Fantastic things to blog about! First, Chris and I saw The Long Winters at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor last Sunday. They were playing in Chicago on Saturday, but I decided to go up to Michigan instead, since the Blind Pig's website proclaims that John Lennon once played there! Having gone to relatively few live shows, I've never seen a non-local band play at such a small club. The place wasn't all that much bigger than my apartment. Having gone to shows of bands that I'm obsessed with that play bigger places, we arrived in Ann Arbor around 4:30pm (doors opened at 9pm, according to the tickets). It turns out that Ann Arbor isn't a bad town six days out of the week. Sunday, however, is the day when people sacrifice sandwiches to the gods, though, and I advise not going there on this holy day, unless you want to pay too much money for a frilly sandwich and latte at a cafe. So, we spent a lot of our time waiting in a bar underneath the bar/club where the band would be playing. Except, after playing darts we went back outside to get some fresh air and to make sure that a line wasn't forming. It was pretty windy outside, though, and I wanted to go in, but Chris said we should stay and finish going through the down clues (we were working on a GLBT crossword puzzle). I knew having Chris around would pay off at some point--a van with Washington license plates pulled up and started unloading Long Winters. So we shook hands and introduced ourselves to two of the members, John Roderick and Eric Corson. Later on, when we started waiting outside permanently at around 8pm, we had a chat with Eric as he was smoking, and he told us about the drunken antics witnessed post-show in Chicago.
So, the show. The opening band, Stars of Track and Field, were pretty good, though they seemed to rush through their set and didn't really interact with the audience. Then, a very awesome, two hour show by John Roderick and company. Some highlights: being not much more than a foot away from the band, the ensuing song when someone in the audience requested Rush (Eric broke into I don't know, some Rush song (I make a point of not knowing their oeuvre) and John improvised his "best Neal Peart impression": "dungeons and dragons, wizards....Ayn Rand, determinism, secular humanism"), all of the stage banter, all of the songs, the non-encore which consisted of playing more songs, though without the superfluous five minutes of the audience cheering to an empty stage waiting for the band to return, and the aftershow chatting with the band. Chris bought one of their albums, When I Pretend To Fall, which was signed by everyone (prior to this show, I had seen John Roderick play at the 826 Benefit in Chicago--where he played "Porcupine Pie" with Ben Gibbard, and had afterward downloaded some Long Winters songs, but hadn't really given a good listen to more than about three songs. I went to this show mostly to once again see the excellent stage presence and voice of John Roderick). I had a good conversation with Roderick, during which he wished me luck with my Master's degree (!), and I hope I came off as an interesting, funny, and suave person who he was charmed by. All around excellent day which I hope to repeat sometime in the future.

In other blog-worthy news, The Decmeberists DVD, The Decemberists: A Practical Handbook, became mine on Tuesday!! It is fantastic. Consisting of a recording of their performance at the Roseland Theater in Portland from November 4, 2005, a documentary (excellent, though it should be longer!) called Paris Before the War, and the music videos for "The Tain," "The Bachelor and the Bride," "16 Military Wives," "The Soldiering Life," and "Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect," it will not leave my DVD player for a good amount of time. The video for "The Tain" is tremendously spectacular. I have a feeling it will prevent me from getting much work done. It presents the story of The Tain and is done in silhouette animation by Andy Smetanka, who used the same medium to produce a truly excellent video for "The Bachelor and the Bride" as well. Really, it must be seen, it can hardly be adequately described and praised through me writing a blog entry. So, that's all in blog land for today. I have a Decemberists concert to listen to from World Cafe.


"Wait a minute, wait a minute, give a minute..."

when you're driving home
you'll take a tour of
the hole in the ground,
it runs at about 80 cents/hr.
and your car will
travel over those
hundreds of miles,
the headlights doing
their best to cut a
swath out of the
pitch black of a
highway without streetlights
on its sides.
and when you're on your
way home, out to the East,
I'll look out in the night
and wait for the sun to rise.