Monday, April 4, 2011

Attitude Adjustment

Walk away from the computer. That's what I had to tell myself after hours of working without moving, to the point where my shoulders were knotted and my brain no longer firing on all cylinders. Time to step away from my desk.

I stepped all the way to Grace Street for Live at Ipanema and to hear Mark Brown of Louisiana Territory. I arrived as things were being set up, allowing enough time to get some Vino Verde and a piece of delicately moist coconut cake. Thus fortified, I was ready for the music I so desperately needed.

Despite knowing several of the guys in Louisiana Territory, I have never seen them perform together. Tonight I was getting Mark on acoustic guitar and Tyler on electric, making for stripped-down versions of some of the band's material.

And material worth hearing it was. "I'll Just Go on Anyway" was both a song title and the title of  book Mark's grandfather had written; the song was about a discussion between his father and grandfather.

They covered Ryan Adams' "16 Days" admirably. Mark mentioned being introduced to David Bazan's music last year and listening obsessively to it ever since, so they covered one of his as well.

The crowd was smaller than usual for a Live at Ipamena event, but, let's face it, it was a crazily busy weekend in RVA and undoubtedly a lot of people  were done with going out by 10:30 on Sunday night. I was not among them.

I was fortunate to find several friends in place when I got there. The ballet composer heard me wax poetic about his music (and deservedly so), the biologist described an avant garde German film he was hoping I could identify (I couldn't) and the friend who was just back from playing MacRock recommended a Philly band he'd heard that he's sure I'll like (just listened; I do).

Once the music began, there were times when the crowd chatter became overly loud. Finally Mark introduced the ideal song for that crowd. "This is for those times when you're up here playing and no one's listening. I don't want to be that guy and guilt anyone or anything," he said disingenuously. As a result, a few people were a little quieter for a few minutes before resuming chatter as usual.

From Mark's stage banter, I learned that some songs are created by guitarists sitting in their underwear in their bedrooms (confirmed, albeit reluctantly, by two nearby guitarists). That's a new musical visual for me and one I won't soon forget.

I'm a big fan of Tyler's guitar playing and I found it interesting to watch as he modified his playing to accommodate the simpler arrangements being played tonight. After the show, he mentioned how very different it was to be playing the songs as they had originally begun. Getting back to basics, so to speak, and we were the lucky audience who got to hear that return to simpler sounds.

After the post-show mingling, I got my check and a guy nudged me to ask bartender Brandon what they didn't take (referring to plastic). "American Express...and attitude," he deadpanned.

Good thing I'd left my attitude back at my computer with my fried brain. Wait, what attitude?


  1. I don't know why you wouldn't have assumed that thing about underwear by now.

  2. Not sure whqt you mean when you say "by now." At my age? Because I know so many guitarists? Or because it should have been perfectly obvious?

    I can't say I sit around in my underwear in my bedroom and do much of anything.

  3. I think it may be a guy thing. We have a thing that we feel we need to do, and pants are not absolutely necessary, so pants will not be a part of the process.

  4. Alrighty then. It certainly gives me a whole new perspective on my musician friends. Do horn players do the same?

  5. I have no experience with anything other than fully-clothed horn sections.