Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Let fall your soft and swaying skirt. Let fall your shoes, let fall your shirt.

Sunday night, Rock N Roll Hotel. The Phillies had clinched the NL East title. I had just gotten back from a great night in New York. The roommate was kind enough to lend me her car. And Catherine was kind enough to give me an extra ticket to see Okkervil River and introduce me to obscene levels of DC bloggerati. So I had some momentum. But it was hot as nuts in there. I am telling you straight. As much as I love "So Come Back, I Am Waiting," its lurching lugubriousness (oh no he didn't - oh yes I did) forced me to concentrate on how everlovin' humid it was in there, including every drop of sweat and what sort of weird pattern said sweat was making on my shirt. I'm just saying - and I don't think I'm overstating my case here - a less couth blogga would say that it was like living under Jim Belushi's testicles. But I am not that uncouth. And I got through it.

Let's put aside my Irish adversion to any level of humidity, because that's not the point. Okkervil River put on one of the better shows I've seen recently. The more I listen to The Stage Names, the more I'm impressed by it, so let's just make it clear I'm a fan. Black Sheep Boy I like a lot, but here's the thing - I've always had this nagging impression that it sounded a little ramshackle. Nothing wrong with that. But seeing them live - they are absolutely crackerjack. Just a tight, tight band. Even if they were, as opener Damien Jurado said, depressed and tired, it really didn't show.

Someday I'll have to list the things that are indicative of a good show. I'll give you two from Sunday: I never looked at my watch and I danced. Just a little. But I moved the hips and shuffled my shoes. Which is Level 2 of my Dance Revolution. And that counts for something. Actually it counts for a lot; songs like "Unless It's Kicks" and "Black" had the power to move. And beyond that, slower songs like "A Girl in Port" (quickly becoming a favorite) were, to borrow a phrase, bonkers. I really can't put it better than that. If anything, "I Am Waiting" was the only momentum killer, but I honestly don't know if you can blame the band, and I know there were some people who loved it, heat aside. And this is after the band started with three songs that were not from the new album. Whichever way you slice it, and however romantic you want to be about it, it takes a lot of chicklets to not bring the new stuff to the table immediately. Of course, the crowd wouldn't and didn't care, and the reaction to the older songs in the encore bear that out.

And that's the last point: bravo to the crowd. These guys were here for the show and not the scene. It's nice to see that.

Listen here for yourself, and experience the magic/music of the night, sans Belushi's-testicle-level humidity.

And a couple additions to my top ten list:
- Jimmy Rollins (On what would happen if the Phillies win the pennant: "I don't know. A couple thousand more babies might be born.")
- Rice crackers from Trader Joe's
- Having the cash in hand to buy three albums today. It's really underrated pulling a regular paycheck.

Remind me, internet: I still have to tell you about the new New Pornographers, The Stage Names, new Springsteen, new PJ Harvey, the Wrens, and the Pipettes album. We'll see if I can come up with something that boils down to more than "It's awesome!"


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