looking for love/rock’n’roll

Posted on June 2, 2010

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I had a minor epiphany the other night at Glasslands, where I’d been dispatched to review the Twin Sister album release show for Jezebel. Whenever I review a show I make sure to watch every song by every band. It’s easy to assume the opening acts will blow, or that you know what’s coming after a song or two, because they/you usually do, but that rare occasion when a band really surprises you means that you have to stick it out through all the lame repetition of an ordinary rock show. Maybe when I get all fat and jowly and corrupt I’ll start going outside mid-set to smoke rank cigars and ogle young ladies, but for now I’m here to cover the show and that’s what I’ll god damn do. If it’s awful, I need to fully feel the extent of that awfulness.

I spent the first two sets trying very hard to enjoy bands and not really succeeding. Nothing was memorable, yet the music all seemed pale and familiar (it didn’t help that one of Data Dog’s songs had the exact same melody as Animal Collective’s “Chores”). “It’s too hot in here,” I told myself (Glasslands air is brutally uncirculated), “it’s probably because I’m totally sober,” or “I must be tired,” or “I’m probably dehydrated” or “the sound isn’t that great,” or “this genre isn’t really what I usually listen to.” I pondered all of these things, trying to justify my lack of enthusiasm and coach myself out of it. It didn’t work. I wound up, as usual when I don’t like a show, thinking grandiose, absurd thoughts about how mismatched I am with my own generation. (Whether or not this is true I don’t know, but me not liking some band no one’s ever heard of is certainly not evidence to support the claim.)

I thought about sneaking out before TS even made it up on stage, but inertia (and responsibility, how dull) held me there. When they started playing, none of the adversities of atmosphere had dissipated. In fact, the crowd was even drunker and louder (Christ himself couldn’t have shut them up, even if he was doing a little tapdance w/tophat and cane whilst belting out the Sermon on the Mount to the tune of “Did You See the Words”), Glasslands was only getting steamier, the river of flannel-clad people slamming me into the wall so they could go pound another PBR was just as steady, AND the power went out twice mid-set. But the second they launched into “Milk & Honey,” I realized that nothing at all had been wrong with me before, and I was totally rapt. I stood on tiptoes so as to see better over the flannel river and grinned like an idiot as the elbows and shoulders pelted my chest. I was still dripping sweat, and I’m not sure what genre to hamper Twin Sister with, but whatever it is, it doesn’t sound like music I usually listen to. But, when a band is really great live, you just don’t find yourself thinking about any of that bullshit.

It reminded me of my early days in Copenhagen, when I was lonely and constantly scanning for potential lady-friends, trying to talk myself into having crushes on women just so I could feel the excitement infatuation entails and imagine that some progress was being made towards a happier future. But it doesn’t work like that. After all that time worrying and contemplating and looking looking looking I finally met someone when I wasn’t thinking about it at all, and I shook her hand at the smoke-filled party and immediately remembered: “Oh, right, this is what it feels like.”

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