Hello. We are back from our world tour.
Last Tuesday we saw Ben Folds at First Avenue in downtown Minneapolis, which was a total powerhouse show that blew my tiny little mind. I had forgotten just how freakin’ good that guy is at slammin’ down those ivories. Had I known about Ben Folds, or had he even existed, back when I was taking piano lessons I would have had something great to work towards. As it were, I redirected all my energies into saxophone. Then I redirected all my energies into writing. I have since redirected all my energies into goofing off. Soon enough we’ll see how far this new focus will get me in life. To this point it’s been pretty dang effective.
Ben Folds. Great. The Fray opened. They were okay. The guy was wearing a funny hat, I remember that much. By the looks of it he should have been selling newspapers on the street corner about one hundred years ago.
Thursday night we went to Psycho Suzi’s in the Nord’East Minneapolis neighborhood, to celebrate Andrew’s 25th birthday and subsequent introduction to the world of cheap car insurance. Psycho Suzi’s is a kick-ass tiki lounge with tacky drinks and snappy waitresses and a huge outdoor seating area that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense on a cold October night, but apparently roxxorz joor boxxorz on those July evenings when everyone is sticky with sweat and rum. I will have to imagine what it would have been like out there with 200 people slurring their speech and spilling their drinks on each other.
I got a specialty drink known as the One-Eyed Willy, served in a pirate mug that was so unbelievably tacky that I had to walk away with it. The drink’s iconography implied that its consumption would turn me into a tiki god bedecked in nothing but a towel and a wooden mask, whooping and hollering and spinning my towel around over my head, sloshing my drink (strategically located to shield my sensitive tiki bits) all over the place. It didn’t get quite that bad. Or it got quite worse, depending on your point of view.
Long story short, Psycho Suzi’s rocks. If their hefty specialty drinks aren’t enough to make you puke, the abhorrently tacky decor will more than finish the job. It’s awful. It reminds me of one of my roommates in college.
Friday night we hit up First Avenue again to see Broken Social Scene. They were awesome. They have, like, 20 people in their band and I’m not sure if they’ve all met one another, but no matter. Their music is great, this hugely epic stuff with horns or four guitars or two drummers or everything else at once. This one gal in the band had her hair done in this huge and freakish way that made it look like she had two heads. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t shake that image. Maybe it’s a personal problem, but I find two-headed people to be just a little bit creepy this close to Halloween.
A guy got excited and flung his beer at the lead singer and got kicked out.
Feist opened, who was pretty cool. She used to sing in a punk band before that killed her voice. She wanted to know what her band should go as for Halloween. The audience decided that they should go as The Arcade Fire.
Friday also happened to be the proxy night for celebrating Halloween in downtown Minneapolis. We saw Beaker and a drunk bus. We saw a drunk light rail transit system. We also saw a really short skirt. Everyone else saw everything else.
Sunday I drove down to Madison to visit family, and we went to see Nickel Creek at the Orpheum Theatre. They were super fun, all dancin’ and hoppin’ around stage and everything. Their bass player did a tap dancing solo. I’m not kidding. The Ditty Bops opened, and geez, those guys alone were worth the price of admission. They had put together a special Halloween show, complete with secret costumes and pirate sea chanties and an accordion.
One of their band members was dressed up as Frankenstein and he spent much of the show carving a pumpkin on stage. After the show he was walking around on four-foot stilts, all grunting and growling at people to go out to the lobby and buy their stuff. Tyler got me their “bikinis and bicycles” calendar, which has been signed by the gals in the band with hearts and everything.
Monday, I swear to god, Starbucks sabotaged the power adapter to my laptop, bringing the productivity of Brainside Out to a screeching halt. I drove to Milwaukee to pick up a new power adapter (covered under AppleCare) at the Apple Store, and wandered the mall for an hour while waiting for my turn at the Genius Bar, which is a cool concept that could be improved by the use of more bar, or at least a liquor license. This particular mall had a cell phone kiosk every fifteen feet. For how great and dense this population of cell phone kiosks, and for how irritating the salespeople were at these particular kiosks, very little blood was spilled. I take pride in my restraint.
On Tuesday I turned a Panera’s into my personal office for approximately five hours. That evening Tyler and I returned to the Orpheum to see Guster. They were great fun and played an awesome set, but I was really there for the opening band. I’ve been a huge fan of matt pond PA for a bunch of years, now, but since I’m pursuing an epic and transient lifestyle I’ve never had the opportunity to see them live. Last night I finally got around to it, and geez, what an amazing experience. I was mashed against the ridiculously tall stage for their entire set, singing along and going deaf in the wash from their monitors. All I could think was, Cello, man! I’m losing all my hearing to cello! How great is that? Cello!
They played a lot of songs from their new album Several Arrows Later, which I love more every time I listen to it, but they also played stuff from Emblems, and even a chart from as far back as The Green Fury. After the show I had a chance to talk with a couple members of the band, and they are some of the coolest, most genuine, down-to-earth people you’ll ever meet. I hope they come back. I hope Guster doesn’t flay them alive and wear their skins on their next tour or something. I know that The Current has been playing matt pond PA in pretty high rotation, which may be enough to pull them back to this neck of the woods.
It’s been a busy October, so much so that it’s not even October anymore.