Photo by Natasha Ryan
Not sure if I'll get around to writing about the music at Our Concert Could Be Your Life — I would just gush like a teenager, like "Oh man, that was totally awesome!" But I'll share some behind-the-scenes highlights:
- Overhearing Merrill Garbus practicing "Lithium" a cappella in the women's bathroom. I got goosebumps.
- Watching the soundchecks, with the audience consisting entirely of all the other bands in the show, and everyone applauding after each song. That's when I knew it was going to be a good night.
- A guy got his nose broken during Dan Deacon's set, refused an ambulance and instead stayed for the whole rest of the show with his face buried in a towel packed with ice cubes, escorted back to his spot up front by a Bowery security guy. The Bowery Ballroom is a great venue run by great people. I never considered having this concert anywhere else.
- Doing my first-ever crowd surfing! Early in the evening, Jenn Wasner from Wye Oak kind of double-dog dared me. I wasn't sure, but then I heard Dan Deacon sing a line from a Butthole Surfers song: "It's better to regret something you did, than something you didn't do." And that clinched it for me — because I had so many chances to crowd surf at Nirvana shows and never did, and I do regret that. So I crowd-surfed while some of my favorite musicians — who also happen to be people I really love — played a Nirvana song. It's a really interesting sensation — because there are so many hands holding you up, none of them presses very hard, so you feel like you're floating. And very thoughtfully, they sent me in a long U shape out into the audience and then deposited me back onto the shores of the stage. Thank you, audience!
- Watching as various musicians from different bands made friends and even played together on stage, and realizing those connections are going to extend far beyond that particular evening. It was so gratifying to see all the Facebook friending that went on the next day.
- A musician who will remain nameless weeping as he told me how Our Band Could Be Your Life sustained him through a very difficult time in his life.
- Merrill going out and buying me flowers.
- Seeing Lee Ranaldo's eyes light up at how excellent the bands were. After Wye Oak played, he exclaimed "Pretty fuckin' great!" The man remains sonically youthful, and that's beautiful. He watched the whole show. Lee is a right-on dude.
- Realizing halfway through the evening that the show was running ahead of schedule, a testament not just to the Bowery staff, the Tiger Mountain guys, and our ace stage manager Cretia, but to the professionalism and mutual respect of the bands.
- Sitting at the afterparty with my friend Amber and watching as a guy tried to steal a large stuffed coyote from the bar.
- Dancing joyously with many of my dearest friends, to the fantastic DJ skills of Phil Hernandez (philiphernandez *at* mac *dot* com), well into the wee hours.