I'm gettin' too old for this. Had a great time up in Portland yesterday for the Guided By Voices farewell show tour, but nearly angsted myself into a nervous breakdown and spent far too much money besides. Thank god I also had today off work to recover from getting to bed at 4:30 a.m. this morning. The body creaks and groans every inch of its 33 years. Cannot RAWK! like I once did.
I also reminded myself what a sheer and utter spaz I am when I go to the Big City, sheltered lamb that I have become. Much missing of turns, looking befuddled and in one particularly gorgeous move, driving the wrong way down a one-way street at 1 a.m. The GbV show itself was good -- not GREAT, but that was mainly because of external factors and not the band for me. The show didn't start until 11 p.m. instead of like 10 as I'd hoped which irked me as I had a three-hour drive to look forward to. The opening band came on and it was another hour before GbV showed, after a funny little slide show tribute and then a kind of inexplicable and hard to hear 10-minute spoken word rant by some guy whose name I didn't catch but I think he is in the band's retinue. By then the crowd was getting kind of impatient and shouting "GbV! GbV!" The club was also pretty small which was nicely intimate, but it got jammed with people and my spot 10 feet away from the stage near the bar became a packed fleshy smoky mass. Usually I don't mind because at 6' 2" I can still see but everyone around me was 6' 4" and very wide for some reason. So after a few numbers I had a panic attack and fled to the back of the room where I could breathe fresh air and move a little bit -- still only 50 feet from the stage or so (like I said, small club). Also, the sound was not great, particularly to start, kind of sludgy and poor vocal mic, turning many numbers into wall of sound roars instead of the more intimate quirky pop record versions.
Now that I realize I sound like a whiny bastard, let me say that Guided By Voices was fab. Bob Pollard looking every inch the 50-year-old ex-schoolteacher beer drinker he is was in great high energy and humor, making fun of Northwest institutions like Seattle's Sub Pop and how we pronounce Eugene. Lots of awesome karate high-kicks and microphone-twirling. Good mix of new and old -- with more than 20 albums, EPs, etc of material to draw through there was stuff even a fanboy like me didn't recognize. I was particularly psyched to hear oldies like "Navigating Flood Regions," "The Hard Way," "Demons Are Real" and some great Bee Thousand tunes. Another brief report of concert here on a fellow Oregonian's blog -- They played 'til 2 a.m.?!? Aargh. Next time I'm getting a damned hotel. I got a nifty semi-sacreligious poster, too!
(I don't even want to get into my scary parking lot panic attack [yesterday was a great day for panic] when I thought I'd lost/had gotten stolen the little anti-theft device under the steering wheel that makes the car not work when you put the key in. This is after 1 a.m. and I'm sitting in the parking lot starting to freak and that's when the homeless guy tapped on my windshield begging for change. I shrieked like a 6-year-old and gave him $5 to make him go away; remembered after about 10 minutes of not breathing (how to get home? call loving wife and have her Fed Ex spare anti-theft device? call AAA? take up new life as street walker?) that I left anti-theft doohickie in the back of car on top of backpack before the show instead of putting it in my pocket like a sane man would. So the adrenaline rush from that little episode kept me wide awake for the drive home at least, what with the sweating and the fear.)
Also blew wayyy too much money at Powell's even with trade credit (shopping list included Da Capo's "Best Music Writing 2004," "Fargo Rock City: A Heavy Metal Odyssey In North Dakota" by the reliable Chuck Klosterman, a remaindered copy of "The Neal Pollack Anthology Of American Literature' which looked amusing, and finally got around to getting "America: The Book" by Jon Stewart) and at Music Millennium scored the new double-disc reissue of Pavement's "Crooked Rain Crooked Rain" and a sale set of The Kinks "Chronicles," both of which I proceeded to listen to as I drove at dangerous speeds south in extreme fog before reaching home and plummeting into bed shortly before the sun came up. Kinks are great for driving in the fog at 2 a.m. My solo urban adventure for the year is complete. And Avril says I'm not allowed to leave the house with the credit cards for many moons.