Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Til Death Do Us Part

Given my love of music from a cave, I would probably marry it, except it would undoubtedly leave me at the altar in a haze of fuzzy reverb. After a rebound period, I would then marry post-rock, secure in its dynamic shifts, swelling soundscapes and implied but unsung words.

But before I gave myself over to post-rock tonight, I walked up to the Belvidere at Broad for dinner. Moments after sitting down, co-owner Dave walked over and asked, "So what show are you going to tonight?" I don't know what made him presume I was going to a show. Then I told him which one.

His wife Julie told me that since the weather got warm, people have stopped drinking red wine, so I pulled the perverse card and got a glass of Penfolds Thomas Hyland Adelaide Shiraz. As a good neighbor, I was merely helping to work down the dark fruit inventory.

But I did let the weather dictate my food and ordered the hearty Nicoise salad (roasted red  peppers, marinated artichokes, grilled asparagus, new potatoes, shallots, grilled portabella, hard-boiled eggs, fresh mozzarella and olives over mesclun in a balsamic vinaigrette),

 It was the only salad on their menu I hadn't had before and I can't believe it took me this long to try such a satisfying and savory combination. I almost got it with rare ahi tuna, but decided to give it a try the way the chef had designed it first. A smart move because it was a perfect balance of flavors.

I stayed longer than I intended because Julie joined me for some girl talk and gossip, always a treat when I expect a solo meal. She even went so far as to consider some guys she knows as possible set-ups for me ("They've got to be smart or you won't be interested, I know") now that I've shifted into available mode. There are so many benefits to dining with neighbors.

After  a quick and breezy walk home to get the car, I drove to the National for Explosions in the Sky. The usual wristband guy greeted me with a hug and another ID guy I didn't recognize asked where I'd been. Maybe I do go to the National a little too often.

Scratch that.

I walked in just as the Octopus Project was taking the stage and found my friend in the Karen spot and he was as excited as I was about the show. Their sound was a hybrid of pop, experimental and in parts almost post-rock for its infrequent vocals.

Electronica meshed with guitars and drums and the occasional vocal and, in one of my favorite band moves, they switched instruments. I can't help but admire the multi-talented.

I told my (multi-talented) friend afterwards how much I'd liked these guys, although, unlike EITS, they didn't elicit the same emotional reaction. It was really well-done music, though.

I first saw Explosions in the Sky three years ago at the Norva and I missed two-thirds of the show (it's a tragic story, one I prefer to forget) so I felt I was overdue to finally see an entire performance. Tres Generations in hand, sold-out mostly male crowd emitting body heat all around me, I was ready for my delayed musical reward.

They took the stage and welcomed us to "a rock performance" before launching into their non-stop musical symphonies with varying volumes (there were lots of earplugs) and dramatic, intricate guitars over hard-hitting drums. No lyrics, no between-song banter. And when they're finished, like last time, no encore.

I wouldn't presume to speak for other people, but it's the emotional response they elicit when I hear them that is most unique about their sound. It's impossible not feel caught up in feeling what they're playing.I wouldn't try; that's why I'm there. Maybe I just need that kind of catharsis.

Post rock, I do.


  1. this one is poetry... very nice arc.

  2. where'd you disappear to after the show? waited but couldn't find you!

  3. gmlb: Maybe I've been inspred by the wonderful poetry I've been hearing read lately.

    nicholas: The talented one and I went over to Gibson's for raspberry-habanero wings and bevvies. Got great seats to watch the band load out and have their picture taken with fans. Great fun!