After talking to Michael about our night at Mr. Smalls, I may have screwed up the chronology of things, but hey, I’m old, what do you expect?
I did remember this detail which I meant to share. When we met Noah, he was carrying his “performing shoes” which instantly reminded me of Paul Westerberg. They were white leather with pointy toes with a buckle across the instep. Much like this. When I told him that he made me think of Paul, he thought that was cool.
Last to emerge from the van was pretty, petite Anna Bulbrook. She met us with a smile, chatted a bit (She had her formal musical training in Boston) and apologized for having to move on, but she just had to get into some air-conditioning. I guessed traveling in a van with four hunky male musicians all across the US might warrant asking for some comfort wherever one girl might find it… She graciously posed and signed “Linda – Always a Pleasure! X X ANNA” in my magazine and off she went in her cheerleader outfit and if I remember, ballet slippers.
Shortly after, we were inside admiring the architecture and ambiance of Mr. Smalls. Mike and I found a nice spot at the end of the bar to hang, with the intention of going up closer to the stage when the music started. While we were standing there and it was starting to get crowded, I noticed a girl next to me, having a hard time gathering up about 8 bottles of Heineken from the bar. I leaned over and said that she looked like she might need help and she thanked me and asked me to follow her. We were delivering beers to The Band as it turned out and she motioned for me to hand one to “that guy” who turned out to be a smiling Noah who said “Are they putting you to work now???” and thanked me.
The first band who played was Electric Touch and I was really liking them. I’ve gotten four of their songs on iTunes. Here are some YouTube vids of them. Love In Our Hearts, Call My Name, Saved, and Sonic Touch (which I can’t seem to find a link for.) They had great stage presence and wonderful dance-ability. I spoke to one of the band members after their set and told him that I thought they had a great sound and he seemed real happy about that. Ok, yes, he was cute too. I did notice.
So by the time that Airborne Toxic Event came onstage, I was all warmed up. We were lucky to find ourselves about ten feet from the stage, a little bit to the left of center. I was thrilled that they played every single song that I wanted to hear. Even after having listened to them for months, I still can’t say that I have a favorite song of theirs. One by one I’ve dissected the lyrics; every note, hook and bridge and by the time I get through a song, I like it as much as the one before it. When they played Innocence, though, it took me to an entirely other place. It starts off with an ethereal viola played by Anna. I closed my eyes and just let the melody take me away. A few minutes into it, I was aware of a change in the sound. I opened my eyes and there was Noah, picking up where she left off, but playing his bass with a bow. It was truly awesome. It sounds like an entire orchestra is playing. Learning what I have about their background and what’s been happening in Mikel’s life the past year and a half since the band has been performing together, all their music has more meaning and depth for me. A lot, ok, most of their music is about the harsher side of life, the struggles we all face, heartbreak, loneliness- but it’s as if there was a conscious decision to take the sadness and angst (love that word) of the lyrics and put them to upbeat, exciting, in-your-face music. Which totally appealed to me from the very beginning.
As Mikel has a background in writing, his lyrics are descriptive and heartfelt and even haunting sometimes. I actually got tears in my eyes listening to them play Sometime Around Midnight. Not surprising, it often makes me cry. His stage presence was one to behold. He comes across quite genuinely humble but with just a teeny bit of cockiness… I think inside he knows damn well that he’s a genius. So we let the cocky part slide. It’s just barely there, I don’t think it even got noticed by most of the audience. I think he’s earned it anyway. Like when I asked if he’d take his glasses off for the picture. The way he chirped “nope” was so cool. With the accent on the “P”. It was with a tiny little smirk as if he was saying don’t even think of f—ing with me. That’s all I have to say about that ;-P
On that note, I can’t keep my eyes open another minute. My fantasy about being a music journalist (and why Almost Famous is one of my favorite movies) ? I don’t think I’d be very good at it. It’s hard work. But it would be oh so much fun!