Wednesday, March 29, 2006

"Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well." Voltaire

"Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking." Albert Einstein (further evidence in Julia Cameron's "The Artist's Way"...ask anyone who has done the program about "reading deprivation" week)

So when I started this blog I was hoping I'd want to write about politics and pop music. Nah. Starting next week my life is only going to have time for three things: libraries, baseball, and pop music. Actually, I should ONLY be thinking about librarianship...but this is my first year as a fantasy league manager.

Okay, back to the Belle and Sebastian story, so I only have to tell this once...

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Rose Melberg with Belle and Sebastian

I could write a novella of my stupid Softies stories...another one I tell was taping "Love You More" off of KAOS my freshman year. I was heartbroken, so I made a tape of it playing over and over and over again and sent it to my ex. I can't believe she still talks to me. I suppose this is a benefit to cd mixes, that no one will ever feel compelled to see how many times one song will fit on a cassette.
Add that to her giggling and saying "I'm glad you got a ticket!" during her set in Vancouver. The crowd talked through most of her set, and she sang songs with Larissa and Nick of P:ano which was lovely. Played a lot of new songs and "Me and the Bees". See, I should have written this down sooner as I'm already forgetting what she performed.

Snapshot memories from the B&S set:
Stuart climbed on the front monitors during "I'm a Cuckoo" and I started to wonder just what he posesses or is posessed by. What a glorious mix of so many pop icons, there is something wonderful about seeing a performer who has both the self-confidence and the faith of the fans to run around onstage and dance and perform with absolute joy. For all the "sincerity" afforded to indie rockers who come onstage sullen, miserable, and fucked up (um...did you ever see Elliott Smith on a bad night? I felt like I was going down with him.) I see everything right with enjoying the spotlight and the love the fans are giving.

The highlight of the show was their gentle America bashing (this must be part of the contract for playing in Vancouver) and a cover of Madonna's Borderline.

Also, as I elborate on the wonderfulness of the fans, the friend of an online friend that picked up my ticket for me turned out to be another Catholic library staff person getting her MLS. They must have a ridiculous number of librarian fans. I suppose they are second to Bloodhag in that respect, although most librarians I know just tolerate Bloodhag for getting teens in the library to have science fiction novels thrown at their heads.

Standing in the front row, everything seemed so real. Like listening to their albums is fiction and the live show is non-fiction.

Okay, I have an attention span of a flea. I'm going to watch a twee anime called Pom Poko, it's about racoons that transform into humans to try to "scare off the advancement of civilization". For some reason the springtime is always "anime month" for me, then I don't pay much attention the rest of the year. I suppose failing to be an otaku is a good thing.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Two more thoughts about the Portland show:

1. I highly approve of Stuart's NKOTB hat. He's wearing it in the Blues are Still Blue and Funny Little Frog video as well. I resisted telling him how Joey MacIntyre used to cut the top off of his so that he had a "topless hat", but after seeing the Funny Little Frog video, I'm wondering if it's not such a coincidence.

2. When I went to pick up my ticket from the lady I met on Craiglist she was listening to Lois. Is she some kind of guardian angel or what?

And, some final thoughts before sleep:

"We now believe in "coincidence," where we once called it "grace."
Julia Cameron- Some People Say That...God is No Laughing Matter-An Artist's Observations and Objections on the Spiritual Path

"Life is a library owned by an author. It has few books which he wrote himself, but most were written for him." Harry Emerson Fosdick
Okay, I thought I may be able to make a "blog" but with a zinester heart I see there isn't much hope of me avoiding writing with "too much information" and an absolute lack of "professionalism"...which is probably why I love to write but I've never been able to get myself on track as a professional freelancer

Three nights of Belle and Sebastian. I'm still catching up on sleep, so I may have to write this in fragments to get the whole story out. If you desire such ridiculousness, please click on the link to my flickr account where you may piece together bits of my adventures.

I heard "Your Cover's Blown" from the Books EP which I don't own. Despite what seems like fantatacism, there are times when I barely pay attention to the band and miss entire "important" happenings.

For the encore, Stuart asked the audience what songs they wanted to hear. An adorable girl in black knee high socks and a red schoolgirl skirt (as opposed to my white knee high socks and a purple schoolgirl skirt) requested Lazy Line Painter Jane. And then went onstage to sing with them! Okay, that does not do Amy justice, she has a beautiful voice and was thrilled to be "that girl".

After the show I found myself waiting by the backstage gate with a few other fans including Miss Amy. Despite my dirty dreams, I don't know why I really stand there sometimes. I like to hear the stories of the hardcore fans, the ones who traveled the furthest and have seen the band the most, or have the best stories to tell of their devotion. My obsession is probably 50% the fans, 30% the music, and 20% the band/mythology...then there is a whole other level I can only describe as "spiritual", like just now, I was looking at the tour poster illustration with the Bob Dylan print dress in the shop window and "To Ramona" by Bob Dylan came on the radio (as played by the Flying Burrito Brothers, who were friends with my groupie idol Pamela DesBarres, who also loves Dylan...well, I'm not sure what to read into it, but maybe I'm learning, but I need a teacher))...

Sam Coones and Janet Weiss from Quasi (or Sleater Kinney) and Corin Tucker tried to duck out of the backstage area, but at least one fan caught each for a photo. There is something hard for me to comprehend that SK are probably more famous than Belle and Sebastian in some ways, or some places.

Like how oodles of B&S fans had been to the Franz Ferdinand/Death Cab For Cutie show the night, I like both bands, but I actually buy and listen to Death Cab albums. I don't have a TV so I don't know which band is on MTV or the WB more, and they both seem to get a fair number of magazine covers.

Anyway, there were jokes made that all of the above (DCFC, FF, SK/Q, B&S) went out for karaoke the night before.

After photos were taken and autographs signed, the little crowd broke up. I found myself in the awkward position of walking next to Stuart as my car was in the same direction he was heading. I made small talk, told him I'd be at the Vancouver show, and said goodnight.

I couldn't sleep. I ended up talking to my mother on the East Coast and having a very sweet conversation about whether or not she wants to meet her favorite singer, James Taylor. She's not much of a fan girl, except for a rather frightening Seinfield phase where I actually took issue with her "imaginary friends" because she would forget to tell me she was recounting funny things from a television show and didn't really know a wacky lady named Eileen that reminded her of me. I really hope she does meet James Taylor (she has a friend that works for him and can get backstage passes, it doesn't involve any wierdness or effort on her part). I can't imagine someone that successful wouldn't have a bad reputation if he deserved one (granted, maybe I should google some fan sights before I say that, she really doesn't want to be dissapointed if he's an asshole)

Later gators!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

(reposted, as I was trying not to say Belle and Sebastian so much that I inadvertently wrote this without even mentioning what I was talking about)
Thursday- Portland, Oregon
Friday- Vancouver, British Columbia
Saturday- Seattle, Washington

Pop music and mania is like a chicken and an egg in my brain. Do I take on grandious adventures because I'm going through a manic episode, or does the promise of music, adventure, and romance induce such a state?

The Vancouver show involves the most risk. The show was sold out weeks before it was announced that Rose Melberg is the opening act. I had bought tickets for the Seattle show the morning they went on sale, but since I don't care for the New Pornographers, I wasn't planning on going out of my way to attend any of the other Northwest shows.

But after I won a ticket for the Vancouver show via eBay (yet still having anxieties about getting the ticket due to some PayPal wierdness) I thought fondly of my first Softies was an instore in Swarthmore PA and I went home with a boy for vegan dinner because he was adorable and had a Lois badge on his sweater. He snuck us into the show at the college later, where I was honestly more interested in seeing Cold Cold Hearts. After the show we went back to his house and tried to watch a film, something French and he was probably trying to turn me onto Godard at an impressionable age, but I left in the middle of the night with my virginity intact because the whole fantasy of meeting an adorable pop boy, who ran an amazing label, and played me Elliot Smith songs on his guitar, well, it was too much...too much...

(new Stephen Merritt (evil S just reminded me that Morrissey and Merritt both require double consonants, as I simulatneously misspelled Stephen Merritt's name and caught the typo on the Morrissey ad on My Space...where you can listen to the whole "Ringleader of the Tormentors" album now by clicking on said misspelled ad), In China Said the Moon, on Oooooh! on KAOS...funny when I turned on the radio to see if it was Jenny or Domenica's week I heard the dancey bits and immediately knew it was Domenica...)

okay, more adventures to come

Monday, March 06, 2006

Too many shows this week, and the earplugs I bought for my New Years Resolution are still tacked up on the back of my door.

But I'll start off with an unconfirmed rumor from a good source...maybe someone with more of a Top 40 interest than me can confirm can see all 3 members of Bratmobile in the audience of the Britney Spears Live in Las Vegas DVD.

I'm working on booking shows for Rose Melberg, Cynthia Nelson, Andrew Kaffer, and Rocketship in the next few months in Olympia. Yay.

Speaking of which, if you think you want to be a real life friend, you should e-mail me and come to the all building Martin Apartment Party next Friday.

Tuesday the 28th: Robert Pollard and Once For Kicks in Seattle at the Crocodile

Bob is old and drinks tequila. Tommy Keene's vocals were not turned up at all so I was dissapointed in the lack of harmonies. I somehow denied the fact that Robert plays fucking marathon sets and as much as I wanted to talk to Jon Wurster about a book he mentioned in an interview I read, I was too tired and headed home instead. In my obligatory monthly Tullycrafting, Jeff Fell was there and I think it was the first time in about a year I've seen him NOT wearing a GBV shirt. I have to make a personal note here about how much fun I had talking to D, A, J, and R or I'll forget their names by the next time I see them in Seattle.

Whoa, and I do want to get some sleep tonight, but Merge is nice enough to have the entire Robert Pollard "From a Compound Eye" album available in streaming audio.

Thursday the 2nd: David Rovics and Attila the Stockbroker in Lacey at St. Martin's University

I love David Rovics, but I think (and by his onstage admission) smoking Washington's wacky tabacky made him a little less gregarious than I was expecting. Attila the Stockbroker was a pleasant surprise, as I fear poets as much as my own poetry. Once upon a time the Manic Street Preachers even opened for him. Or maybe it's just my fetish for the English accent. Both performers are amazing poets that find ways to work with political words that I dreamed of but never could find, especially not so directly. Although David brought the house down with "I'm A Better Anarchist Than You" which really made me laugh. I want to support the anarchists, but the few I know that are out feeding the hungry and giving to the poor are far outnumbered by the ones who just manage to piss me off and act like that's the only important political act to participate in.

Friday the 3rd: Son and They Shoot Horses Don't They in Olympia at Le Voyeur
Son's cover of The Smith's Still Ill using the top 2 strings on his guitar for the chords and a loose bottom string for percussion was amazing. They Shoot Horses Don't They is a fun mix of Red Pony Clock and Old Time Relijun, now on Kill Rock Stars.

Saturday the 4th: Stereoearrings (Karl Blau), Ponies in the Surf, and Nire in Olympia at Le Voyeur

Nire were quiet and lovely and made me very happy I didn't spend all my money to go see Low in Seattle this week because they had the same effect on me. A beautiful, sleepy pretty effect.

I love Ponies in the Surf. They're a brother sister duo from New England, with bits of Columbian pop mixed in. I was thinking about how I didn't really like the Owl and the Pussycat too much when their album was released, but now I love the softest boy girl duos I can find. Alex croons, Camille harmonizes, and I just feel so charmed when I listen to them play, like I'm in some kind of plush lounge far away from the cement floors and bar noises I'm actually subjecting myself to when I've seen them.

Karl made noise with a radio and effects pedals. He cut his hair and wore sneakers and looked super cute. Really. I love him and knew I was being superficial of his hippieness, but I've had enough of boys in pigtails for one lifetime.

Afterwards I drove out to KAOS 89.3 with Nire and Ponies in the Surf so the Ponies could play a live set on Gimme Indie Rock. They sounded great and I intend to post the video soon.

Okay, sleepie time...really...I need to do this more often instead of trying to write it all up at the end of the week...