And you know what? To protect my kids, I’d lie, too. I’d lie on a stack of Bibles.
Culture consumption. Some production.
I’ve always thought of Bon Iver as my generation’s replacement for James Taylor. Sad music to listen too when you’re in the mood for cryface. But I’d found myself listening to them (really, him) on my iTunes for months. Somehow soothing to find the quiet despair of my cubicle life echoed in the quite despair of his songs. I don’t know. It could just be familiarity.
Regardless, I got last minute tickets to the Bon Iver concert at Radio City Music Hall last fall. Turns out, this was a stroke of luck, as Bon Iver has gone on hiatus from touring for a while and I discovered, albeit very late, how visceral and hefty the music is live. Yes, I use the word heft. This wasn’t a boring acoustic concert. It was the full band and more- a visual and aural feast. I should have figured this out given Justin Vernon’s prog-rock background. I didn’t know what a song like Woods could do until I saw what they put up on that stage. For big pop acts, I find live shows ultimately disappointing. Instead, what a surprise to find the songs reinvigorated and living. Ok, Bon Iver, I officially underestimated you. I might be five years too late but I’m glad I went to watch your show. You are good. Bravo.
And then, with the feather-green darkness pressed against the windows, he puts his filthy fingers on my scrubbed hope face and says, in a tone that falls somewhere between optimism and regret: “If I kiss you, it’s all over.”
And then he does. And then it is.
In all the craziness of these past six months, I’ve only managed to watch Pulp and The Magnetic Fields in concert. The former was filled with all manner of manic energy and pogo-jumping while the latter was rapt, respectful contemplation in the church of Stephin Merritt. I mean, he did try to be all casual about it, but the only response to those quiet songs is to sit and listen, really. Even if he was wearing a baseball bat and trying to be irreverent. How else can one respond to The Book Of Love? All the lovers were silent. All the lover-less were also silent, remembering what they lost.
As for Pulp , Jarvis Cocker was a shambolic sight, reminding me of some wayward British professor taking a break from his easy chair to lecture with amusement at his audience. I remembered how gloriously beautiful Steve Mackey is. But best of all, I could finally vent all my anger and frustration at the deadening weight of financial obligation with no rescue in sight by shouting along to the chorus of Common People. Oh, to be born a trust-fund baby in my next life.