week or so ago, it was entirely plausible. I even had some people show up late because they didn’t care to see him. Comedy. I just wish she’d have known far enough in advance to offer up an acoustic take on “Hey Lover” or “Mama Said Knock You Out”.

Blueprint gave me a special kind of joy, something I think Ryan and his brother prolly experience each time they play. An accordion and guitar act, their schtick is strained cover songs. I’ve a natural love for covers and that love blooms tenfold when they bring a little something extra to the songs they choose: Having to identify a song by its lyrics instead of the melody is a riddle I like to solve. Their vocals don’t match up all that well and it’s not easy listening by any stretch of the imagination, but hearing Ace of Base’s “The Sign” turned into a drinking song made me laugh out loud. Nobody will argue that their “Purple Haze” demanded people pay attention from the very beginning, either – those there will recall the caterwaul that accompanied it. It’s their last show for a good long time – maybe ever? – as the duo is going different directions to further their respective educations, but I doubt anybody there will forget them anytime soon. Sidenote? Ryan first met his wife after a Blueprint performance. She heard him sing and it was googly-eyed true love at first sight.

I was a little anxious once Red finally took to the stage (the stage that wasn’t – more of a room clearing, really). I mean, I’d talked up the performance for weeks to all who would listen. I suppose my reputation was on the line, though I just wanted my friends (and family! my little bro turned out for the gig) to see the band as I did. I was quitetly wanting them to feel as I felt and experience the emotions I did and had and would once it all came together. As far as I know, that happened. People liked it a lot. Red got good and juiced outside and came in with his junk orchestra (some guys gathered just 10 minutes prior to his going on) and just exploded. I like categorizing his stuff as “Post-Apocalyptic folk music” because I don’t know that the genre has ever existed. But his abbreviated 40-minute set was not a quiet singer-songwriter type of affair, rather, it was filled with him jumping up and down, creating a percussive rhythm with his cowboy boots. There were garbage pail lids used as cymbals and metal cups to fill in the musical gaps. There was even a first-time-ever tambourine player who sometimes fell into the right beat completely on accident. No microphones were there, but weren’t entirely necessary; his voice carried like few did during the evening. It was the best five bones that anybody in the area could have spent. Eh, so that’s my opinion, but others seemed to let on that that was the case. As for Red, he couldn’t stop going on about how this was the best show of his tour so far. Selling out of the 25 albums he’d brought with him helped, but it was a big compliment to those who showed, I think. Thank you, alla you.

Ended the evening with Red and a few others over at the lovely 24-hour polygamist-run Belgian waffle joint and he was insistent he pay for our eats. Guess he had himself a good night and we were the benefactors. Once everyone went their separate ways, I didn’t want the night to end. It was a night full of a crazy electric kind of possibility – one of the first that felt like the actual “teenage summer” some of my friends have talked up for months now. So I didn’t end it. Not then. I felt like I couldn’t. A few phone calls led me to other friends were still awake and wandering the city, so I attached myself to them for as long as the natural high lasted, gaining myself a still-bruised toe in the process. I eventually passed out at one of their houses for a few hours before driving home in the morning in my pajamas disguised as clothes. See? Music really does change things.

Final sidenote: I learned after the show that Red is opening for Camera Obscura this coming Friday in Chicago. It’s a bigger place, one that will hold up to 800 of the musically curious. It wasn't very long before he discovered I’d be in town for the Pitchfork Music Festival and was inviting me to the show. That was kind of him, but I had other aspirations.

Me: “I want to be in your junk orchestra.”
Red: “You’re in.”

I’ll be the guy playing the wee bongos, faking like I’m a musician. Hope to see you there.

Loralee, not posing for a picture.

Ryan and Brother (aka Blueprint)

This is Red. Try and keep up.

See Red. See his Junk Orchestra. Stomp, Red, Stomp!


ewesa said...

you are totally going to be a famous junk player

eped said...

I'm telling

just kidding, just a little jealous because I miss it some.

thanks for sending the songs.

Dainon said...

No food or drink? Tell that to the DJ that brings in a 36-pack every time he does a show. What's that guy's name anyway?

You miss it and I have yet to land my very own show. Sigh.