11 January 2009

this is not a show review

I had the best of intentions to go listen to Ross Etherton sing his songs at the Meadowlark last Thursday, but I just couldn't make it. Well, I made it to the show, just not to hear Ross, which is pretty lame as he was billed to go on second, but I couldn't make it a minute more. I hope it works out better next time.

There were four or five acts on the line up and none of them had started yet. Okay. I had been working two shifts at the book store, filling in for two different people. First shift in the basement in the children's section, then second shift closing the coffee shop. I was achy and tired. I thought perhaps I should probably skip it and just go home, but I telephoned JZ, who was already at the place and he told me that the show hadn't started yet. I went.

I arrived at the Meadowlark a little after 9:30. Nobody had begun to play. I contemplated whether or not I wanted to get a drink with the following internal conversation: I'm really tired and drinking alcohol will only make me sleepier but then I am feeling thirsty and, well, a little edgy. Edgy? Yes, rather edgy in fact. Come to think of it, I thought to myself, I always get kind of uncomfortable at the Meadowlark. I've noted this before and chalked it up to other things, but this time I decided to try to analyze it. I looked around at the stone walls and remembered when this bar first opened. It was a quiet unfinished basement bar that was useful for escaping the Larimer Lounge. It was good for wanting to have a conversation with a friend or just use a clean bathroom. This was before the LL remodel. I would sometimes get a drink there when I arrived a little too early for a show. But that was a couple years ago. Since then, little by little, it started getting fixed up. Heavy wooden furnishings, mood lighting, animal heads, ultra-bright metallic bathrooms. It became less of a get away from the Larimer kind of bar and one of its own identity. But what is this identity? The best way I think I can describe it is "new yuppie artsy bachelor pad" or at least how I imagine one might be. It has the appearance of comfort, but way too self-consciously to actually be comfortable. At least it's that way for me.

Okay, now I've sorted out that question in my mind and got it off my chest. I can get on to the action of the evening and why I didn't make it to the second act. The first act, called, I think, The Radical Knitting Society, took the stage armed with an upright bass, a rather pretty semi-acoustic electric guitar, keyboards and drums. It looked like a potentially intriguing line up of instruments to me. I listened to several songs start out nice and quiet and a little interesting and then build into something more strident and somehow twist toward grating. I wondered if it was the music or the environment getting to me. I again thought about getting a drink. But decided that wouldn't be enough to calm my agitation. I needed to get outside. Fresh air. JZ agreed he could use a smoke, so we trudged up the stone staircase and stepped out into the brisk night air.

It was barely a few moments before the real entertainment of the evening came ambling, nay, weaving down Larimer Street. A tall black man named Ronnie with a 40 in his left pocket, and a forty in his right fist, arrived at the corner and introduced himself. He rapped some dope rhymes. But I forgot them. He told animated nonsensical tales of adventures in hotels and their pools, women and security officers. His eyes were red and watering. He related comedic family stories about his sister and brother and uncle and nephews and nieces and aunt. He was courteous and pretty well behaved for someone as clearly mashed as he was. I didn't have any change for his bus fare, but he left us with the encouraging words that it ain't over 'til Jesus comes down from the sky and tells us it is. All right? Okay.

I didn't feel all agitated anymore though, unfortunately by this time I was so tired I was about to fall over and really really needed to get home, so we went back inside to offer apologies to Ross. There was also a new songwriter in town, hailing from Illinois I think, going by the name of The Dowry, who introduced himself earlier. I'll keep an eye peeled for another chance. But that was all I could take.

I told you this wasn't a show review. It is a failed-attempt-at-making-a-show review. But kids, that's just how it turns out some nights. Lame, but true.

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