( Cut because there's lots of pictures and rambling ahead. )
( Cut because there's lots of pictures and rambling ahead. )
Joanna = EPIC. STUNNING. FLAWLESS. HEAVEN-SENT. GENIUS.
Have One on Me
Soft as Chalk
The Book of Right-On
PEACH, PLUM, PEAR
Audience Q&A w/ Joanna + band members afterward = OMG AMAZING. THIS SHOULD HAPPEN AT
CONCERT EVER. BRILLIANT IDEA.
More coherent thoughts when I've had a few hours sleep, mmkay?
There is a blacksmith,
and there is a shepherd,
and there is a butcher boy,
and there is a barber, who's cutting
and cutting away at my only joy.
I saw a rabbit,
as slick as a knife,
and as pale as a candlestick,
and I had thought it'd be harder to do,
but I caught her, and skinned her quick:
held her there,
kicking and mewling,
upending, unspooling, unsung and blue;
told her "wherever you go,
little runaway bunny,
I will find you."
And then she ran,
as they're liable to do.
Be at peace, baby,
and be gone.
Edit: here's my more cohesive review. It's also a review of the album itself, for good measure. And because I'm obsessed, you know.
(THIS WAS EASY TO REMEMBER FOR ONCE.)
THE ENTIRETY OF HAZARDS OF LOVE (IT WAS COMPLETE AND UTTER PERFECTION)
"CALIFORNIA ONE/YOUTH AND BEAUTY BRIGADE"
"THE SPORTING LIFE" (COLIN STOLE FUN DIP FROM AN AUDIENCE MEMBER AT THE END OF THIS AND IT WAS AWESOME. WHY SOMEONE HAD FUN DIP AT A CONCERT, I'M NOT SURE, BUT IT PROVIDED FOR A MEMORABLE MOMENT ANYWAY.)
"THE BACHELOR AND THE BRIDE" (I'M NOT SURE WHEN EXACTLY BUT AT SOME POINT SOMEONE THREW A FRIENDSHIP BRACELET ONSTAGE AND COLIN ACTUALLY PUT IT ON AND KEPT GOING HILARIOUSLY ON AND ON ABOUT HOW THEY WERE BESTIES FOR LIFE NOW. IN OTHER WORDS, OBVIOUSLY.)
"THE CALAMITY SONG" (NEW, I THINK THIS WAS THE TITLE, AND IT WAS PREDICTABLY GREAT)
"DRACULA'S DAUGHTER" (THE "WORST SONG" COLIN'S EVER WRITTEN; IT WAS REALLY MORE LIKE A STORY THAN A SONG SINCE THE SONG ITSELF ONLY LASTED ABOUT THIRTY SECONDS, THEN COLIN WENT ON THIS HUGE TANGENT ABOUT HOW IT WAS SO HORRIBLY BAD IT CAUSED THE END OF THE WORLD AND A BUNCH OF HILARIOUS SHIT THAT I CAN'T EVEN EXPLAIN WITHOUT RUINING THE HUMOR)
"CRAZY ON YOU" (HEART COVER, THE FUCKING BEST THING EVER, SEE BELOW)
ELI, THE BARROW BOY
SONS AND DAUGHTERS
FIRST AND FOREMOST, SHARA WORDEN. MOTHERFUCKING SHARA WORDEN. SHE COMPLETELY STOLE THE SHOW. I THINK BECKY STARK, ON THE OTHER HAND, IS A LITTLE BIT MENTAL BUT SHE HAS A GOOD VOICE AT LEAST AND WHEN THE TWO OF THEM DUETED TOGETHER ON THE "CRAZY ON YOU" COVER I THINK I ALMOST DIED FROM THE PERFECTNESS OF IT ALL.
SECONDLY, COLIN MELOY IS FUCKING HILARIOUS AND GENERALLY AWESOME.
THIRDLY, THE ENTIRE BAND IS JUST TALENTED AS FUCK. MY MIND WAS BLOWN MULTIPLE TIMES.
FOURTHLY, I DIDN'T EVEN CARE THAT THEY DIDN'T PLAY ANY OF MY FAVORITE NON-HAZARDS OF LOVE SONGS. OR THAT I REALLY ONLY KNEW TWO OF THEM THAT WELL AT ALL. BECAUSE THEY WERE JUST SO GOOD IT DIDN'T MATTER WHAT THEY PLAYED.
IT WAS ALL SO FUCKING BADASS, IN SUMMATION.
I NEED TO GO TO BED NOW.
(SORRY FOR THE CAPSLOCK. IT'S JUST THAT KIND OF A
Anyway, the opener was Jason Lytle from Grandaddy. I wasn't too excited about him so I read through his first two songs and while I was casually listening, I was thinking, "Well, this is nice enough." Then I finished my book (should've brought another one!) and by the fifth or sixth song was thinking, "Haven't I already heard this?" Yeah, all of his songs kind of sounded the same. And they all sounded like they were at least six minutes long too. And he went on forever. I swear, he played almost as long as Neko did. Anyway, he wasn't offensively bad or anything, just really boring.
And Neko herself was, well, brilliant of course. Her voice sounded perfect from the very first song and she and Kelly are hilarious between songs. Plus, she looked super cute. She was all dressed down in jeans and a t-shirt and just looked generally adorable. Also, I think she has the most perfect shade of red hair; it's so pretty.
I attempted to remember the setlist in order but realized that it would be impossible. So the first two songs and the last one and the encore are in order. The rest are totally not, I just know that they were somewhere in between it all. With commentary.
The first thing Neko did after coming out was claim that the entire audience was drunk because a few people got rowdy when her microphone wasn't loud enough. Love it.
Things That Scare Me
MAYBE SPARROW (Flawless. And I was happy to hear this; it's one of my favorites on Fox Confessor.)
People Got a Lotta Nerve (She or Kelly, I can't remember which one now, introduced this as a song about a "homicidal picnic" and then went on about how we looked like we were having a homicidal picnic because everyone had picnic baskets and shit but were also... drunk. Or whatever. This stuff doesn't seem as funny paraphrasing it like this.)
Deep Red Bells (This was great. During the "Where does this mean world cast its cold eye?/Who's left to suffer long about you?" part, all of the instruments dropped out and Neko belted it out a cappella. It was amazing.)
The Pharaohs (A song about "an imaginary boyfriend" who everyone has, even guys. And according to Neko all guys' imaginary boyfriends look like Clint Eastwood. Then, after the song, she and Kelly were talking about how sexy he looked even in some really old movie where his pants are pulled up to his chest. A style which, for whatever reason, Neko called "jail pants". Amusement.)
I Wish I Was the Moon
Hold On, Hold On
Margaret vs. Pauline (I seem to always get stuck next to obnoxious people. The people sitting next to me, I believe, were actually drunk, and before this song, one of the guys yelled out, "JOHN THE BAPTIST!!!" and then when the song started he was all like, "IT'S EVERYTHING'S SO EASY FOR PAULINE!!
Prison Girls (About "how sexy prison is". "Have you ever been there?" Neko asked defensively when the audience laughed at this. Because she has... in elementary school on a tour that was supposed to "scare [her] straight". According to Kelly, it did exactly the opposite. This story was much longer and funnier but I couldn't accurately represent it in type.)
The Tigers Have Spoken
I'm an Animal
Don't Forget Me (This was the only song that left me slightly disappointed... the recorded version is probably my least favorite song on Middle Cyclone but I still like it. Neko sounded great but I like the piano on the record so much better than the weird guitar sounds it was replaced with live. They just sounded out-of-place on such a calm song.)
That Teenage Feeling (I'm not positive this was second-to-last but it's the only song I can place here with any certainty. Anyway, during the last two songs, this drunk woman way up in the front started dancing, which was mostly a lot of waving arms and swaying hips, and at the end of each song, she would put her hands together and bow like everyone was cheering for her. It was both hilarious and annoying as fuck. I was trying to focus on Neko but it was very hard. She reminded me of the chick back at Tori in '05 who was interpretive dancing to "Tear in Your Hand".)
This Tornado Loves You (I was able to focus entirely on Neko for this because, damn, this is such a perfect song. And she sounded - shocker - amazing.)
About ten seconds after they went offstage, they came back for the encore. Which was nice. I hate when it takes ages for the band to come back out. And the encore was totally made of win. She played five more songs and I was a happy camper.
VENGEANCE IS SLEEPING (I adore this song and I had given up hope on hearing it by this point so I was excited when they played it. It was so beautiful and everyone was standing for it and swaying (in a non-annoying-drunk way) and it was magical.)
Star Witness (She stated at the beginning of the encore that they were going to play this even though they hadn't practiced it in awhile and it would sound like crap. But it sounded great to me.)
FAVORITE (This was the song that excited me most because I love it a whole lot [and the live version is so much better than the album version] and sometimes she plays it a lot and sometimes she doesn't. But her voice is so fucking perfect on this song. It's intense.)
Knock Loud (I don't particularly love this song but I wasn't expecting it so it was still exciting.)
So, yeah, it was great. There was lots of banter I am either forgetting right now or is just too impossible to describe without making it sound totally lame. The only complaint I have about the whole thing is that her merch was kind of expensive but, whatever, it's Neko; I'm willing to throw a few more dollars than I'm used to her way. Also, even though she played quite a few songs, her set seemed very short. The encore made it a bit better but after "This Tornado Loves You", I was just like, "What?... That's it? But she just started." I have a feeling I wouldn't have been fully satisfied without hearing her last three records nearly in their entirety though which is a bit of a lofty request. Anyway, AWESOMENESS.
( 5.6: The Grim Reaper Is Not Amused. )
In non-Sims related news, I just bought, um... seven new books. Eek. I actually narrowed the list down a lot though from the original amount because I told myself I could only spend $20 right now. So I decided on these:
- Like Life - Lorrie Moore (Love her. I hope I like this better than Birds of America though I'm afraid nothing will ever effect me like Anagrams did; it was just the perfect book at the perfect time type situation.)
- The Violent Bear It Away - Flannery O'Connor (I thought Wise Blood was amazing and needed more right away... well, I've still got her short stories but that's a huge collection and I wanted to read this first.)
- The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald (I am long overdue for reading this.)
- Atonement - Ian McEwan (I tried to buy this from Amazon but they apparently ran out of stock permanently and canceled my order so let's try it again, shall we?)
- Less Than Zero - Bret Easton Ellis (I limited myself to one book of his for now. In case I hate it or something. But I am excited to read it!)
- The Blindfold - Siri Hustvedt (Total impulse buy. Someone mentioned this book in the same breath as The Secret History - it wasn't even a comparison between the actual books, just between how much the person liked them - but I looked it up on Amazon and the summary literally sent a shiver down my spine. A shiver as in, "OMG, this sounds so perfect! I need it now!" So yeah, I've got high expectations here.)
- I Capture the Castle - Dodie Smith (It's been on my wishlist for awhile. And it was cheap. So I finally caved in. I feel similarly about this as I do about reading Atonement - I'm kind of weary about whether I'll like them or not but I have a weakness for 20s/30s era stories so I must read them.)
Neko Case and the Decemberists are coming to Michigan this summer and I really want to go. Up until now, I kinda sorta wanted to but was pretty indifferent (I haven't been much in the mood for shows lately; the long traveling really wears on me after awhile) but now I suddenly feel much more passionate about it. They're both pretty expensive - well, more expensive than I'm used to - but I have most of the money right now. I just wish they weren't so damn far away. Neko's actually playing twice and one of them is much closer but it's also more expensive. So I don't know. We shall see.
First of all, the doors were supposed to open at nine (which is ridiculous by the way) and, being that things can never happen on time, didn't actually open until after nine-thirty. And it was pouring rain the entire time. So we sat in the car for more than an hour waiting because I didn't want to get wet. Fun times. Then the show probably didn't start until at least ten, probably later. The first opening act was some local girl whose name is spelled Hana and pronounced "henna" and her voice sounded almost exactly like The Hush Sound's Greta on Goodbye Blues, seriously. Anyway, she was alright but nothing special and only sang about five songs. Thank God because I wasn't expecting there to be more than one opener in the first place and I just wanted to see Maria!
So then it was time for the Whispertown 2000. I have to admit, I probably wouldn't have gone to this if they weren't opening because I love Maria but not quite enough to warrant driving six hours there and back for her alone - but since I love this band too it made the drive more worth it. And they were pretty fucking awesome. Morgan is so adorable and kept babbling incoherently about nothing in particular between songs. And she and Vanesa both sounded amazing. And Tod was hot. And on a less shallow note, played some really kickass guitar solos. And Casey... well, I didn't pay much attention to him during their set but he was rather amusing later on. So let's see, they played:
Lock and Key
Erase the Lines
Ebb and Flow
Firecracker (new song)
Time Will Welcome Anything (new song)
From the Start/Jamboree
Roughly in that order. The middle few might be off a bit but the first and last three were in that order. Anyway, I was so excited for "Ebb and Flow" and "Erase the Lines" because they are my favorites on the new album and they didn't disappoint. And the two new songs were also fantastic. For the last two songs, Maria's band came onstage with them (they asked Maria to as well but she didn't sadly) and "From the Start/Jamboree" was especially fucking insanely awesome. They could've played one or two more songs from their first album but it was great anyway.
So then I decided to buy merch between their set and Maria's. Maria had an extremely disappointing t-shirt selection: one was just grey and said Maria Taylor in a really boring font on the front, another was some bland color I don't remember exactly and said Savannah Drive in the same font as on the EP, and the third had a little tiny bird on the front and said Maria Taylor on the back (grey again). I didn't really like any of them but I wanted to support her so I got the third one because at least it had some sort of picture on it and I hate shirts that are only text. She also had button packs. Which I should have gotten but didn't. And I also got a Whispertown t-shirt and Swim. And guess what? I had them sign it! Which was exciting.
The uber-cute message in red is from Morgan; I have no idea if that little squiggly line is supposed to be her signature but if it is, whoa, that does not even form letters. The big thank you is from Vanesa (who is so pretty, by the way). And the one on Casey's head is Casey (duh) which is actually legible if it wasn't written on top of the picture. Tod was onstage setting up for Maria because he played with her too. I guess I could've found him at the end and had him sign it but, whatever, I was tired and ready to go home. (He was so sexy, though, oh my God. In fact, Maria's entire band was really good-looking. I was trying to focus only on Maria but between her hot keyboard player [who also did most of the background vocals; I, of course, would have preferred Andy LeMaster but this guy actually kinda sounded like him and did a good job on his parts anyway] and Tod it was very hard.) Anyway. Yeah, they were all super-nice and I couldn't think of much to say but it was cool anyway.
Maria came on while I was still talking to them so I kinda missed "Ladyluck" but that's okay because it's not one of my favorite songs. Despite the fact that I didn't get out on the floor until her first song was over, I was still pretty much on top of the stage. Seriously, there were not that many people there at all. The place definitely wasn't even close to capacity-full and it was kind of sad; I would've thought she'd draw a larger audience than that. It was also kind of cool for selfish reasons though because I got to be super-close and it wasn't all crammed and sweaty so that was nice. I really wish I had thought to bring a camera because I would've been able to get some pretty good pictures (even with my shitty photography skills).
Anyway, the music? Oh yeah, it was amazing, predictably. The songs sound so much more alive than they do on record. I mean, I love her records (well, sorta like Ladyluck) but they're really restrained and calm, even in the most upbeat or loudest parts. They were totally rocking live though. Especially "Xanax" - which was every bit as kickass as I was expecting it to be - and "Song Beneath the Song"; they closed with that one and everyone came up onstage and it was just one big jam session. Her voice also sounded flawless and much more commanding and intense than on the albums, especially on the songs from 11:11 and on the choruses of "Replay" which she got really into. A few songs into the set, Casey from Whispertown came over and stood at the side of the stage and he was being really obnoxious and loud between songs (not in an annoying way though; he was hilarious) and generally bugging Maria and she kept cracking up during the slow songs and having to start over. At one point, she made him go hide in the corner so that she could get through one without laughing. And then she said, "Casey actually doesn't drink if you can believe it" and at the end, when they all came up, he put his hat on her and it was super-cute. She also kept almost hitting her guitar player in the head which was funny. And talked about how the night before she and Morgan had decided that they were going to tour with each other forever because they loved it so much and then they drank so much that the show was terrible. And she was just generally extremely adorable. And also, she is really really tiny in person! Like Jenny Lewis levels of tiny. And sooooo beautiful. Anyway, setlist, not in order at all except the first three songs and the last song:
Time Lapse Lifeline
A Good Start
My Favorite Love
Cartoons and Forever Plans
Song Beneath the Song
I think that's all. Which isn't very much. She wasn't on very long and she didn't do an encore. But other than the shortness of her set, it was perfect. Oh and also, she dedicated "Birmingham 1982" to Casey which was basically the most awkward thing ever because he was making lovey-dovey motions to her during the chorus and cracking her up. Then she said how she dedicated it to her sister once before and how that was even more awkward. So the drummer joked about her being from Alabama and incest and she was like, "I am from 'Bama" and it was so fucking cute. And doesn't make much sense when I try to explain it.
So then I waited around for awhile and ended up talking to her for about five seconds because she seemed in a hurry and it was already so late. I've kind of blacked out on everything I said but it wasn't much and basically amounted to "I love you so much! You were so good!" Stuff like that. But she was really nice and gave me a hug and signed my ticket stub (because that's all I had; I didn't think about having something for her to sign until that moment). So yay! And then we got out of there. And got home at 3:30. The End.