The Shows We’ll Never See

The Younger J and I are true believers in the live show—when it is possible nothing matches the experience of seeing a band perform. Now, while at times the experience is sublime, at other times, it can also have a deleterious effect on your view of a band. Despite the outcome, however, the experience of witnessing a musical performance and, more importantly, absorbing the reaction of other audience members as well, alters your relationship with the music irrevocably.

(I was not a Bare Naked Ladies fan (back in the Gordon days) until I saw them live; their energy and improvisation made me respect a band I would have otherwise ignored. Conversely, my heart was broken at a Dandy Warhols show, but that is a story for another time…)

These days, I leave most of the concert going to my brother. I am old an ornery: most good shows start after my bedtime . (Old, Old Man.) But I do have some experience to draw on: my first show ever was Jerry Garcia; my last concert was the Austin City Limits. There are many and varied acts between.

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On the Radio: Inexplicable Cover Songs, 311 “Love Song”

Because I go on and off the radio–sometimes breaking for years at a time before returning to the radio–and because casual music listening itself has been transformed by the internet, I often miss out on music for years before noticing it. Recently, however, I had to change from the local jazz station to  a pop station because I couldn’t handle a full hour of Samba music. (No offense meant to Samba, but after 45 minutes or so it gets a bit repetitive.)

I started out with the volume rather low, just as some kind of vehicular white noise. But my children, eager for some change or excitement to the day, begged for “more, more” music. So, I turned it up and the following horror assaulted me:

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Serendipitous Geekiness: Night Riots and The Wheel of Time

I don't have a ponytail. Today.

I don’t have a ponytail. Today.

Since I have already admitted the extent of my geekiness before, I won’t give another historical précis to establish my credentials. Part of living on the edge of cultural geekness is that, while I am not a denizen of comic book stores or an aficionado of online role-playing games, I have dedicated my life to the pursuit of narrative, storytelling, and the esoterica of the ancient Mediterranean past. The difference between this and the Simpsons’ Comic Book Guy is that my geekiness is culturally authorized and funded. (Weakly and poorly, true. But still vindicated, if one cares about such things).

(Ok. Maybe I haven’t been forthcoming enough about my geekiness. In middle school and early high school I played a Dungeons and Dragons character past level 20. He was a half-elf bard named Pedrick Fleetfoot the 3rd. I actually remember trying to write songs for the character. I gave up for (1) being in a band and (2) ladies. Also, everyone started to get into the ol’ Magic cards and games in vampire worlds. I liked it simple and old-fashioned.)

And yet, beyond my professional façade, through which I orchestrate arguments about minor linguistic points in ancient texts etc, I also remain passionate about contemporarily geeky things like scifi, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and, music. Now, I know that music isn’t usually lumped in with these things, but we must admit that there is an ethical and spiritual affinity between those obsessed with vinyl records and indie bands and those enamored with Clark Kent, 12-sided dice, and b-movies.

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The Shows We’ll Never See

The Younger J and I are true believers in the live show—when it is possible nothing matches the experience of seeing a band perform. Now, while at times the experience is sublime, at other times, it can also have a deleterious effect on your view of a band. Despite the outcome, however, the experience of witnessing a musical performance and, more importantly, absorbing the reaction of other audience members as well, alters your relationship with the music irrevocably.

(I was not a Bare Naked Ladies fan (back in the Gordon days) until I saw them live; their energy and improvisation made me respect a band I would have otherwise ignored. Conversely, my heart was broken at a Dandy Warhols show, but that is a story for another time…)

These days, I leave most of the concert going to my brother. I am old an ornery: most good shows start after my bedtime . (Old, Old Man.) But I do have some experience to draw on: my first show ever was Jerry Garcia; my last concert was the Austin City Limits. There are many and varied acts between.

Continue reading