The Road goes ever on and on, down from the door where it began. Now far ahead the road has gone, and I must follow, if I can, pursuing it with eager feet, until it joins some larger way, where many paths and errands meet. And whither then? I cannot say.
No shave November this year took a slightly different course for me. To some degree I wear this hairy visage as a testament that I stand out from the crowd so I suppose it is only fitting that while the world turns one way that I should turn another. The beard is gone. Impressive as it was this time and even though I’m normally nearly a spokesperson for beardedness it is a fitting change at this moment for more reasons then I care to delve into. However much like Frosty returns each Christmas, my beard will surely return in its full glory even if only for a time.
Sweet Pea the menacing behemoth, the car of all cars and I spent Saturday out on the farm burning brush in the rain. She was a bit nervous when I popped that first road flare, but in no time and just a few more flares, she could see that her old man had things under control. The crackle of the fire along with the hiss of the rain soon rose from the pyre. My neighbors must have wondered to see such a sight as a man standing in the rain tending his fire. Brisk the wind blew, but hot the fire burned and so went my day. Sweet Pea’s looking forward to the day when she can spend these kind of days indoors and out of the elements that is for certain, but no complaining no sputtering just faithfully whirring and puttering in the background.
I went to see Matisyahu the other night at the Gilloiz and was sweetly rewarded by an absolutely great show of which I captured a little bit for you here. It’s shaky at first, but I promise it settles out quickly.
Matisyahu came and performed tonight in Springfield at the Gillioz Theatre. It was a low key night as he was only accompanied on guitar by Adam Weinberg who is really quite a phenomenal guitarist. I’ve listened to Matisyahu a bit over the last few years, but getting to see him in person allows a chance to see beyond just the music and get an idea in small degree of who he is. Piece this all together and you see a really interesting dude. His skill to beatbox is absolutely amazing especially when seen in person. He creates such cool beats without the need for any synth or bass and he just lays it down. The performance was great, but I was a bit disappointed in the crowd. I don’t know what it is about the Gillioz and Springfieldians. It’s like all courtesy and inhibition evaporate and you’re left with heckling, rude, moronic people shouting and interjecting without any respect or care given to the artist on stage. This same attitude happened when Lyle Lovett played the same venue a month or two ago. I don’t know when it became ok to try and be a part of the show along with the performer, but come on people cut it out. Continuing to yell out for some song you prefer to be played along with 50-75 other people basically doing the same thing honestly doesn’t paint our community in a very good light. How about keeping the suggestions to yourself, enjoy the show and simply cheer and clap and let the artist pick their own direction for the performance. Now Springfield looks like it’s filled with a bunch of turkeys and I can’t imagine either artist would even remotely consider returning. The thing that amazes me is that I don’t see this behavior to this degree ever at any of the rock shows that I attend. You get one or two people that’ll shout out Slayer or Stairway, but it pretty much stops there. I will say seeing Matisyahu totally dismiss some pretentious goof that tried to ask him about his opinion on occupy Wall Street was pretty dang enjoyable and there was one cool fan that got to come up on stage and get a hug which was a smooth move. Springfield if I could slap some sense into you I would. For now the beards of Springfield are one greater while Matisyahu is in town.
Earlier this week I drove down to Little Rock to catch MM again on their Odd Soul tour at the Revolution Music Room. At the show I met a couple of people who of all things are friends with Joe Copeland. As we talked a bit more we found out that each of us had been at the same show back in 2006 at Remingtons in Springfield which was the first time I’d ever even heard of them let alone seen them. MM has been playing smaller venues this tour so it was cool getting to be so close. It’s cool that they have fans that have been with them since before they were MM I mean I’m one of them, but I really wish fans would stop bringing it up at shows like it is some sort of badge of honor to yell out the old band name. The guys take it pretty good, but you can tell their inner reaction is like “Really…really?” And who can blame them for wanting to get some distance from an old project that they moved on from years ago and hope that people would recognize them for what they’re working on now. I can imagine it’s tough enough to make any band endeavor successful, but it’s got to be extra challenging if your fans keep you stuck in the past. I wonder what is the best way to interact with a band member when you run into them in real life outside of a show without bothering them that still lets them know that you appreciate their music? Do you just say hey when walking past? Is a high five or shaking their hand appropriate? Do you even call them by their name or is a hey dude or hey man more appropriate and less like a creepy stalker or teenie bopper? Thoughts anyone?
My pictures aren’t the greatest, but here they are none the less for your enjoyment.
It’s actually a band though not just any band, but likely to be the most up and coming group of the year with their beautiful melodies and simplistic presentation. There’s no pretentious hipster attitude about it. I read a comment from youtube that mentioned they were Seattle’s response to Mumford and Sons(M&S), a raw folky rock group from across the pond. Though I’ve yet to see M&S perform live I have seen The Head and The Heart(TH&TH) now and I don’t think it would be a stretch to say that Mr Mumford himself wouldn’t see this new young group as competition, but rather as complementary to his own outfit’s unique style. Last Monday I received a call from my friend Chris who had seen TH&TH open for Iron and Wine in the Twin Cities and knowing that he and I share a lot of the same musical tastes urged me to do whatever it took to get to KC the following night to see TH&TH perform. After a false start towards KC and a trade out of Sweet Pea for the Honda I was on my way to see this band I’d never even heard of before play a late late show at a bar in Westport. Not really sure what to expect my anxiety was calmed upon hearing the beautiful voice of Abigail Washburn, the opening act, pour out of the bar and flow across the parking lot to greet my arrival. (Interesting side note I just found out she is exactly one month older than I am, how weird) Her voice was full bodied, sultry and powerful yet controlled and not overdriving, as if she was alone out in a field calling out and wooing the night itself. Then if the vocals alone weren’t enough she was accompanied by a full band including up right bass that was tugging and pulling at the crowd to sing along and priming them for the following act. (She performed one of her songs completely in Mandarin Chinese, how impressive is that?) TH&TH took the stage and began to turn the next hour into a rocking and swaying intimate musical encounter. Weaving a living tapestry of lyric and song above the crowd which lent itself to grabbing hold of and tucking it up under your chin to be soothed to sleep or casting it off onto the bed and dancing around upon it. I can’t wait to see what the next year holds in store for this fantastic band from Seattle. Check them out and see for yourself; their self titled and self released debut album is now available re-mastered and released on vinyl through sub pop records. Enjoy.
Got back late, late, late last night from Columbia. Cutler and I went up to see The Avett Brothers play at the Missouri Theater. Since I’ve really only listened to their most recent album it was cool to hear a much wider selection of their music in the show. They may be a bit too country/bluegrassy for some, but when they played they had that theater jumping. I mentioned to Cutler that there was a noticeably strong scent of hippie musk in the air, highlighted even more so by the people a few rows down lighting up.(While that’s not unusual at some of the other shows or festivals I’ve been to, this was a very nice seated theater so that was way out of place) Throw in a great opening performance by Low Anthem and some crazy girls dancing in the aisles and you’ve got yourself a hippie folk stew going on. The sold out show lasted about an hour and 30 or an hour and 45. The one song they didn’t play that I’d really hoped to hear was Perfect Space, but they made up for it with the Roger Miller cover Where have all the average people gone. I will say that the fact that it takes longer to drive to Columbia than it does to KC really stinks.
They were recently featured on Austin City Limits too, but dang ACL removed the video. Sorry.
Ventured down to Tulsa for another MuteMath show last Saturday with Kent and Robyn at Cain’s. I’d been to Cain’s before, but for some reason in my mind I had torn it down to a crappy old dancehall that wasn’t a very good venue. I guess I had some wires crossed because it was incredible. The crowd there was really into the show and really made the experience much more enjoyable then last week in KC. We were up pretty close and I managed to catch a stick and and after the show even talked for a bit with Vivian, the drummers mother that we used to go to church with years ago. So that’s a total of 6 times I’ve seen MuteMath now since sometime in 05.
1. Springfield Winter 05 @Remingtons w/ The Outlaw Sea. Vedera was a no show.
2. KC Spring 07 @The Granada w/ The Cinematics, SSLYBY, Club of The Sons
3. Tulsa Fall 07 @Cain’s w/ Eisley – met a really cool girl from ORU because of my curly Yukon Cornelious mustache
4. KC Fall 07 @The Granada w/ Eisley – My dad came to this one with me and it was a blast. I think it was right before thanksgiving.
5. KC Fall 09 @The Beaumont w/ Tall as Lions
6. Tulsa FAll 09 @Cains w/ Tall as Lions
7. Winter of 07 I met Darren King at a Bad sweater Christmas Party – Decemberloso – That my friend Sesha throws. He’s really a cool dude, very grounded, but also fun. Too bad didn’t run into he and Greg when I used to go to church at Cornerstone years ago.
Holy frijoles what a good concert. Darren ended up crowdsurfing on top of his bass drum and playing off the rafters. Maybe slightly less energy than the last tour, but still all around a great show. Now to see them again in a couple of weeks in Tulsa with Kent and Robyn.
So I got tickets a few months ago to a Band of Horses concert out at the Orange Peel in Ashville, NC. It’s about a twelve hour drive and I figured the open road would do me some good so I weaved in and out of the backroads and it ended up being more of a 14-16 hour drive over two days. I stopped over the first night in Elizabethtown, mainly because of the movie, to see what it was like. I got pulled over within 2 minutes of being in town because my license plate wasn’t illuminated, but the E-Town local fuzz was nice enough to let me go after they made sure I wasn’t up to no good. Tuesday I stopped through Bardstown which was actually much cooler of a place than Elizabethtown. From there I headed across Kentucky towards Lexington and then eventually due south on Highway 25. A bit off the beaten path, but totally worth it. Got into Asheville at about 5:00 and just barely dodged the rain that poured down. Asheville is a very cool town and has about 75k people, a wicked awesome downtown area with a bunch of stuff to do down there and to top it off it was a cool 62 degrees when I got out of the show that night. I stayed in Bristol Tuesday night and then headed for Richmond on Wednesday to pick up my good friend Amy from the missions school she had just finished up in preparation to hit the shores of Indonesia. The drive up through Virginia was really pretty this time of the year and everything was covered in fog and if it wasn’t foggy it was deep green. We hit the road after Amy’s commissioning service and then spent the night in Louisville with some friends of hers. I’ve been intrigued by Louisville for no apparent reason for quite some time and from what we saw it did not disappoint. One day I’ll be back there. We hit hwy64 on the way home and drove through Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois and finally Missouri once again. All told a round trip of 2,300 miles. Yikes, that’s a lot of driving in four days.
Well it’s been a while and I’m a bit behind, but here’s a short update in pictures of how I spent my 2008 New Years Eve. Best New Years eve ever…even better than the one with my white polyester suit and sombraro. I’ll have additional updates shortly.