Thursday, September 30, 2010

Excited for October

I was reading the Post's profile on some pumpkin dishes that have recently been added to some DC area restaurant menus and immediately resolved that I would bake the season's first loaf of pumpkin bread on my day off tomorrow. HOLY moley, I am excited about that. I also kicked off my very own fall concert series with a really fun show at the 9:30 club. I had the unexpected but very welcome companionship of two friends from South Africa who now find themselves in DC, and we had a smashing time.

Despite the rain and the rushed trip to the gay sports bar post-show, I had an interesting evening thinking about Stars and how they are a very different type of performer than I have seen in a long time. About this time last year, I was meeting some of my favorite people on earth to go see my favorite band on earth. A U2 show really is that, a show. I say that I'm going to see shows all the time but they really are just performances of people who play music that I like to hear. A show, I think, constitutes a bit more theatrics. A U2 stadium show cannot be compared to anything else on this earth, and certainly not a Canadian band's gig at the 9:30 club, but I will say that it made me think that my attraction to this band is different than what draws me to others.

The show itself was fun because it was sort of a breath of fresh air. They had light schemes, they had bubbles, they had flower petals and actual flowers to throw into the crowd and they had smooth transitions and a well-thought-out set list. It was really a show. Most of the time when I go see music, I see people who give me the impression that while they may have planned what they're going to play and have rehearsed a couple of times to make sure they don't suck, what you see is what you get. They shoot (read: play) from the hip and that's the style their music conveys on the albums too. I'm thinking of comparing Stars to my most recent concert experience: Gaslight Anthem. No lights, no frills, just raw rock energy. I think the lilting, dreamy quality to a lot of Stars songs, contributed mostly by the female vocalist Amy Millan, gives the whole show a trance-like feel. I think they understand this and exploit it. Gaslight Anthem on the other hand, they want you to get wrapped up in the energy, get up, stay up, and sing the f*** along!

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