Saturday, December 17, 2011

Take the Weather with You

Which meant taking the pouring rain all the way to Charlottesville and back.

And why else would I do that except for a show? Tonight's was Rachael Yamagata with Mike Viola opening at the Southern.

Arriving just in time to drop into Marco & Luca Noodle bar for dumplings and pork steamed buns, I filled my belly before heading around the corner for music.

Two ways I knew I wasn't in Richmond anymore: everyone sat on the stone floor for the show and in the entire crowd, I only saw three beards.

When Mike Viola came out, a few people made a feeble attempt to stand and he said, "It's okay. You can sit down. We can truly do the campfire thing."

He was an engaging performer and songwriter, sharing tidbits of his life through between-song banter and the songs themselves.

Introducing "Strawberry Blond," he said he wanted to write a purely pop song for his "girl," and then corrected that to "wife."

Favorite lyric: You are an optimist, You think everything works out.

I do indeed.

The crowd swelled before Rachael Yamagata came out and she prefaced her set by telling us, "I'm super into being down and depressed and all why doesn't it ever work out?"

I'm a big fan of her throaty voice, made even more so last night because she'd caught a cold and was on Sudafed,

When she introduced "Sunday Afternoon," she said, "This was definitely a soulmate loss story song."

It was during "Be Be Your Love" that a girl who'd been very vocal during the show stood up and in front of Rachael at the keyboards and began singing "I want, want, want to be your love."

Rachael laughed and when she didn't go away, finally said, "You seem to be a little aggressive."

And that was being kind.

After Rachael asked the girl her name, she asked Rachael for a kiss ("I have a cold," she reminded her) and kept on talking to her mid-song.

Finally the bass player started singing, "Please, Samantha, won't you walk away?" and she finally sat down.

She contented herself who whoo-whoos during the next few songs.

There were normal fans there, too, like Sissy Spacek and her handsome husband Jack Fisk (I didn't complain when he seated himself at my feet) and many who knew every word to every song.

"People often mistake the title of this song," Rachael said. "It's not 'Worn Me Down Like a Rug.' It's like a road, people, like a road," and launched into "Worn Me Down" which caused Samantha, the rabid fan, to exhort the audience to stand up and dance.

She was getting on everyone's nerves by this point. The band finished with "one more sad song" as Rachael's cold-ravaged voice began to break up and then it was all over.

Walking outside, I passed by several band members and wasn't surprised to see Samantha in the midst of them.

I heard one say, "Sure you can make out with me if you want to" and another say, "Of course I smoke weed."

I'm guessing all Samantha's dreams came true last night.

The drive home brought more weather with me, this time fog and drizzle, and a dilemma once I finally got home a little after 1:00.

Was it too late to go out after that?

I decided for the right company it was as good a time as any, and since I hadn't had any good conversation all evening, why not?

While I'd been waiting for the show to start,  the prerecorded music had been my entertainment. I heard Neil Young "Heart of Gold," MGMT "Kids" and, delightfully surprisingly, Crowded House's "Weather with You."

Hearing it, I could only think of one person who'd appreciate hearing that song like I would. Besides, I knew he'd want to hear about the show.

I was rewarded with Italian wedding cake, my favorite Bloc Party song (among many others) and a couple hours of laughter.

It's not about geography or happenstance
You need to fly and take a chance
You don't need to soar to emptiness
And float on high and forever dance alone

I'm with you on that one, Rachael.

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