Sunday, December 7, 2008

Adventures in Bustin' Out of the House

I've always wanted to be that person who has an arsenal of quirky cool stories, the kind that start out, "this one time in college," or whatever the case may be. Honestly, those stories aren't terribly difficult to come by, it just takes stepping outside your front door, preferably after 10 p.m.

That said, when my friend asked me if I'd like to go with her to this funky little coffee house (that I don't go to as often as I'd like) to see a friend of hers play a gig, I didn't even hesitate. For one, this coffee house is the type of place where the cool kids go. In high school these people were the strange artsy ones with massive Sharpie collections and no interest in anything remotely close to Top 40. They were they forgotten tribe in the corner of the cafeteria but these days we're living in the city where the jocks and the preps are uncultured and merely vanilla. That's not to say that's all who frequent the place, but the scales are tipped in their favor.

We arrived at some point in the 10 o'clock hour and it wasn't particularly packed. Things don't really get jumping until it's past what the average older person would deem a respectable bedtime. After snagging some hot chocolate and forking over $5 for a three-act evening of Jesus-friendly hip-hop (I kid you not). We met up with my friend's friend, a compact bundle of constant motion who goes by the stage name James Fate. After making some room on the bench next to the band, I was ready for some serious people watching.

From here, there are a couple roads to take.

A) The Place- The show was in the Back Stage Bar. There were some tables set up and our red bench on the side wall. It was the kind of room you expect to have been filled with smoke and smelling of beer, but only the latter was true and to a small degree. Dim lights, the glow of neon, and not enough room to take my jacket off. There's not much between the performer and the audience.

B) The People- The people were the best part. You had said artsy types, a kid at a table selling art work (namely alligators wearing hoodies and girl jeans), looking like the intersection between indie scene and urban. There were the kinds of people who were probably at Bonnaroo this summer, dreads, circular dance moves and all. One girl in particular....we weren't really sure if she was drunk or just know the type. I'll put it like this, for the first two acts, she was the only one dancing. Then there was the photographer and his girlfriend who were sitting next to me. Slightly above the median age, but so ready to get in the middle of the music.

That was one thing that struck me, a few months ago I read some editorial complaining about how some people don't dance at concerts. I say it's none of my business, but it did make me tune in last night to who was acting how. In a couple cases, the music started up and even if it wasn't that great, there was this willingness and readiness to just sink into it regardless. The head bobbing and grooving with closed-eyes, submerging in the meaning of every beat. For me, I do little more than tap my foot. I operate like a radar at these things because I know I'll be writing about it. The photog's girlfriend on the other hand was searching for some musical catharsis and community, periodically turning to me to make a comment and always moving with the sounds in her own little space. They looked happy.

C) The Music- Like I mentioned, The Holla, which is a hip-hop night type thing. Our buddy there, James Fate was the Jesus-friendly part. The other two? I couldn't understand enough lyrics to know. (EDIT: my sources tell me all three were Jesus-friendly, in fact.)

First up was a guy calling himself 247 and his band the Three65s. He was funny, one of those people who states the obvious but with quirky comedic flair. You have no idea why you are laughing. Anyway, with only a bass player and drummer, it was really stripped down. It started off pretty cool but there wasn't enough variation between each song. Still, 247 had a good stage presence. You can watch a clip here.

Second was a guy (W-T the Musical Mastermind-- wouldn't go that far) who looked like Steve from the Sarah Silverman program. I've never seen anyone break a sweat that quickly. He was very intense, but given the fact that he was the middle act, the crowd only seemed mildly interested as he tried to start up some audience participation.

Last was James Fate (né Nate James). What a character. He did his best to "show love" to the other performers. One song in particular is pretty catchy, "Just a Dream" which is basically every musician's inner thoughts about how great it would be to make it and leave behind the day job etc. It's more Maroon 5 than hip-hop, though (think "Tangled"). He definitely and undoubtedly was the crowd favorite.

Anyway, this entry is longer than I intended, but it was a good night and it was great to go out and hear music that I normally would not listen to. There's more to tell, but your attention span is probably on the wane right now. Spice of life, folks. Here's to bustin' out of the house.

The Killers review is coming soon. Stay tuned, kids.


Quiet Entertainer said...

Haha, yea that was a fun night. Glad you enjoyed. Cafe Coco is a cool little spot :-P

James Fate said...

My attention span is not waning! Tell me more of this James Fate! hahaha