Hello, blog. I am sorry it has been almost five months. Truly.
Some things in life are precious. You should enjoy every sandwich. Dance like no one is laughing. You know.
Tonight I saw The Henry Clay People in Cincinnati. It is the eighth state, ninth city, and somewhere between 16h – 20th venue I’ve seen them play. It is something like my 35th or 45th show. I dunno anymore.
That’s really weird. It’s not normal. Most people don’t see any bands in that many places, let alone that many shows. Like, people don’t do that. But The Henry Clay People are probably my all-time favorite band, if I’m being honest with myself.
Seeing friendly faces in far-off lands kinda makes me want to cry sometimes.
It’s always fun to see The Henry Clay People destroy a crowd of 350 at The Satellite (no, Spaceland), in LA, where friends and familiars are in abundance. But it’s really special to see them kill it for 40 real-deal Cincinnati folks. Precious memories. All-time top five HCP show. Out of 35 or 45. In nine cities. 15 or so venues. I don’t know anymore. But it was that good.
This ain’t a scene… they say rock n’ roll lost its teeth… all the bands we ever loved are selling out and breaking up… but tramps like us, baby, we were born to run. We don’t read fine print…
Twenty-Five for the Rest of Our Lives is my favorite record of the year so far. Stop the presses. I know. You didn’t see that coming. I’ve no pretenses; The Henry Clay People are my favorite band and I effuse their praise with regularity. The most unreliable of narrators am I. My take on the record after the jump.
Usually my annual trip to Coachella, the Pop-Up Utopia, is rife with meaning and self-discovery. This year I just packed-up my shit, drove out to the desert, and had a great weekend. It was my eighth Coachella. So strange.
It was my third year covering Coachella for Buzz Bands and the first time in four years (I think) that I’ve not had my chummer Travis Woods at my side. (Missed you, pookie!) In fact, I only ran into people I knew twice all weekend. I wasn’t lonely, though. There are lots of people at Coachella.
I was too lazy to book a hotel months in advance and settled on dropping $85 to camp-onsite. It went better than expected. There’s a decent chance I camp next year, too.
The big story of Coachella this year was, of course, that the same festival was put-on two consecutive weekends. I’m an OG and went to Week 1. The big story of that week was the weather. It was the most temperate Coachella in my experience by about 15 degrees, and easily 25 degrees cooler than the average I expect.
The lineup lived up to its billing. Last year, reunions were weak. This year they were formidable. I didn’t see many buzzy-bands, but the ones I did see batted about .500. Coachella’s identity used to shift year to year (some years gothy, others rave-y, others brotacular) but in recent years they’ve hit an equilibrium. Something for everyone, truly.
After eight years of attendance, Coachella feels to me less like a hot new girlfriend and more like an old love. That suits my disposition just fine. More after the jump.
This post has been sitting in my queue, half-written, for over two weeks. It is silly to do a “Field Report” post just before I start writing-up the full catalog of Coachella 2012 memories that linger still, except that the asymmetry would drive me nuts.
Day 3 was a short one for me. Camping would be on lock-down from 10pm to 2am; I could either skip the night sets I wanted to see or go to work sleepless. I did the grownup thing. Disappointing, I know.
Yesterday was just about perfection. Beautiful weather all day, save for a chilly night. Didn’t even need sunscreen. I ate a delicious waffle sandwich thing. I liked Radiohead as much as I’m ever going to. Squeeze, Jeff Magnum (Neutral Milk Hotel), and Buzzcocks also got struck off the bucket list.
I got 15 minutes of laptop power, with the screen at maximum dim, so details will have to wait for later in the week.
I’m camping this year, so internet access is limited to 8:00a-3:00a in a public tent. (I wish it opened at 6:00a…) Field reports are brief this year.
I am camping and it rained and was cold last night and my air mattress won’t inflate. I feel very alive right now, which is to say, I am aware that Earth is a horrible place to station life. But having a blast!
Great day yesterday. Arctic Monkeys-to-Madness-to-Pulp-to-Mazzy Star followed by Explosions in the Sky and Refused is a goddamned indulgence.
Wall of sound, pop hooks, and British origin are to be regarded with suspicion in my realm. I can’t help but love The Vaccines, though. I love their record. “A Lack of Understanding” has been rollercoastering around my dome all week, though “Norgaard” is probably more representative of their work. Surfer Blood might be an American analog. I hope they kill it at Coachella.
Baby Hawk (Part III of III), the final entry in Rademacher‘s three-disc collection of concept albums detailing the exploits of fictional, semi-autobiographical Silverlake band Baby Hawk, came out last week. This project began last July, and Rademacher has saved the best installment for last. My musings after the break.
The Indianapolis Colts released Peyton Manning today. During the past season I was hoping for the Colts to get the #1 pick in this year’s draft. I am excited they are drafting Andrew Luck. I believe releasing Manning was the right thing to do. Fans of all the other scum-sucking teams would kill for a Do-Over where they get a new GM, a new coaching staff, a new defensive scheme, and a #1 pick QB all in the same offseason. Colts fans are Luck-y indeed.
It was still incredibly hard to watch the press conference this morning.
I am about to turn 30. I was in high school when Manning joined the Colts. My 20′s are forever linked to memories of Manning and the boys in blue going to war every year against the Patriots. In my 7+ years living in LA, watching Colts games with fellow Hoosiers has been the main connection to my hometown identity. Colts games are A Family Thing for me. Every touchdown pass and every interception for the last fourteen years has been a boost of emotional catharsis.
My Colts fandom is about being an Indianapolis native. I’m a Colts fan before I am a Manning fan. But I spent the vast majority of my childhood, until 2000 when the Pacers went to the NBA Finals, believing that pro-sports championships were for major cities like Chicago, New York, Houston, and Los Angeles. When I was a little kid, the Colts and the Pacers were terrible. When I was a teenager, Reggie Miller was always thwarted. On February 4th, 2007, Peyton Manning gave me that impossible boyhood dream: a championship trophy and all the tribal glory that goes with it.
It is easy to transport myself to how I felt. The emotional memory is lasting. I am sitting in a both at Barney’s Beanery with my friend Matt, starring through red eyes at HD screens while the bar empties. We are but twelve or so Colts fans in the joint. The team is passing the trophy. Words are being said. Confetti falls. We are so tired. It was so surreal… but so visceral, too.
Luck will be a great NFL quarterback. It’s possible he wins more Super Bowls than Peyton. Even if that were true, it will never be the same. You never forget your first.