I’ve had a love affair with music as long as I can remember. I’d say since I quit actively working in the industry (let’s see… 2005 is when I quit working (*cough*gotunjustlyfired*HACK* sorry it’s the truth) with Angie Aparo and 2006 is when It’s A Gas stopped, I believe?) there hasn’t been much music that’s grabbed me by the throat, ripped my clothes off, and entered every pore in my body and made out with me until I couldn’t take it any more and I writhed in musical ecstacy.
Ahem. I swear I’m not a fangirl. 😛 Really.. Okay. Maybe I am, to a point.
There are a notable few bands I’ve had love affairs with over the years. Please note: I WORKED WITH THE BANDS. NOT ON THEM. (In this, I am unlike Penny Lane… But I have the coat. So I am a bit Pennylike in ways.)
I worked on this post for a couple weeks, and I figured it’s very fitting for my last post of the month. At this time, I’m probably somewhere in Las Vegas.. or being felt up by the TSA. 🙂
On with the list:
Dave Matthews Band – Uh. yeah. No question here. I did my High School Senior Research on them, ffs. (the webpage exists. I pretend it doesn’t.) I definitely have slacked off seeing them in the past years, but I can guarantee since about mid 1996, I have ALWAYS listened to DMB at least once a week in some form.
Minarets 12.3.98 – wasn’t at this show, but it’s arguably one of the best they’ve ever done, and definitely one of the best of the year.
Agents of Good Roots – So as I get into DMB from tape trading, I meet a guy named John from Virginia. And he’s a cool dude. At the time, attended CUA, is a (really talented) musician (and writer) himself, and really loves tape trading. And he sends me a GOB of tapes with a note “I think you will REALLY like these guys.” (hey John did I ever tell you thanks? Crap. If I didn’t… THANK YOU. But I’m pretty sure I have. 😀 )
Thus started my fandom, obsession, whatever, with what I call my favorite band in the world.
Seriously. There isn’t one song I dislike from these guys. I’ve listened to them for.. 13 + years now. I always lived far away. The one show that I knew about that they played in Kansas I was unable to go for a multitude of reasons. And then it was “okay, we’re going on indefinite hiatus, we’re not going to play as AGR much anymore.”
Oh man, was I heartbroken. I tried desperately to make it out to Alley Katz for NYE 2001, and couldn’t (mainly b/c I had already been to DC once earlier that year).
Then 2003 rolls around. (I think. I’m actually completely blanking on the date. September ish). My friend Echo (@SoldierOfMars on Twitter) is coming out to visit me from California. We decide to head up to the northeast, I think I had to work or something. Anyway, we end up in DC on a night when Agents.. IS PLAYING. OH MY GOD I GET TO SEE AGENTS. John picks us up and we all go to this little hole in the wall (that I miss so much) called Jammin Java.
We get amazing seats. They take the stage. My mind is blown. Period. I’ve never ever been rocked that hard in my entire life. They took any bit of musical love I had, blew on it until it was as big as a balloon, popped it, and raised the bar so much that night.
I managed to catch them again at IOTA (which I think was the only time I’ve been to IOTA… I think?) in 05 or 06 – John took me there too… Did we go twice? Too tired. can’t remember without digging out my ticket stubs….. and finally, the last show I saw them at.. Alley Katz in Richmond 6/17/06. I ended up going by myself, I had just moved to Virginia about a month earlier. I ended up seeing John Smalls there (see Pat McGee Band further down) and met all of AGR that night. i think i was a blubbering fool because.. seriously, i don’t get starstruck, but I’ve been a fan for HOW LONG and just so many emotions tied to their music. They are nothing but generous and kind and amazing individuals. What an amazing band. I miss them so much. But their CDs are nothing, NOTHING short of brilliant. Far ahead of their time, and more class than most of the bands you hear on the radio.
Where’d You Get That Vibe? – HOLY CRAP THEY LOOK SO YOUNG.
Bela Fleck and the Flecktones – the only band that I’ve seen close to 100 times (Bela over 100 in various incarnations). I was blessed to meet them as full band a very long time ago – 10+ years ago already? The first time I met Victor Wooten I had just fallen down half a flight of stairs at the Crown in Cincy 11.21.98 and faceplanted while my crutches were about 10 steps up. I remember rolling over, feeling a very very very intense pain in my leg (I had a straight leg brace in preparation for my surgery the following March), looked up, and heard “OH WOW ARE YOU OKAY?” I blink and go “uh. You’re Victor Wooten, why are you asking ME if I’m okay?” “because that was an amazing fall?” He helps me up, I stutter a bit, he cracks a joke, and I get up to my seat.
I ended up meeting them I believe the next year at a small venue, and instantly they made me feel like I was part of the “Family” as it were. I’ve pulled tapes from front of board with permission (degree of difficultly slightly lower than surviving being dunked in hot lava). I stay in touch as best as I can with them, I’ve had some of the most amazingly mindblowing conversations with each and every one of them.
They epitomize and transcend the word “musician”.
Virginia Coalition – Ever hear a band go through so many musical transformations it no longer matters who is in the band as long as they keep playing? That’s Virginia Coalition (aka Vaco) for me. VaCo is one of my top 3 favorite bands, period.
I can’t pick between these two, because they really show the difference between the “older VaCo” and the “newer VaCo”. Plus, I was at both of these shows. And Voyager II is one of the themes of my lifetime.
I really need to see these guys more often, as much as I can. If and when I own my venue (it would take approximately $1.7mil and that counts using an existing building and getting it up to code… not that I may or may not have several business plans … ), they will be one of the first shows. (Virginia Coalition opening for The Frames? You guys up for it? Please?)
Carbon Leaf – I got into Carbon Leaf approximately the same time as Jump, Little Children, Emmet Swimming (actually, this one might be in debate, but I know I got tapes of them in this box), and Angie Aparo. All thanks to a guy named Nick Doyle who decided to send me some tapes after he found out I was having a pretty nasty knee surgery.
Again… if I never told you thanks, I owe them to you a million times over.
I actually don’t remember the first time I actually -saw- Carbon Leaf either! I’d have to look it up. I do remember seeing them over and over and over. I also remember walking up one time and literally being pulled through the door (while security is going “uh scuse me wtf are u doin”) and being informed that “this is our merch girl and no one else tonight, give her nothing but the best”.
Carbon Leaf has brought me some amazing friends (hai Charles!) and they are very unique. I go through spurts with them where sometimes I cannot stand anything but the older music… other times I can never get enough of the newer.
I have been debating internally which video to put up here, and it’s just going to have to be the one that won the first American Music Award for best new artist back in 2002. And hey, the video is a mashup of one of my favorite shows as well 😀
Better Than Ezra – Ugh.. Well, I have a love hate relationship with this band. I love, and simply adore, their music. No matter what my personal thoughts are, their music is pretty solid. (And it hasn’t changed in over 10+ years, which I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing. But it’s the truth.)
And here’s the evil truth about my love/hate relationship, but it might illuminate the subject a bit. Not really proud of this, but it happened almost 10 years ago, so I’m kinda over the “backlash” from anything that could come of it.. Also this is my blog, so there! : I helped run the un/official street team for this band (for the CD “Closer”) until I started getting death threats from their message board groupies who couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t want to fuck the band, to give them their heart’s desires, they were the best band on earth and “HOW DARE YOU TELL THEM NO.”
True story. Still have that note somewhere with that quote too. The Chicago HOB show I was getting drinks tossed on me from the top balcony (at least they didn’t break my camera), I had an anonymous note left on my car at a show in Des Moines that said if I would go to the next night I wouldn’t make it home (and security at that venue laughed at me, thank god the cops did not)… etc etc etc.
BTE’s fans (termed Ezralites) are rabid for their band. And that’s great. Some of the nicest people I’ve ever met (hello at you English Dave) are Ezralites. And some of the craziest and most clinically insane are too.
The band themselves were very nice and thoughtful when it came to running the team until the message board and the groupies started turning green and being insane. Then the band quit contacting me and basically dropped off the face of the earth. Even now if I go to shows, most of them will not look me in the eye or come up and say hi (except Jim. Because Jim’s awesome.) So.. I don’t know. This may sound slightly stalkerish, and it’s not meant to; they don’t really owe me anythin.. no f that. I really wish they’d have given me an apology. I never got one. Maybe I’m a bit bitter. Oh well.
I saw them last in August here in Wichita at the Zoo, and it was an amazing show, caught up with Dave, met a few more wonderful ladies, and I was totally thrilled I went.
I still have great memories of running all over creation in 2001 – from the shows in Arkansas with Convoy opening to Travis’ birthday at the Quest Club in Minneapolis to many many other shows. Despite ALL of this, I STILL love their music.
mainly because of this song. (Under You)
So. MANY. memories.
Pat McGee Band – So a long time ago, while I was getting Dave Matthews Tapes, a guy named Morgan throws in a tape of a band I had only heard about named the Pat McGee Band. And I found out that holy crap, they harmonize, they’re amazing musicians, they’re quirky as hell, and they rock.
And I LOVE them. I flew to DC in July of 2001 to see DC on July 4 and to see Wolf Trap with Sister Hazel and PMB. I hit I think 4? Wolf Traps in a row with PMB. Absolutely amazing nights, every time. I’ve seen PMB a LOT in MANY different states and every time I never know what to expect – except a hell of a time.
I have a stuffed cat named Tumbles. He has a brother named Tickles who has visited many stages with PMB and the percussionist Chardy. Tumbles came out on 8-29-01 after I decided randomly after an AMAZING UTTERLY AMAZING SHOW AND NIGHT in Columbia after a Blue Note (my favorite venue in the world) show (Hi Bill! Robin! uh. everyone else! :D). PMB were opening for the Allmans at Sandstone, and I impulsively went with a friend of mine. We ended up pretty close down, and I ran to the barrier and tossed Tumbles on stage to Chardy. Since then he’s been on stage at Wolf Trap more than once, in other places in VA, MO, KS, NYC, NC, IL i think, OH, PA… I can’t even count by now. Maybe more than that. But it’s always fun, and it’s always interesting where Tumbles will end up at the end of a show. One time at Ziggy’s he got catnapped and decided he wanted to drive the van PMB was taking to the airport. Goooooooood times. (Hysterical.)
I would be 100% remiss if I did not add this, because it’s terribly true: We all miss you CW.
The Frames – Once is the reason I know about the Frames. That movie really inspired me and made me think about a lot of things.
And then.. I saw The Swell Season live. And my world has NEVER BEEN THE SAME SINCE.
Do you want to know why?
I’ve never. EVER. seen ANYONE. do THIS before –
I’ll wait to finish the post until those 2 and a half minutes are done.
Did you watch? Good. Are you like *blink blink* holy shit? Then you properly have been introduced to the magicalness of Glen Hansard.
Ignore the fact the a/v isn’t synced. Close your eyes and LISTEN. TO. THIS. SONG. Let it take control of you.
I so wish I could say I’ve seen the Frames 30 or 40 times. I’ve seen the Swell Season once and the Frames none.
This has to change sometime. Period.
Okay, so I think this post is very much long enough. I need to start working on the second post, with MORE bands! Yes, more… and you can verify my insanity that would be my musical tastes in life.