I took some pictures of our night with Guided By Voices. The show was a great opportunity to meet some amazing musicians/legends/icons but, hey, I also got to meet some very nice Internet Superstars. Who, frankly, liven up that whole yawn-inducing music, drinks, drugs, and sex thing that usually happens at concerts with some thoughtful discussion of Mozilla branching, Cold Fusion, and book deals! A distraction from my nervousness for which I'm grateful, actually. Thanks, you two. :)
Also met the Shy One. Who! is! great! Must get picture. *scheming...*
(Amazingly...I didn't get any pictures of Guided By Voices. 'Cause of the Photograher's Creed. Which goes something like, "Don't charge your Elph's battery.")
The pictures are really worth, like, exactly one thousand words. And, according to the latest exchange rate - 7 euros.
But the pictures can't tell you about the inner struggle. The poignancy. The vanity. The questions at the merch table. Such as (really!) "Do you have any t-shirts that are more... manly?" (Correction: TJ Cruz gently let me know that I've mis-remembered the quote which was, in fact, "Do you have shirts that are less girly?") So here's the lowdown of the show. The insider's view.
In spite of a semi-honorable (though somewhat nascent) career...I continue to think of Dealership as the underdogs in any situation. Even unwelcome. Most times, I'll bet, this is simply untrue, we perform fine, and make a nice noise. Few are harmed by our presence, and some are delighted.
However, Sunday's concert at Noisepop, where we cast a slight shadow in the corner of the spotlight, was, perhaps, the exception that proves the rule. We really were the underdog here. Fighting an uphill battle to impress an audience who (probably!) were tired from the week of non-stop activity and excited mainly to be seeing the-indie-rock-quaterbacks that are GBV. And thanks to the immediacy of the internet, I know that some of you feel we didn't meet the challenge. :) Which -is- an understandable criticism. Healthy, really. We each have a responsibility to speak our minds. To not follow the herd. And rawp and rail and hold forth. Excellent, I think. Diverse opinions are welcome. I actually think it's fantastic (huzzah! bully!) to hear from the outspoken and globally distributed musical community.*
Nevertheless, I really enjoyed myself. Very, very much. Good music, friends, and fun.
After this party, though, I need a break. For at least a month.
And I hope the feeling returns to my legs.
I like the way Bertrand Russell put it. "The trouble is that pleasures which are easiest to obtain and most superficially attractive are mostly of a sort to wear out the nerves."
And it's easy to take pleasure in (and be unnerved by) the fact that people are being paid to save you a parking space, carry your gear, give you free drinks, a little money, and provide a clean, well-organized old speakeasy to sing and shout in.
What a learning experience. The small, esteemed minority of the indie music world lives really well, if this accommodation at Bimbo's was at all typical.
You, not in a band, may not know that the following list does not accurately describe the characteristics of the common indie rawk/pop venue:
- We got to park in front of the club.
- Someone helped load in and out.
- Indoor toilets. That "flushed" material through a small drain to a complex underground water system.
- The club speakers amplified actual sound. Instead of ham radio transmissions and/or old Tokyo Rose broadcasts.
- The sound technicians stayed during the show to (omigod!) make changes as necessary for different bands.
- A schedule (that was worked out in advance) was still the schedule by the time we got there.
- There was room onstage for everyone's equipment.
- All of the microphone stands retained their basic structural integrity. And they accommodated microphones! Like the ones we sing into!
- Nothing smelled like pee. (Including pee!)
Then we did our pawp. Perhaps you enjoyed it? Not as much as me. Which leads me, in all seriousness, to say thank you (very much!) to Kevin and Jordan and other assorted Noisepop ninja for the slot. It was a fun experience and another lucky break.
...A lucky break that I'll remember with desperate fondness later when I try calling back the absentee slumlords who own the abandoned San Anselmo butterfly valve manufacturing plant turned punk venue that are booking us with the zydeco/death-metal act who would prefer we play at 7pm 'cause their crowd has been known to "wing" discarded hinges at the openers.
Kidding. I exaggerate for comic effect. Nobody plays in San Anselmo.** :)
**Not true. There is that whole Noe Valley Ministry thing. Which, not to start a rumor, is where I hear next year's Noisepop will start! A Rickie Lee Jones / Pixies' reunion bill!***
***No. Kidding again. Did you know the word gullible isn't in the dictionary?****