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
-Bertrand Russell

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

July 19, 2016 - 10:06 a.m.

Voltron Music

A birthday miracle, I'm starting to blog before 9 AM. I did my usual wake up early and go to the bathroom but my usual going back to sleep did not work. I might have to take a nap at some point. Am I like a little kid on Festivus? Maybe I am. Will this be the year I get my Official Red Ryder carbine action BB Gun with a compass in the stock and a thing to tell the time? We'll find out. It is the year that many of my friends are going to join me and see Bobtown. Here's the information on the show, The Tender Mercies Festival at the Sheen Center.

Yesterday I celebrated Paul Kowert's birthday by seeing Haas Kowert Tice at Joe's Pub. OK fine I would have seen this show if it weren't his birthday. I would have also seen Bobtown if it weren't mine. I liked my logistics yesterday. Thanks to the bustimes website I saw I had to run for the bus, I did and just made it. If I hadn't checked I'd have been waiting at the bust stop another 20 minutes in the heat and humidity. I'd have also been late. My first stop was University bagels for half-priced bagels. Then I went up to Trader Joe's for coffee, I was out! No coffee on my birthday is unthinkable. I am out of bacon too but sausage will do nicely. I couldn't buy bacon when I was going to be out for another 5 hours. From there I walked over to KFC for that great $5 meal deal. Did I mention that they give you a cookie! It's a good one too. I wasn't sure what time doors were at Joe's pub and for some reason KFC blocks the Joe's Pub website. So I walked down to the library on 9th street to use their Wi-Fi and figured I could sit there and read if I had time. But no, my timing was perfect. It was 5:45 and doors were at 6:00. I was doing merch so I wanted to be there early to set up.

When I got there I went to the box office and they didn't have the guest list yet. So what did I do? I blithely walked through the door that said "Staff Only" to get to the green room. I wasn't sure where it was. I thought it was upstairs. When I went through the door to backstage I saw Brittany. After my hug we went to the Greenroom on the first floor. Brittany said, "Isn't there a Greenroom that looks just like this on the second floor." I guess there is as we both remember that. Or it could be the implanted memory from the space aliens. Yeah that's probably it.

I went to set up the merch and got friendly with the woman doing the door, Flynn, yes I remembered a name. Don't worry latter I'll prove this is really me by forgetting one. Then I found out that the table I set up on was the wrong one and had to move. It was not a big deal. I had just started when I moved.

I set it up all nice and pretty and put out the mailing list then sat there for a while before going in to take my seat. Oh yes, I they had the guest list by then.

I saw three people at my table and went to introduce myself then saw that one of them was Jordan. Oh I never gave the band members full names other than Paul. The third member and the one I knew before they became a band is Brittany Haas. I knew I'd be sitting in the friends of the band section. The other two people were a really fun couple Betsy and her husband who is a blogger whose name begins with a G. I got it! Garland! Those damn aliens tried to wipe my memory and failed. Talking before the show we discovered we were at some of the same concerts at Celebrate Brooklyn, The Punch Brothers and Richard Thompson. There was a downpour both shows. I met Sasha Papernik sitting at the same table at an Amigos show. Clearly it's a good table.

Haas Kowert Tice is on my super short list of favorite bands. Paul plays bass, Jordan guitar, though one song he played mandolin, a first with the trio, and Brittany plays fiddle, mandolin, and guitar. Most of the songs are instrumentals. They are the band I came up with "chamber folk" to describe. Sometimes it's classically tinged bluegrass and folk and sometimes it's bluegrass tinged classical. Can you have atonal bluegrass? I guess you can. Not only that but I like it. I don't think anything they did last night was atonal. On some songs Jordan sings lead and the others backing vocals. They did a few songs from another of Jordan's bands Horse County. I saw them a month or two ago. They are more traditional with vocals on most or was that all the songs.

There are some bands whose songs I can't concentrate on for more than 30 seconds. After that I lose interest. Once you've heard the start you've gotten everything you can from the song. I can't pull my attention away from Haas Kowert Tice songs. They are intricate and perfectly machined. Each of them plays something totally different from the others but they all fit perfectly together. It reminded me of a kid's show or a cartoon where the group of heroes come together and make a giant robot to fight the bad guys. I was thinking Power Rangers or Voltron but wasn't sure. I asked about it on Facebook and discovered it was both and other shows too. Apparently that's a thing. Musicians coming together to make something greater than the sum of the parts is a thing too. I listened to most of the show with my eyes closed; it helps me concentrate. It also lets me see the music. It's not synesthesia. It's just a way I've had of interpreting instrumental music since I was a kid. Like Bach I see HKT as separate threads twining around each other and filling a space and as robots of course.

There is pretty much nothing I don't love about them, I love the songwriting, the musicianship and the people. They get the banter right. It's light and silly and totally unpretentious.

This just in. So you know how I remembered Betsy's name? It's actually Becky. I knew that too. It's my grandmother's name. I always think how there aren't many Rebeccas between my grandmother's generation and Millennials but then it became common again. Oh why did I get her name wrong? Everyone together now. I'm an idiot.

After the show I did the merch and saw that Amy and Lucas were there. Lucas was at the Kristin Andeassen show I went to last week but I had to run out and didn't see him though I knew he was there as he got a shout-out. I made up for it and had a nice talk with him last night. I'm very disappointed that they are the only friends I had at the show and not on the stage. I've been telling you how great HKT is for years. You need to see them.

Now to make my breakfast. Sausageeggandcheese is a good way to start my birthday. Come to see Bobtown tonight and wish me a happy birthday in person.

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please hold me accountable.

Memories: Not that Horrid Song - May 29, 2018
Wise Madness is Now In Session - May 28, 2018
The NFL and the First Amendment - May 27, 2018
On The Road Again - May 26, 2018
Oliver the Three-Eyed Crow - May 25, 2018

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Horvendile July 19, 2016
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