Sunday, February 26, 2006
At least the plows have been out and I'm sure that the highway is fine. I'm so glad that we hadn't been planning on going to the Toronto Belle & Sebastian show last night. It would have been no fun at all trying to drive into TO yesterday.
I think we'll probably hit the road in a couple of hours. I'm really excited about the show.
When we saw them in the fall, as I've mentioned before, it was at the "Across the Narrow" festival in New York. I haven't written about the actual show before, I guess I just didn't take the time because there was so much to say about the whole day.
When we got to the park (Keyspan Park in Coney Island), we could hear Whirlwind Heat playing. They continued to play as we found a spot to camp out for the day. We didn't see much of their show so I can't really comment on it other than to say they weren't bad, not exciting or really different from what we saw of them but not bad.
The next bad was dreadful. They were called Gang Gang Dance. They made us want to "gag gag heave," it wasn't just us either. Everyone around us was complaining about these guys. All I can really say about them is that I think they knew how horrible they were. They never even stopped for a breath between songs and the few folks who were in the park when they played cheered and clapped with vigor when they finished. Everyone was shouting "yay, finally, you suck!" Fortunately, they only played about 40 minutes. It felt a lot longer than that but it could have been much much worse.
Next on the bill was a Canadian band, Dragonette. They were okay, I thought. Sort of 80's style pop, boppy and forgettable. After Gang Gang Dance though, they sounded really good. As I expect would whoever followed GGD.
At long last, someone I actually wanted to see was up, The Raveonettes. I was super impressed with their show. All summer, I'd been listening to their albums. The live show was terrific although, I felt bad for them because they seemed to get cut short at the end of their set. Too bad too, they sounded terrific and the crowd was really into them.
The Polyphonic Spree followed the Raveonettes. By this time, the sun was starting to set over the park. I'd never heard the Spree, only heard of them. I was quite surprised when they filed out on stage. I say "file" because there were 22 or 24 people in the group. They were all wearing turquoise robes with orange "charlie brown" stripes across the front. I didn't really have any expectation of what they sounded like but even still, I was a little surprised (and impressed) by their set. They had a full band, strings, horns, a choir, and they performed these godspell like pop songs that were not religious but rather, uplifting and happy. They even had a bubble machine that was spitting out bubbles across the crowd. It was good fun and the Spree made such an impression on me that I have driven Mark close to the edge listening to them over and over and over again at home. It's good fun for the whole family, I can't recommend them highly enough!
So, the Belles... As I stood down in front, as close to the stage as I could get (off to the left slightly), I was so excited. I can't remember the last time I felt that way about a band. I had butterflies in my stomach, I thought I was going to cry. It was the weirdest thing. Perhaps the excitement and high level of expectation came from having gone so long without seeing them live. I first heard them when "If You're Feeling Sinister" came out and fell instantly in love with them. A friend of mine had a tape of "Tigermilk" that she got in the UK and she very nicely made a copy for me. I was addicted. As album after album came out, I fell more deeply in love with this band. I don't have the words to describe it, which is pretty flakey I know but they just rocked my socks, yanno? The first time they were to play in Toronto, the show got cancelled. The next two times that they played in Toronto, I had work commitments and could not go to either show. I was really disappointed but there wasn't really anything I could do about it. I had a fear that if I didn't see them soon, they might break up. When I heard about the Across the Narrows show, I knew I had to go. It was lucky that it was in New York (because we love New York and hadn't been down there in a while) and it was happening at a time when I knew I could get away from the office. I think too, I was a little afraid that I'd hyped this up so high in my head that I'd be super disappointed if they sucked live. It happens sometimes. This wasn't one of those times, I'm happy to report.
The set was great, lots of old and new stuff. B&S had just played in London a few days earlier. That show, at the Barbicon, was a bit different as they played "If You're Feeling Sinister" in it's entirety. The set list from Coney Island, of what I can remember, included: Stars of Track and Field, Another Sunny Day (and maybe another new one or two), Electronic Renaissance, Me and the Major, I'm a Cuckoo, Loneliness of a Middle Distance Runner, Judy and the Dream of Horses. They had brought their string section with them too, I guess Playstation (who was putting the festival on) must have thrown enough cash at them for that! At the beginning of the set, they seemed to be having some technical problems, which appeared to frustrate Stuart, but I thought that they sounded terrific. I'm really looking forward to the show tonight because this will be their show. They aren't part of a big festival, they aren't opening for Beck (he was the headliner at the festival). It'll be a longer set and it'll be full of new songs.
So yeah, I'm excited. I don't know if I'll get all teary tonight but we'll see!