September 8, 2008

Discordia Concors

What an interesting Saturday evening I had.

Interesting in the way of pulling together things I'd never imagine together and yet finding the results, well... interesting.

The Miniest Fresh plays guitar and her teacher is a very talented young man. Watching him play mesmerizes me. I have a crush on his hands. But that aside, I really have wanted both her and I to see him play live with his band. His band was breaking up after 10 years, two CDs, several "not quite breakthrough" shows, and opening for some pretty well known artists. They are good, but that isn't all it takes to be huge, or... he wouldn't be giving 10 year olds guitar lessons in all likelihood.

Every time he was playing, I would ask him, "Is this a place I can bring the Mini to?" He was always very forthcoming. Clearly, I don't want to be an unfit mother. This show was an all ages show and we bought tickets after he told us to make sure we wore earplugs to not damage our hearing. It was billed as their farewell show and also featured 3 other bands. The doors opened at 7 PM. Being the hopelessly dorky family that we are, we went and had a sensible dinner first and arrived promptly at 7:30 PM to get a decent seat. There weren't many seats, it was clearly a bar for bar bands, with what I think is a moshpit area up front. Yes, I'm out of touch, so I'm not sure, but it looked like something to mosh in, were I inclined to mosh.

In my 40something memory, I forgot that no self respecting show starts on time. Nor do the preshow bands. So we sat in an empty bar/club on a bench for an hour. Passing the kids our cell phones to play games and text friends to pass the time, feeling horribly inappropriate for sitting in a bar with two children. Twiddling our thumbs, nursing beers, trying not to feel weirdly out of place as we watched a parade of very cool, much younger than us (or older than our kids) musicians come in and out. I don't think they expected to see a minivan in the parking lot unless it was holding band equipment.

Finally, the guitar teacher arrived and graciously stood and visited with us for probably 15 minutes. That helped ease the awkwardness. Then he explained that since he didn't have complete artistic control, that they would be going on last, instead of interspersed with the other 3 bands. Terrific. We've paid our cover charge, sat here an hour already, and just found out the one band we came to see, the one player in the band, in fact, won't be on stage for some time.

The first guy reminded me of a slightly more rocking John Mayer. He had a smooth voice, an acoustic guitar, and yeah, he jammed. He did a cover of Laid, by James which I enjoyed while at the same time I cringed and hoped the minis wouldn't understand the lyrics. He was very self possessed, with a charisma that may take him places.

The next band was pure headthrashing, loud, sort of good, but more garage talent. They were loud. Even with ear plugs. Did I mention how loud they were? Yeah. That LOUD.

The third band was actually very entertaining. They had a bit of a throwback sound to the 80s which made me feel more in my element. At one point, Mini asked me to stop tapping my foot, I was embarrassing her, apparently. I didn't know she needed to make an impression on 20something musicians, as if they were her peers. But I really enjoyed the third band and when they segued one of their songs into U2's With or Without You, I knew I had pegged the sound pretty well, and understood why it was so familiar and enjoyable to hear.

FINALLY, at 11 PM, with tired weary children, a somewhat cranky Mr. Fresh, and a full club, our boy came out with his band. The lead singer threw out a few expletives about what a f*ing great show this would be and how he hoped everyone would stick around after the show and drink with them. Maybe that statement wasn't directed at our particular group. I sure hope not! LOL!

Anyway, my older Fresh went up by the stage with the camera phone and snapped a few pictures, but then got mad that someone shoved and pushed her out of the way. I ushered her back by me and said, let's just save some room for the people who have followed them the past 10 years. The guitar playing Fresh bought a tshirt (which she hasn't taken off since) and we bought their CDs at close out prices.

We only lasted two songs. It was late, we saw what we came to see, and at some point the entire evening was just far too surreal and odd to continue. On our way out, we saw the guitar player's parents, as he had told us this was their first and last show. I'm pretty sure they were his folks, since there were only two other people who looked more out of place than our family.

My hope for the evening is this: brownie points with the teacher and also with the minis. I hope someday, they will remember FONDLY how their mom took them to see live music in a small venue. And wouldn't it be cool if one of those opening acts became huge to say, we saw them when? Hope springs eternal.

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