I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
September 12, 2016 - 12:08 p.m.
I had a busy evening yesterday so I should jump into writing without my usual preliminaries. Oh, damn, that was a usual preliminary. Anyone still reading?
I'm making up for that spell of 5 days without live music. Last night I had a musical double-header but might be considered a quadruple-header. I had a musical dilemma about what concert to see yesterday but it was decided when another concert was added at the last minute, Aoife O'Donovan and Sarah Jarosz at, now get this, Rockwood Music Hall Stage 3. Last time I saw them they were with Sara Watkins and it was at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, capacity 550. Capacity at Rockwood 3 is 70, on a good day. This was a last minute gig, they set it up just four days before. That's why it was at an odd hour for Rockwood 3, 5 PM on a Sunday. That worked out beautifully for us as Fred and I got to go to our second show just seven minutes away at 6:00 and just miss the first 15 minutes.
I wanted to make sure that Fred and I got our usual seats so I planned on getting there when doors should have opened at 6:30. But I got there even earlier. The door to the bar was locked. We had to line up outside. I was the second one on the line. Fred joined us soon thereafter and they let us in the bar at 6:30 and downstairs a little after that. we got our table and I was able to grab a third chair for Kevin who was joining us. The show was not promoted at all but I knew it would sell out. I bet it did it quickly too. I know I jumped as soon as I heard and wrote Fred and Kevin to do the same. They really should have a plaque on that table reserving it for Fred and me. It's the first row stage right. If you know I'm going to a show and get there before me don't sit there. It's mine! Not that I consider myself privileged. I have a confession to make. I can never spell privilege right. I depend on Word correcting me.
The show was an amazing study in contrasts. The entire show was put together in four days. The feel and their attitude was "We're a couple of friends that think it would be fun to sing together." It might have taken place in someone's basement. The setup was as simple as you can get, they each had a guitar. They had two vocal mics close together angled so they look at each other and the audience. The patter was informal and silly. Then they sang and all the loose ends disappeared; the singing was precise, the harmonies were perfect. They did what only the greats can do, give a virtuoso performance and make it look effortless. Unlike playing an instrument people can sing without training. Most people sing at least occasionally. It makes people think that being a singer is not being a musician. They're wrong. Comparing what someone like me does to a trained singer is like comparing having a tossing a baseball in your yard to being a pitcher. In that simile Aoife and Sarah are Clayton Kershaw, throwing thunderbolts with the precision of a laser. It's not just technical. That’s craft but there is also art. It's not just being able to hit any spot you want; it's choosing to hit the right spots. And with all that the show would not have been as enjoyable if Aoife and Sarah were not so obviously enjoying themselves.
I have not had a chance to talk to Aoife in a while and I still didn't have much of a chance yesterday as Fred and I had to run to our next show. And once again I didn't get to meet Sarah. She pretty much stalks me, I just saw her in the audience on Thursday, and she has never introduced herself.
Kevin had to head home and Fred and I headed down to Leftfield to see The Lords of Liechtenstein, The Young Novelists, and Kat Quinn. I pretty much couldn't miss that show as I've known them all longer than any of them has known any of the others. These are all very much my people.
We did arrive fifteen minutes late so we missed the start of Kat's set. I let her know we would. She absolved us because we had seen her last week. It is a very odd venue. Downstairs was a normal dive bar. Upstairs the performers are in a small room with a window behind them. When we got there Kat was but a silhouette. Then the audience sits or stands in a narrow hallway or the larger room at the far end of the hall. Fred and I were able to squeeze into two seats on a bench at the back of the hall with Graydon and Laura. They are the Young Novelists. I was able to make a paper airplane for when Kat did Kind of Brave but it could not quite reach the stage. She was able to see it. I bet most of the audience was thinking, "What's that jerk doing throwing a paper airplane?" Dan pointed out just what I was thinking, that Kat keeps growing as an artist. She always has new songs and they keep getting better. After her set Chris came over and seats opened up near him closer to the front so Fred and I joined him.
The Young Novelists live in Toronto so I don't get to see them nearly as often; it's an event and I always try and make plans to eat with them when they are in town. I don't have a handle on my elevator talk for them. Perhaps contemplative or philosophical harmony duo. On their albums they are a harmony rock band. I want to see them perform that way live. The words that come to my mind are intelligent and lyrical.
I'm not sure who I see more, the Lords or Kat. I have seen them countless times. Literally countless, I didn't count and neither have they. People think of them as writing funny songs but actually very few of them are funny. More of them are weird. They write about strange things from strange perspective. What is funny is their patter and interactions. They are brothers and it shows. What's also funny is their clothing, they wear argyle sweater vests. Oh and Dan's taste in music is funny, he likes Dawes and hates Dylan. I'm under contract to mention that at least once a blog. Last night they were with their rock bands. That's a very different sound. Usually they are an acoustic duo.
After the show I sold the merch and hung out and then Laura, Graydon and I brought their things back to their car. Our next stop was late dinner. We were all starved. I suggested we try Goodfellas pizza which is close by, often discussed as having the best pizza in the City, and somehow I've never been there. We went in and were told they were closing, we were too late. We ended up eating at Mike's Burgers. When the Living Room was around I ate there often, it's on the same block. Yet somehow I stopped going there even though it's only a few blocks from Rockwood. They were still great. I indulged myself and had cheese fries. I meant to walk them back most of the way back to their car but I forgot where they parked and ended up walking to my subway. That proved fortunate as who walked up then? Dan. He had been hanging with the crowd back in Leftfield.
Oh, Fred or Chris, I think Chris. I misinformed you. You asked me who was in left field in the "Who's on First" routine and I said, "Nobody, it's the only positioned not named." As soon as I got on the subway I realized, that's right field. Why is in left and Because in center. I'm blaming Paul Noel Stookey for that. I have been singing his song, "Right Field" for days now but saying "Left Field" because I've been thinking about the show.
I almost forgot something very important. Yesterday I had matzoh brei for breakfast. It was my first time in ages. I made it perfect. I started adding garlic salt to the batter. It makes a difference. I also make your bubbe cry as I mix ham in it too. I'm tempted to have it two days in a row. I probably won't.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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