Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I'll explain everything to the geeks

A fine chapter in the book titled "Misadventures of zman and TR" involves going to see the Allman Brothers at the Beacon Theater in 1998 or 1999. They put on a good show with a protracted jam that included several Allman staples as well as "Franklin's Tower," "Help Is On They Way" and "St. Stephen's". Time spent listening to "One From the Vault," the only Dead album I can stomach, served me well as I was able to identify the start of this Dead run before anyone else, including the guy in front of us whom TR nicknamed "The King of All Weed". TKoAW was a chubby disheveled 40-something dude with an amorphous mass of wiry dandruffy dry hair, a nose like a bell pepper, chunky glasses, a pushbroom mustache, a steal your face tshirt that might have been white at one point but was now dishwater grey (and likely orange in the armpits), sweatpants, and a fannypack. He had a younger woman with him who was cute in a hippie/Earthy manner and they went out of their way to say hello to everyone around them as they sat down. Once the show started TKoAW pulled a joint from his fanny pack, lit it, hit it a few times, and gave it to the guy on his left with a "take two and pass it on" hand motion. Or at least that's what I'm told that hand motion meant. TKoAW continued in this manner throughout the show, distributing joints in all radial directions and thereby clubbing our section into a cannaboid haze with what I'm told was cataclysmically powerful pot. The show ended on a predictable and thus somewhat unfortunate (from a storytelling perspective) note when the Allmans performed "Whipping Post" as their encore.

I returned to the Beacon this Saturday for the first time in over decade, along with FsOG:TB Squeaky and Juan Carlos, and FOz&S J-P, to see The National. This post is not an offical Gheorghe-mas entry but if you're looking for a good Christmas (or Gheorghe-mas) gift, give (or ask for) two tickets to see The National the next time they're in town. They kick some serious tail.

This show was quite unlike my previous trip to the Beacon. TKoAW wasn't there, nor was there anyone remotely like him. The crowd was mostly date-night couples and people about my age with a healthy smattering of 20-somethings and groups of attractive young women. Everyone bought their clothes at J Crew or Banana Republic. J-P commented that it was much unlike the Parts and Labor show he saw the previous night, which he described as a sausage fest. Unsurprising, if you ask me. Also in the crowd was a man in a tux with a woman in a wedding dress, which prompted the following exchange:

zman: "What the fuck? Who gets married then goes to a show in those getups?"
J-P: "They probably met at some bar where the bartender was playing a National album and now it's their band."
zman: "I bet he picked her up with a National pickup line."
J-P: "Fuck you talkin bout?"
zman: "Like we went up to her and said 'I'd eat your brains.'"
J-P: "It would be cooler if she offered to put his brains in her mouth. Maybe he just walked up and said 'Karen'?"
zman: "How about 'I was carried here by a swarm of beers'?"
J-P: "Your lines suck. If he had game he woulda said 'I won't fuck us over I'm Mr. November.'"

That settled it for us so we went with that explanation.

The National played for about 2 hours including almost all of High Violet and a bunch of old stuff from Alligator and some new stuff that they apparently debuted a week earlier. Their Bjorn Borg clone of a drummer (Bryan Devendorf) is insanely good with a style reminiscent of Muhammad Ali's -- his hands appear to float and skim around the drum kit while the sticks barely seem to touch the drums, but he produces a punishing cacophony of sound that cannot possibly come from only one percussionist. I know this because they project his image while playing on a massive screen behind him using a camera angle mounted directly above and slightly behind him. Just watching him play Bloodbuzz Ohio alone is a spectacle worthy of the price of admission (I never properly appreciated the complexity of the drums on that song). They also have a trumpeter, two trombonists, a four piece string section, and three keyboardists. Lots of folks on stage.

They put on a damn good show, concluding with lead singer Matt Berninger drunkenly staggering into the crowd and chair-walking Roberto Benigni style during Terrible Love, much to the chagrin of the guy in charge of his mic cord. They eventually corralled him back onto the stage where he called everyone out from behind the scenes to thank them for all their work on the tour (this was the last show). And then this happened.



After everyone finished and settled down, I turned to Squeaky and we looked at each other for a second, then he proclaimed "That was awesome."

The National turned Squeaky into a lover of singalongs. Go see The National. It will change your life. Squeaky is living proof! And you might get to see an encore that is the complete opposite of the Allman's "Whipping Post".

62 comments:

rob said...

this post was worth reading for the 'punishing cacophony of sound' phrasing alone. the tender moment between z and squeaky was just icing on the cake.

zman said...

That's family yo!

Danimal said...

popcorn trick?

Greg said...

2 Tromboners....

Danimal said...

and a skin flutist.

rob said...

mini this week in wrenball:

iona travels to the 'burg to take on the tribe this evening. the 9-2 gaels are having a terrific season, with a 26-point win over maryland and a victory at richmond. they bring the #9 RPI rating in the nation into tonight's contest.

the gaels smoked the tribe on national television two years ago as part of espn's bracketbusters hoopstravaganza. the loss may well have kept w&m out of the its first ncaa tournament. payback is a bitch, but the tribe may not get it this evening.

Squeaky said...

I saw two shows on this tour. The National are worth the price of admission.

Sing-a-longs are great, really.

rob said...

best singalong i ever saw was 'four seasons' by crowded house at wolf trap last summer. neil finn had us harmonizing and shit.

Dave said...

love the national and really wish i could see what happened!

crowded house?

T.J. said...

Dave, don't dream, it's over.

rob said...

if you have a problem with crowded house, i may unfollow you.

rob said...

new caa bloggers poll, 'cause in know you care:

fb.me/AZe9jMIb

Igor said...

Tribe up to #335 in the Sagarin rankings! Yeah!!

rob said...

on the back of a 38-point loss to missouri that significantly increased our strength of schedule. joy.

Igor said...

Gimme your halftime score prediction for Gaels/Tribe...

Tony's Tribesters have really come out on fire lately. It's like they saw how badly the St. John's game turned out, so they determined never to have a first half like that again.

I say Gaels 41, Tribe 18

zman said...

Upon further contemplation, all cacophonies are definitionally made of sound.

rob said...

maybe 'punishing cacophony of percussion', in that case.

rob said...

i would strenuously object, igor, except that i don't.

rob said...

futile superfan alert: w&m women's hoops squad improved to 6-4 with a win over seton hall this afternoon. we may have to switch to the distaff tribe if the men's team continues to suck as badly as it does right now.

Danimal said...

anyone else here have a creme brulee shake for their lunch dessert today? didn't think so. i deserved it though - went healthy on the lunch w/cheeseburger and truffle fries. get some.

tribe loses again by 32. down 22 at half. #dukesaresomuchbetterhahaha

rob said...

dukes also have humpty hitchens, the caa's name of the year.

#itsyourchancedoyourdance

rob said...

i just farted asparagus smells.

zman said...

Humpty Hitchens is the love child of Humpty Hump and Christopher Hitchens, right?

Danimal said...

a cougar just pulled her can-am into the parking lot below my office window. a construction worker immediately pounced on her, feigning interest in her ride. or so i thought. ten minutes later he is circling the strange bike, with her nowhere in sight. i like watching people.

Mark said...

I enjoy Rob's empty Twitter unfollow threats.

And I may try and watch a little W&M-Iona tonight to catch some of the Iona PG (Machado). Supposedly very good. Late 1st round NBA prospect who averages 10+ assists a game.

Igor said...

Prepare yourself for watching the Tribe, Mark. It's wince-a-minute and requires 6-9 adult beverages.

41-18 at half. Remember where you heard it first.

rob said...

i was actually threatening to unfollow dave in real life, mark

Mark said...

Well then. I encourage you to do so, Rob.

T.J. said...

You're such a piece of shit, tiny. I openly mock the Tribe and realistically describe how awful they are, and you play Pollyanna on Twitter...but here you say 41-18 at the half.

Make up your mind, Kerry.

rob said...

merry fucking christmas to you, too, asshat.

tribe are 18-point home dogs. i say take the points.

and mark, it'll cost you $10.95 to watch the game via the tribe interweb network, unless you know of another viewing option.

rob said...

'course, i also said take the points against missouri, and that didn't work out so well.

T.J. said...

Happy Kwanza, fuckface. Who told you the Tribe would get killed by Mizzou?

rob said...

yeah, that took a crystal ball

Mark said...

Teej, you might want to sit the next few plays out.

And Rob...Apple TV. I have access to just about any live sporting event. Not just here in America either.

rob said...

wait, what? how does that work? 'cause that's about the most amazing thing i've ever heard.

other than the tribe being 18-point dogs to a maac team.

Danimal said...

simmer down boys. it's christmas. and teejus, you should know better.

thanks for bringing this tribe game to my attention. i just gave 17.5 and did so happily. LET's GO GAELS!!!!

rob said...

et tu danimal?

i'll take 10% as a finder's fee.

Mark said...

You have to jailbreak it. Then you have access to Icefilms (streaming netflix like service with every movie/TV show, etc. available streaming...seriously, its amazing) as well as SportsDevil which grants you access to any lie sporting event you want.

It's all pretty illegal and runs threw a site called megaupload but its AWESOME.

zman said...

17.5 millimeters?

Danimal said...

rob - mark provided all of this info very recently. we need to pay closer attention in 2012.

points. although millimeters would be close to accurate as well. erect of course. (i'm irish)

GO GAELS!!!

T.J. said...

Mark, you might want to shut the fuck up.

T.J. said...

So, to clarify, I hate Oprah, the homeless...and Mark.

T.J. said...

Jesus, someone join our Yahoo NBA fantasy league...

Great Wall of Chinablock II
ID# "71391"
Password "johnwall"

Igor said...

1. Insult everyone who speaks to you.
2. Wonder why no one will join your fantasy NBA league.
3. Lather.
4. Rinse.
5. Repeat.

T.J. said...

Works for me. Douche.

rob said...

um, igor, give us iona's final total, if you don't mind. foe entertainment purposes only, of course.

Shlara said...

I'm a few days late on the Hitchens bandwagon...but wanted to share this piece with you guys. He was on the advisory council of an organization I work with--826DC, a writing center for under-served kids.

This piece was on HuffPo today about one of the early fundraisers he did for 826: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-carman/remembering-christopher-h_b_1154356.html

T.J. said...

Tribe down just 21 with five minutes to play...

rob said...

that's a great essay.

and danimal is gonna owe me $2.

rob said...

tribe loses by 18 - danimal got the right number from his guy.

Igor said...

DJ Robbie Robb, I am late on the Iona total because I have been drinking since 3:30. Now throwing on a tux for a formal soirée. Should get interesting.


IGOR!!!!

T.J. said...

I cannot wait for the comment at roughly 2pm tomorrow that recaps what the hell is about to happen with Igor and his evening.

T.J. said...

"Jamychal" is certainly a creative first name...

zman said...

Your name is T.J.

Danimal said...

Thanks Rob. And of course The Gaels.
Look for a little somethin special in your stocking on Sunday.

Is Igor still in his tux?

Danimal said...

today's headlines -
anyone see the hot lesbian kiss yet? that's tight.
also - the 88M penthouse in nyc was purchased by a 22 year old college student? alright. she's kind of hot too - russian. (her dad has a few rubles)what i don't get is that the seller, sandy weill, is giving the proceeds to charity??? is he talking about his profit or the whole ball of wax?
and lastly - gary johnson running on the libertarian ticket...good interview w/him last month in GQ....he's a likeable chap.
good day.

T.J. said...

Wait, what hot lesbian kiss?

Danimal said...

this one...
http://tinyurl.com/c45rysr

Danimal said...

so maybe the kiss isn't that hot. i think it's the post interview with the 2 cuteys that maybe sparks the imagination a bit. so i hear.

rob said...

i will not bow to squeaky's online pressure to wish him a happy birthday today. nosiree.

zman said...

Wait ... what?!? Had I known I would've thrown him in the bowl this weekend.

Squeaky said...

I find this amusing. Newt doesn't own newtgingrich.com. You'd think every politician would buy their 'name' domain because of this situation.

http://goo.gl/ehyRt