Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Navigating by the Stars at Night
So there were two more acts left in the grand play that I like to call Rogtober. Although there wasn’t any actual Roger Clyne involved. So perhaps last weekend was simply the third weekend in October and that spade should be called a spade. But that’s no fun. Anyway, Saturday was my long anticipated Mike Doughty show. And when I say “long anticipated,” I mean, “I’ve been trying to get to a Mike Doughty show for two or three years now, but events have always conspired against me.” And this time was almost no different, since the man played four shows at Shuba’s last week. FOUR SHOWS. FOUR SHOWS THAT WERE ALL SOLD OUT BY THE TIME I REALIZED IT. Sorry. I’ll stop yelling now. So off to Milwaukee I went. I’m tired of Milwaukee. Although this time it didn’t try to keep me from getting back to Chicago, which is nice. Chicago did try to reject me on my way back, though. I got in a traffic jam on 294. At 12:20 on a Sunday morning. I have no idea what they were doing to that friggin’ road, but it took me twenty minutes to go two miles at a time when there was no damn good reason for anyone to be up. I finally ditched the whole idea at 90 and did the 90-94-55 route, which is slightly farther to drive, but thirty miles at seventy miles per hour is way better than 20 miles at zero miles per hour. It’s basic math, people. You know, a train leaves Chicago headed west at 50 miles per hour. At the same time a train leaves San Francisco headed east at 60 miles per hour. How long do the passengers have until the trains collide? What small Plains down will be destroyed in the process? Sadly, I have no pictures or video. I didn’t take my camera with me because I have a theory that Mike Doughty is one of the proponents of the aboriginal belief that by taking his picture I would take his soul. So I assumed that if I took his picture he would destroy my camera in an attempt to take his soul back. Either that or I forgot my camera. Whichever explanation makes the most sense. Actually, Mike Doughty is of quite the convivial mindset. He even asked me if I wanted him to sign my CD while I was just standing around minding my own business. The CD, meanwhile, was a recording of that very concert, which is pretty damn cool. So, on the off chance you want to bask in my awesomeness, here’s what I heard on Saturday: Tremendous Brunettes Sunken-Eyed Girl I Just Want the Girl in the Blue Dress to Keep On Dancing Ossining Madeline and Nine (I Keep On) Rising Up Down on the River By the Sugar Plant Grey Ghost Circles Your Misfortune I Hear the Bells Navigating by the Stars at Night Looks Thank You Lord for Sending Me the F-Train Rising Sign (You Should Be) Doubly (Gratified) Put it Down Soft Serve The Gambler (yup, a Kenny Rogers cover…) Encore Break* White Lexus 27 Jennifers Looking at the World from the Bottom of a Well It now occurs to me that this was a heavy Haughty Melodic show, which is kind of crazy since he put out a brand new CD, like, two weeks ago and only played three songs from it. By the by, Sad Man Happy Man is totally worth a spin. Doughty also had my second-favorite concert gimmick ever. My favorite, for those who care, was from a series of Local H shows a couple years ago. Upon entering the venue you could write down five Local H songs. The set list for that night would then be based on audience consensus. That’s pretty awesome. Doughty had The Question Jar. We were encouraged to write out questions and put them in the jar. Throughout the night they answered the questions. They ranged from, “Do you believe we each have only one soul mate?” (I learned that the Hebrew word for soulmate is “bashaert.” Thanks, Mike Doughty) to, “Gregory Peck?” (Absolutely). Good times were had by all. Oh, and I learned in the aftermath of that traffic jam that Scott Lucas probably composed “Heavy Metal Bake Sale” while scooting down 90 and hitting the 90-94 merge at one of those points when traffic is heavy but not so heavy that people aren’t doing 75. I just happened to be at that point in Whatever Happened to P.J. Soles? when I hit the merge and spent the next several minutes trying not to get killed. “Heavy Metal Bake Sale” was the perfect accompaniment. And, actually, the rest of P.J. Soles worked pretty well, too. I was back there last night in similar conditions but coming in from the 94 side of the merge. I learned that the Manic Street Preachers’ “Stay Beautiful” and the Stone Roses’ “Love Spreads” are almost as perfect. So I think I’ve created a whole new genre of driving music. There’s “music for cruising,” “music for driving fast,” and now “music for not getting killed.” And because I haven’t put enough miles on my car this month, I made a last-minute decision on Friday to drive to Bloomington, IL. Did you see what I did there? I went back a day. Anyway, Jessi Lynn and Sarah Peacock were doing a thing down in Bloomington and I had nothing else to do since I’m a massive dork who lacks a social life. I guess. It’s the most likely explanation at the moment. I pretty much dropped about 75% of my social life a year and a half ago and I’m only now starting to rebuild. But that’s a story for another night. That was a fun trip, too. I had to stop to go to the bathroom at a gas station in Pontiac, which took forever, since I also grabbed a bottle of water. The guy at the counter was watching Fox News, which pretty much made me dumber (damn you, Sean Hannity!). He also insisted the guy in front of me in line pay with as many pennies as possible. I think he knew I was in a hurry and that I’m some sort of Big City Librul, so he was trying to fuck with me. Either way, a bit after 9 pm on a Saturday I found myself walking down a sidewalk in Bloomington, IL, which is really high on the list of places I have no business being. Jessi Lynn walked out of the place and over to her car and either didn’t see me or simply didn’t recognize me. So I wandered over and said, “So what’s a girl like you doing in a place like this?” That’s officially the only time in my life I’ll ever say that. But it amused the hell out of me. And she was happy to see me. So was Sarah. I did have my camera for that. Sadly, the acoustics of the place were horrible and the battery was only at about 50% at the start. Oh, and there was background noise. And I have no video editing skills to speak of. Still, here’s a bit of salvageable work: Jessi Lynn, “Your Hand” Jessi Lynn, “I’m Still Waiting for You” Sarah Peacock, “Straight for Your Heart” And now I have an assignment for my newly self-identified Dallas contingent (Ha! That’s what you get!). Jessi and Sarah will be there on Saturday at 9 playing at some place called Jack’s Backyard at 2303 Pittman. Apparently it’s free. So go, and tell them that I said, “Hi” (although you might want to refer to me as “Brian,” since they, like the vast majority of people I know in real life, don’t know me as “Geds”). Oh, and tell them you’re a part of the Dallas branch of my fan club. That’ll impress ‘em. ----------------------------- *He introduced “Soft Serve” as the “song before the fake last song,” whereupon he announce that they would play two more songs, then he and Andrew “Scrap” Livingston would turn around for a few moments, then they’d turn back with a look of surprise on their faces and play three more songs. It was amusingly meta.