Thursday, April 23, 2009

All I Want to Do is Rock

Somehow, in between all of the weird medical problems I've had over the past few weeks (Don't worry, I won't get into it here because who wants to read about that?), I've managed to see three concerts, a live performance of This American Life at the Chicago Theatre, celebrate a friend's birthday and my four-year anniversary with the boyfriend.

Before I say anything about any of that, though, I just want to give a shout-out to @Glasgowgirl, who posted a link to my blog on a Glasvegas forum. While it's kind of strange to think about anyone actually reading anything I write, I hope at least one or two people enjoyed what I had to say in my last entry. I just had to share my love and excitement for the show and the band in general.

So let me get started by talking about yet another Scottish band. Rounding out my Scottish music trifecta for the month, we have (Primal Scream, Glasvegas aaaand...) Travis. Yes, we saw Death Cab for Cutie the night before we saw Travis, but do I really need to talk about Death Cab? What is there to say? Ben Gibbard was ridiculously thin. I wouldn't have recognized him on the street, that's for sure. They sounded great, they played a really nice set, the opening acts (Ra Ra Riot & Cold War Kids) were good as well. The crowd was a strange mix of concertgoers. My feet hurt a LOT by the end.

(Jon's Death Cab/Cold War Kids/Ra Ra Riot pictures on Flickr)

But let me get back to what I really want to talk about (Sorry, Death Cab! I love you. I do.). We didn't even have tickets to the Travis show. Neither Jon nor I were ever in love with their two most recent albums and the tickets were more expensive than most, so we decided to skip it...until he took a look at Craigslist and found a really sweet deal from some hockey fans who chose the Blackhawks playoff game over the concert. So, we went.

(The Republic Tigers)

The opening band, The Republic Tigers, impressed me enough that they are now on my iPod. Everyone around me enjoyed them, especially when they sang this cover of Blondie's 'Heart of Glass' with a falsetto that rivals Tim Burgess.

Then Travis came on and all hell broke loose. Lots of surprises. Halfway through one of their songs (forgive me for not being able to remember which one), Fran completely stopped the music. He apologized and informed us that every time he put his mouth to the microphone, he was being shocked. In the mouth. He sort of chastized whoever it was that was supposed to fix the problem, which apparently had been happening in sound check as well. They put a new, dry foam cover on the mic, to which he rolled his eyes and made a comment about it getting wet again in no time. I was suddenly struck with a feeling that the show would be cancelled right then and there. Luckily, Fran persevered and it wasn't. Needless to say, the rest of the show, I felt really really bad for him because I know it was happening a lot. They eventually rigged some sort of cover for it, but you could tell it didn't work. Occasionally I'd look up and catch him trying not to get too close to the microphone as he sang. I'll tell you what, didn't affect the quality of performance at ALL.

Surprise #2 came when the band introduced a guy, who had contacted them on MySpace and asked if he could come to the show (all the way from Dallas) and propose to his girlfriend on stage. She is apparently a really big fan and it was a really sweet moment. They then got to sit on the stage, right in front of the drum kit, during 'Humpty Dumpty Love Song'. They then dedicated the next song to a woman in the audience (who had also contacted them online somehow) who was eight months pregnant. If I ever get to see Travis again, I'm totally writing to them beforehand. I just need a good story.

(She said yes.)

Surprise #3 came during the first song of the encore. Sick and tired of being electrocuted, Fran came out with his guitar, told us all to be very very quiet, and sang us a song sans-mic and amp. I don't know if the people in the back of the Vic could hear anything, but where we were, it was magic. I was shocked at how quiet everyone actually was. Jon took a video...sideways...

The rest of the encore was played in the usual manner, but they skipped the very last song that was on their setlist (I'm guessing because Fran was over the whole microphone situation). Unfortunately for Jon, it's one of his favorite songs that they skipped.

(Random lady showing off her setlist)

I don't know how to describe why they were so good live. They had an energy that few bands I've seen have. They were jumping and climbing and rolling around on the floor and then climbing some more, and just generally rocking out. I missed seeing them at V2002 due to injury (the band's, not mine), but I don't mind that any more. I'd much rather my first time be exactly as it was.

What else happened?

1) The full, official Lollapalooza lineup was announced on Tuesday. I know it's going to be a good time. No Blur, but I knew that possibility was gone weeks ago. Looks like I'm going to get to see Glasvegas again!

2) Wednesday was my four-year anniversary with Jon. We had a delicious dinner at what is fast becoming my neighborhood go-to restaurant, Hackney's.

3) We saw This American Life live on stage this past Sunday. It was interesting to see these people that I listen to all the time. Mike Birbiglia always has great stories, and the one he told for this show was no different. The real star, though, was Dan Savage. He told a story about his mother's passing. Every time he got choked up, I got choked up. There is something so strange about someone standing in front of a crowd, talking to them about such a personal experience.

4) I've been on some serious antibiotics all week, which has made me loopy and tired and has me feeling like I'm in a daze.

5) I haven't mentioned the Mates of State/Black Kids/Sunbears show. It was fun, but I feel like it was so long ago now that I don't know what to say about it! It's been less than two weeks!!! I'm getting old and forgetful. I haven't even uploaded the pictures yet. Oops. I'm spoiled and I know it.

6) It's supposed to be 80 degrees this weekend. THAT is news.


Tankboy said...

I remember seeing Travis at Double Door YEARS ago. I had heard nothing about them and was perplexed by the Anglophilic crowd. My little brother -- who had just spent the summer overseas -- told me they were huge and drew festival sized crowds in Europe.

Man that was a great show.

Alissa said...

I was in love with them in the mid to late 90s, but had slowly forgotten about them in more recent years. I honestly had no idea that they still had so many fans anywhere, let alone America.

First The Charlatans, now Travis! Coming from Florida, where very few of my favorite bands dare visit, it's weird to me that you've seen them before. I don't know if I'll ever get used to how easy it is to go to genuinely good shows every week. I feel spoiled now.

Guillermo said...

I've got no words to describe my envy about all that concerts. The idea of not having any concert in mind for the next three months makes me really sad.
Oh shit, it seems like I forgot my English :(

I arrived here just looking for people with the Manics in the music they like, I'm not a psycho (not yet) so don't worry!

Camera Crazy said...

Another great concert post. I love your new header!

Camera Crazy said...

I forgot to mention that two weeks ago as I was heading to the bathroom at the market I began hearing some cheering. Turns out a guy asked our singer if he could propose at the market! Apparently everyone was looking for me to photograph the event as the "official" market photographer. When I returned I heard all about it and asked them if he would recreate it---they were delighted to do so although it was just for the photo, not on the mic!