Sunday, January 25, 2009

Go. Stop.

Stage is SetI didn't get to the Inauguration with the pre-dawn masses. In fact, I left home an hour before the swearing in and happened to make it to the Washington Monument as Copland's "Air and Simple Things" was playing.

It was like walking into a bubble of emotion - I couldn't help but cry at the moment. I was surprised to be moved though. I was happy of course - as much for Bush to be gone as for Obama to be his replacement, but I didn't expect the gravity of the moment or the current of collective anticipation which were awe-inspiring. I stayed for Obama's speech, the poetry reading, and Dr. Lowry's benediction - which I loved and thought was perfect - and then I left.

And that was the spectacular end of a week that was. Lots and lots of live music filled the rest:

- James Intveld: I'd never heard of him until my friend Puck suggested going. It was an evening of swinging rockabilly complete with couples taking to the floor. It was a fun night that had great players.

- Mobius Band: I enjoyed the band, but they were under-rehearsed and they'd be much better live if they had someone whose sole job was to trigger samples. It gets herky-jerky to sing, play, trigger samples and rock out. Major points for having a xylophone as a major instrument. Middle Distance Runner, who headlined the show, are big in DC, but they were kind of boring.

- The Holmes Brothers: These guys are friends of mine from my days at their management agency, Concerted Efforts. They've been playing their blend of blues/soul/gospel for decades and they're the real thing. One of them has been struggling with health issues, so it was especially good to see them play and catch up with them.

- Dueling Playboys (I think that was their name?): This was more an excuse to not go anywhere for a night while still catching up with the peeps in the hood. A non-amplified, acoustic hootenanny ensued.

Big Shoulders Ball: The Hideout in Chicago bussed a huge group of musicians to DC to play a benefit inaugural ball for FMC and the Chicago Public School marching band program on the night before the Inauguration, so I got to work the event. DCist's take and mine is below. The marching bands didn't make an appearance (boo!) but a dozen acts did. The ones that stood out:

- Waco Brothers, who always look like they're having the most rollicking good time ever. My co-worker Jean rocking out on violin with them was an added bonus. "I Fought the Law" even inspired me to tweet about it!

- Andrew Bird solo looped his way through a 20-minute set. I admit I don't pay attention to the lyrics because if I did I'd spend time deciphering them rather than listening and I'd rather listen. The violin virtuoso was ALL that.

- Icy Demons were cool and a breather from the indie rock.

- Tortoise. I kept hearing how they were so great and I liked their soundcheck, but the live set meandered and left me underwhelmed. Eh.

- Janet Bean from Freakwater/Eleventh Dream Day. While I wasn't so much for Freakwater - except for their oddly swinging country-fried cover of Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" - Janet Bean demolished that drum kit during her set with Eleventh Dream Day. I witnessed a magnificent sighting of the rare species known as "female drummer".

See photos from everything above on my flickr page!

Since the Inauguration, I've been home sick with a bad head cold...which has brought my adventures in the land of 24-hour-party-people to a halt.

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