Monday, August 18, 2014

Clap My Hands

Who wouldn't want her Sunday to begin with an affair to remember?

It would be a juicier blog post if I'd been the one having the affair, but it was Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant in the 1957 (back when money was called lettuce and women called tomatoes) romance classic of that name.

Buying my ticket at Movieland, I could guess which people in line ahead of me were headed to the same flick: all the women.

I saw only one man in the entire theater and he was old and coughed through all the romantic scenes.

The story couldn't have been more basic: two engaged people - Nickie and Terry - meet on an ocean liner (where they regularly get telegrams) and fall madly in love.

Oh, to have been alive during the golden, glamour days of ocean liners as the preferred method of trans-Atlantic travel!

Sure she tries to fight Nickie's charm with lines such as, "My mother told me never enter a man's room in months ending in R." But he's irresistible.

Her favorite beverage is pink champagne, making her my personal hero, never more so than when they decide to abandon the nosy people at the bar. She dips a finger in her champagne and dabs it behind her ear as she leaves with Nickie.

It must be effective because they're soon goo-goo eyed about each other.

Moral of the story (as stated by Nickie's French grandmother): There's nothing wrong with Nickie that a good woman couldn't fix.

With that information to fortify me, I left for a date myself, albeit not on the USS Constitution.

My date had chosen a progressive meal beginning with wings on Starlite's patio and Tom Jones' "Delilah" on the speakers (followed by Player and Rush - explain that connection to me).

We chose Secco next, hoping to hit the sweet spot between brunch and the evening crowd and with the exception of a large party who'd brought a child (to a wine bar, really?) who was now sprawled on the floor beside the imbibing adults ignoring her, we succeeded.

Taking a page from Terry's book, we ordered Lucien Crochet Pinot Sancerre Rose, as beautiful to the eye (later, a nearby table had to know what we were drinking) as on the palate.

Pru will be so envious, eager as she's been to sip pink Sancerre.

To accompany such loveliness, we had housemade herb sausage with apricot puree, smoky goat cheese-stuffed squash blossoms and Grayson cheese while the music ranged from Talking Heads to Prince to the Police.

But the topic of the hour was the soundtrack to "Fading Gigolo," a treasure trove of '60s Italian and French jazz which I'd fallen hard for when I'd seen the movie and which the owner had just gotten from Plan 9 Records.

Swoon-worthy romantic music.

Our final grazing spot was Level, a place I'd been several times but one he'd never set foot in, so we noshed on spicy Thai tropical shrimp (points for the mango and asparagus) and an angry drago roll stuffed with tempura shrimp, spicy tuna and sliced papaya.

We were the only table for most of our meal until two other couples arrived to give the staff something to do.

Only then, after five hours of eating and talking were we ready to go to the show that was the primary reason for our date in the first place.

Clap Your Hands, Say Yeah was playing at the Camel, making for a stellar opportunity to see a band that could play a far bigger venue in a small one.

Just so you know, they are the band that made my friend Andrew want to be my friend.

Years ago, we were driving to a video shoot and discussing music and when I mentioned bands I liked, it was Clap Your Hands, Say Yeah that made him sit up and take notice of my musical taste.

To him, they were the band that established my musical bona fides. All these years later, we've been to scads of shows together.

So the band holds a special place in my musical heart.

Colin and Caroline played first and we stood in the back to watch this local duo cover MGMT ("Kids"), Disclosure ("Latch") and do a few original songs.

Anticipating a crush of people soon, I had the brilliant idea to take up residence on the top of the back-most booth where we were out of the fray with room for our bevvies and a sight line over the heads of the crowd.

Short girl score.

CYHSY's lead singer Alec Ounsworth did a solid solo set next and the tragic part was how many people talked loudly through his set, probably oblivious to who was playing, namely the leader of the band they'd paid to see.

After playing "Yankee Go Home," appropriate because he said he was headed back to Philly tonight, he told the noisy room, "These aren't songs the band is going to play," but it didn't seem to shut anyone up.

I know the Camel isn't a listening room, but, sheesh, you'd think people would want to hear the music.

Now, when Alec and CYHSY came out, it was a different story.

From the first notes, the band played the herky-jerky indie dance pop that the fans had come to hear.

In no time, the room was dancing and singing along, totally enthralled with every song the band did.

The first song of theirs anyone remembers, "Is This Love?" got a wildly enthusiastic reaction, as did "In This Home on Ice" and "Gimme Some Salt."

People were doing call and response on "Satan Said Dance" and, yes, dancing just like the devil said to.

Tonight was the final night of a three week tour with no days off and the band sounded as tight as you'd expect after playing for 21 days straight.

Even better, despite it being nine years since that first album, they appeared to be having a lot of fun playing. Bass player Matt especially was fun to watch as he smiled and danced as if he were having a ball.

For that matter, so was I. The only thing missing from my all day affair was putting a little Rose behind my ears.

There's always next time.

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