Sometimes the mood strikes, and I'm reminded of things I haven't thought of in a while. It's usually pleasant, like tonight. But it couldn't possibly be interesting to anyone but me. But I'm the one who set up this blog, so I'm going to talk about it. If you're not fond of my rambling posts, be warned! This may ramble.
I laid down in bed tonight and put on my headphones. I hit play on my MP3 player randomly; it started from the beginning. A band called "Against Me!" When I was in college, I went to see Against Me! at the Fox Theater in Boulder with one of my best friends of all time, Greg. He was a huge fan and had burnt me a CD, which I had only listened to a couple of times. It turned out to be one of the best shows I've ever been to. I owe Greg for that.
It was at that concert that Greg and I were introduced to a band called "Rise Against." Fantastic band. We were both blown away. And the thing was that Against Me! put on such an awesome goddamned set that I was sure no band on Earth could out do it. I mean, the drummer is out of this world. Like Janet in S-K, but with more raw energy and less control. It's like a dam broke, and everything behind it burst out, drenching the crowd. Awesome, breath-taking. I'm laying in bed four years later and I still vividly remember that bearded Jesus-on-drums coming out from behind the set on "We Laugh at Danger (and break all the rules)", hitting his drum sticks together, the crowd singing along, yelling along. There's no hope for us. We may as well lay down and die. We're taking everyone else with us.... It was something else. It was beautiful.
The first band I ever saw live was "Jimmy's Chicken Shack." They played a free concert at CU to an audience of 40 or 50. It was amazing. The energy they had blew me away. They set the bar for me for what live music should be. I've seen a dozen shows since, and I compare all of them to that free show in the Glen Miller Ball Room at the UMC.
A month later, I saw Bob Dylan at the Coors Event Center, also on the CU campus. I was a little wary, despite the fact that I loved Dylan more than anything, because I had heard his live album with The Band, "After the Flood" and Dylan was off key for the whole show. Terrible. But that night, Dylan nailed everything. He woud switch from electric to acoustic, and when he switched to acoustic, the whole band would switch. The bassist had to put down his Fender P-Bass and pick up a double-bass, poor bastard. Great show, but the venue was so large that I felt fairly removed.
I went to a few concerts over the next couple years, including a very good show by Five For Fighting with another great friend, D-Frow. Great guy. Very good show. Actually, Frow's brother came to that show too. Five For Fighting really demonstrates the passion a good musician can coax from a piano. Energy, passion. That, by the way, was also at the Fox in Boulder.
I've seen Michelle Branch at the Fox also, and it was a decent show. Sufjan Stevens at Mississippi Nights in St. Louis was a good show. Good company. I went with my mentor, Jimbo. Good guy. Smart as shit.
Also at Mississippi Nights, Sleater-Kinney. Great F--king show. I can't sa anything else about that.
I haven't been to a show since S-K last year. Too expensive, too smoky. But shit. I love live music. When it hits something in you. I remember sitting on the outskirts of the Fox Theater, wanting to wedge my way to the pit, listening to Against Me!, words can't really describe it, or maybe just I can't describe it. It's like seeing something colorful, pretty, strong, urgent, unapologetic, apologetic, sad, hopeful.
Anyway, I owe Greg, and I owe D-Frow. Two great goddamn guys.