Happiness at the Hands of a Band

I saw a Neutral Milk Hotel concert recently and ran into a friend of a friend who had been a fan of the band since 1999. She’d waited 16 years to see them in concert, and was so excited (and incredibly intoxicated) to finally be there.

She said, and I’m quoting here: “I cried all day today thinking about this concert. When it’s over, I’m just gonna kill myself.”

It cracked me up so much, and it also touched my heart. It’s nice to see someone radiate so much joy over something so simple as music. It reminded me of when I cried at my second Death Cab for Cutie concert. I was sober. I had no excuse. But it was the best concert, so I suppose I’m justified.

I love you guys. Just know you bring me a lot of joy all the time :) xo


Thank You

Dear Death Cab,

Thank you.

Thank you for playing Transatlanticism in its entirety last night. Thank you for not speaking between songs because “that’s not how you’d listen to an album.” Thank you for making me cry like an idiot in the middle of thousands of people.

Thank you for turning the 5 minute long We Looked Like Giants into a solid 10 minutes of pure glory. Thank you for encapsulating everything I ever was in one album; for being the most beautifully nostalgic noise I’ve ever heard. Thank you for reminding me of everything that was supposed to happen in my life but didn’t; it was terribly sad to remember what I’d wanted, but it was necessary for me to remember.

Thank you for being hilarious, Ben Gibbard and Sassy McSasserson (Chris Walla), after you’d finished Transatlanticism and you dedicated the next batch of songs to your first label (this one’s for you, guys!); Chris, sitting at keyboard, piped up and said, “This is a frugal song…about frugality.” Thank you, Ben, for randomly realizing that you’d worn the same shirt in 2003 (“I’m fucking not even kidding…I was wearing this shirt!”) and talking about how you “don’t change clothes just because fashion dictates it.” Lovely little monkey. It was a great shirt, by the way. Thank you, Ben, for rocking back and forth as you sing because you just can’t help it. Thank you for practically moonwalking.

Thank you for being so good live that I forgot about the buffoons sitting behind me who were so drunk I was legitimately concerned for their safety. Thank you for being so good that they knew all the words to every single one of your songs, too, even when completely sloshed.

Thank you for stealing every word from me. I wanted to write a long blog post about you but can’t even put any of it into words. These sentences are barely coherent or cohesive, but I want you all to know that I love you. Everything you’ve done is precious to me, and you have a permanent place in my heart.

Thank you.

Rock on (Part 2)

Last week, I wrote about concerts I’ve been to. I’m focusing on things I’ve done rather than what I wish I could. So here’s the second half of that list. Enjoy :)

5. Meiko/Keaton Simons
A friend of mine invited me to the concert because he was in love with Meiko, and she was opening for some chump named Tyrone Wells (we ended up leaving the concert early because he was really terrible. He’s now headlining the Lentil Festival in my college town and I’m secretly extremely angry that he’s still successful…although headlining a lentil festival might not actually mean much). Keaton Simons was the first act, and he was such fun to watch. I still listen to his music occasionally, and he had this beat boxer in the background keeping a really soft beat for him, which I always miss when I listen to the studio album. His name was Blizzard or SnowGlobe or something…I can’t really remember, but I think it involved cold weather…
Meiko turned out to be completely amazing. She’s the cutest girl from Georgia, and she just stood up there with her guitar and told stories about gum between her songs, and sang in the nicest voice. She is really the reason I want to learn to play guitar (though I haven’t yet because I’m a slacker). I got a photo with her after and she signed my ticket stub, so eat that! Wooo!

6. Death Cab for Cutie
I. Love. Death Cab. It was so awesome having them come to town during my sophomore year. I went with my best friend and my parents, though they sat in a different area of the arena, and though I wasn’t a huge fan of the opening acts, I loved seeing Death Cab live. The band got together during college at WWU, and I went there for a quarter last year (as many of you know it was my dream school for years until I got there and didn’t like it at all…), and I was so stoked to have that taste of freedom in their music. Their first album, Transatlanticism, is still my favorite, and it’s so calming and wonderful and…ahh. They’re awesome live, too. I don’t remember much of that concert except that there were a million different colored lights and that I liked it.

7. Starf****r. Also known as Pyramiddd. Also known as Starflower…when adults ask us their name and we’d rather not swear in their faces.
They’re an electronica band from Oregon, and they came to my town junior year of high school. They played at a club downtown that was only supposed to hold around 130 people but which, at that time, was at least 2 times over capacity. I think every fire code in the book was broken that night.
People broke open glow sticks and splattered them everywhere, which looks cool but also is really dangerous because I don’t want glow juice getting in my eye and blinding me…
And nearly everyone was high. I think that my friends and I were the only people lucid enough to understand exactly how sweaty and gross the crowd was. Every guy there thought it was a great idea to take his shirt off and rub himself against us.
But we still had a great time. The music was awesome, and kind of lulled me into a trance. And I’m always having a good time if I’m dancing.
Plus, I was wearing fishnets, and that was fun.

8. ZZ Top and Tom Petty
The summer before my senior year of high school, I went to Illinois with my parents to visit my grandmother. While we were there, we drove to Wisconsin to watch ZZ Top open for Tom Petty. In Madison, they have this huge music festival called Summerfest, which is basically just a million bands playing at the same time in the middle of the city. I guess you can carry open containers in Madison, and everyone was super drunk everywhere we went. The concert we were seeing wasn’t part of Summerfest, but it was right next door, so we got to experience all of the lovely, drunken idiots who were there.
Anyway, the concert was absolutely amazing. ZZ Top is the coolest band to see live! They looked exactly the same as they always have, of course, and they were just so…cool. They are so cool! I loved it. My parents were having so much fun, and my dad’s glee was pretty contagious, so we were all laughing and singing…I think that’s one of the nicest memories I have with my parents.
And then Tom Petty came out and totally rocked it, of course. I think he was wearing the same outfit as he was the first time I saw him. Ha! Best concert ever.
And then later I saw a girl throw up into a planter box on the streets of Madison. So that was cool, too.

9. Leon Russell
What a cutie. He’s so…cute! I don’t really know how else to explain it. He looks like the missing member of ZZ Top with that beard, and he played the whole concert sitting down playing keyboard and just smiling. And my dad was beside himself with happiness at finally getting to see him. I don’t remember that concert much either, mostly because the lady behind us was grumpy at me for 90% of it, but it was such fun to finally see someone I’d listened to for years with my dad.

10. A few months ago,I saw Lindsey Buckingham again, this time as a solo act. And my GOD did he rock out. That concert really solidified in my mind that he is one of the most amazing guitar players I’ve ever experienced. I was worried he’d only do his new material, but I thought he did an excellent job of mixing old with new, and even the songs I didn’t know I ended up being able to sing along to. He just danced around that tiny stage like he’d never aged at all. He actually still looks the same as he always has. And he makes jokes in between songs and was talking about being on the road and…I don’t know, I kinda just wanted to hug him. I’d had the worst, most anxious day that day and really hadn’t wanted to be in a crowd of people, but I’m so glad I went. Such fun.