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
October 09, 2016 - 3:49 p.m.
Afternoon editions of Wise Madness are becoming more the norm. Today I slept late, caught up with things online, ate breakfast, watched TV, and talked to Jane before writing. At the end of this you'll find out why I slept late.
A couple of days ago Kevin sent me a text, "Interested in seeing Lake Street Dive Saturday night?" Do I have to tell you my answer? The show was at Radio City Music Hall, capacity 6,000 the first time I saw them they were opening at Southpaw, capacity 350. Kevin saw them open at Arlene's Grocery, capacity maybe 100. This is the biggest gain in venue size for any of my bands. I'm waiting for someone to point out that I'm wrong.
After a few crossed signals I connected with Kevin who had the ticket and went in. There was high security. I had to take off my bag while they searched it then I had to empty my pockets while they used a metal detector on me. I didn't know that LSD draws such a dangerous crowd. I'm not really mocking the security. It's easy to say that it's excessive but put yourself in the place of the person in charge and how she'd feel if something happened. It's something reasonable people can differ on.
I think this was my first time in Radio City since 1978 or '79 when I saw Renaissance there. I went there many times as a kid to see movies and the Rockettes. I can remember Mary Poppins, True Grit, and the Odd Couple. There were more. Does anyone remember me seeing another show there?
I love the place. The auditorium looks like this.
It's like being inside a band shell. What that doesn't convey is how big it is. The vaulted ceiling is far higher about floor than the usual flat ceiling. Visually it works as there is this huge space that focuses your eye on the stage. The architect knew what he was doing.
The opening band was stumblebubble, no that's not it, rubblebubble, nope, it was Rubblebucket. I wrote that down but didn't need to look but last night I couldn't get it right. They were one of the best openers I've seen and a very good match for LSD. They were super high energy and had an unusual sound. They had a wicked electric guitar player but that was not the usual defining sound. They were driven by horns, keyboard, drums, and of course vocals. I don't know anyone's names but the singer knew how to hold a crowd. My only issue was the mix, there was so much reverb you could not make out the lyrics. They must be from Australia as the singer bounced around like a kangaroo. They really aren't, LSD knows them from Boston. Yesterday I said I was suspect of visual entertainment at a concert but in a venue like Radio City and acts like Rubblebucket and LSD it works. Even if I weren't blind I would not be able to make out much of their faces but I could see the choreography. Yes, they have choreography. I'd love to see them someplace more intimate. It's just a gestalt, I can't pin down why, but hearing them something reminds me of Arc Iris. It's pure left brain so I don't fully trust this. At times I'm right, I'll mention it to the artist and they will tell me that the other band was an influence. But it could just be something random in my head. Math and Science are based on getting that gestalt then working on proving or supplying evidence for it. I'm pretty sure that Fred and Damon would like them.
OK so what is it with concert attendees? This was an 8 o'clock show on a Saturday night and the place was only one third full when it started. This was a sellout crowd. People are paying a lot of money for the show don't they want to get their money's worth? Late arrivals missed great music and discovering someone new. Even when they finished a third of the seats were still unoccupied. Does this happen other places? Is it a New York thing?
The seats at Radio City are very comfy with far more leg room than is usual. Too bad I didn't get to sit in mine during LSD's set. The crowd was standing. Why? You could tell by the way people stood. It was a wave that moved back from the front. A few people down there stood and blocked the people behind them who blocked the people behind them and so on. It was clear that most people did not want to stand as most people got up reluctantly and sat down now and then. It wasn't like people were dancing in their seats. I was more animated when I was sitting than the people in front me. I can't just sit still when listening to music like that.
Now for LSD. Wow, another in a string of great shows for me. They are now a full-fledged arena rock act. They are an odd mix. They are conservatory musicians. That's why Crooked Still know them, from the New England Conservatory. So it's why I know them. They are great musicians but that's not the part of my brain they appeal to. They are more like Great Big Sea, they just plug right into the pleasure centers and energize you. Which is not to say that they aren't brilliant musicians, they are. That's how they do it. It's not just energy and Rachel's amazing voice. It's energy that's targeted and a voice that's played perfectly. They are also fun people. They live in New York now and were happy in front of the hometown crowd. They seemed stunned to find themselves playing for 6000 people. The title track of their new album is Side Pony. It refers to the hair style but they took it literally and someone brought out a large inflatable pony and dance around the stage. They called him their pony tech. I want that job. I can do that. If any of my musician friends need a prop guy onstage I'm your man. I have popped a balloon at the right time for Kat Quinn. I'm experienced.
The encore was Bohemian Rhapsody. I used to think that was a song that can't be covered, it was all about Freddie Mercury's matchless voice. Yet there are at least three great covers, LSD, Caravan of Thieves, and the Muppets. Even Rachel can't match Freddie's range; I'm pretty sure he reached higher notes than her, but it worked beautifully. So now I know that you can cover the song if you are amazing musicians. Lesser beings should not attempt it. Of course I and many others were singing along. That's a perfect song for them as it works on both the level of going straight to the pleasure centers while having meaningful lyrics and musical complexity.
After the show Kevin and I started to walk east to Lexington Ave to catch the . Before we hit 5th avenue I heard a voice call, "Gordon?" I looked around but it's dark and I'm blind but eventually realized it was Autumn. She's the sister of Dan and Noah, the Lords of Liechtenstein. She was with her roommate Olivia. I remembered her name! Score the goal. Olivia is a huge LSD fan and has been following them since they started. Olivia wanted to wait and talk to the band. She talked us into going back and waiting by the stage door. That was great, hanging out with friends after a show is one of my favorite things to do. I got to know Olivia, and Kevin got to know both of the women. We talked about the band, I caught up with Autumn, and now followed Oliva in Instagram. She said she wanted to follow me. I don't think she meant as a stalker. When the old guy worries about being followed by the young woman it's called narapoia.
We thought of getting food which was fine with me as all I had to eat before the show was one overpriced cart hot dog. But they decided to go home and Kevin and I did the same. I figured it was already too late to catch the last bus back to City Island and I'd have to take a cab. We walked back to Lex and went uptown together till Kevin reached his stop. I continued to the end. Then a miracle occurred, the train ran express from Parkchester to Pelham Bay Park. That meant it skipped 3 stops. That saves about 6 minutes. The bus came early but I still managed to catch it. I might have made it anyway as I made it by 8 minutes but maybe not. Then hardly anyone was on the bus so it made very few stops before mine and I was home by 1 AM.
My plan for today was to go to a klezmer brunch by Metropolitan Klezmer. I'd have to leave by 9:30 to make it just on time so I was going to set my alarm for 9 AM. That's not bad, 8 hours later. But the people I wanted to go with couldn't make it which meant I only had to worry about myself. I was still keyed up about the show. I ended up not going to sleep till 4 AM. I just let myself sleep till I woke up on my own. It was 10 AM, too late to make the show. I told you I'd explain that later.
I tried something new for breakfast. I had only one egg in the house so I made matzoh brei. This time I made your bubbe cry by dicing sausages and mixing that in with the batter. I have done bacon and ham I the past. Then I topped it with Cheez-Whiz. Why do I always get those looks when I mention Cheez-Whiz? Don't judge me.
The weather is miserable so my plan is to stay home all day except for a block and a half walk to the grocery store for eggs. I will steel myself to pay twice as much as at Trader Joe's. No, it will be three times as much. A Dozen Jumbo eggs is $1.29 or $1.39 at Trader Joe's. If you have one near you that's where to get your eggs. Don't you like my pro shopping tips? Of course you don't trust someone that just put Cheese-Whiz on matzoh brei. You're giving me that look again. My plan for the rest of the day is to listen to WFUV all day till John Platt's show is over. Then it's baseball and the debate. I'm afraid I can't miss this one. Trump has turned it into a reality TV show so I really shouldn't.
I Tell About Tell - October 15, 2016
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