Friday, August 10, 2007


Watch Me Abuse the Conversational (Parenthetical) Aside

So after WAY too many (2) Dr. Pepper's with dinner, and possibly too many (4) blueberry vodka drinks (best friend; also nemesis) at the Mercy Lounge last night, I have some thoughts. Tonight's show was Cory Branan and Ben Nichols, touring under the moniker Brew City Tour III, meaning this is the third time this Particular Circumstance of Cory and Ben on stage together, trading songs, has crossed through Nashville. Ben Nichols is the lead singer of Lucero, Cory is a singer-songwriter from Memphis-ish, but not the douchebag type, as he likes to say. This pairing is dangerous on a very basic level. There are some bands who REALLY appeal to boys, boys respond to them, boys buy their music and wear their shirts. And there are some artists who have an exclusively female following, girls learn all the words, girls write blogs about them. What happens when you put one of each on stage? At the same time? It really starts to stir up some much larger questions, about music, and musicians, and what they mean to us, and fidelity, and the future, and the type of people you (I) want to be.

Ben Nichols is the Pied Piper of boys with tattoos. I have said this many times in trying to identify and categorize this bizarre scientific occurence: when Ben Nichols talks, boys listen. They memorize lyrics. They bellow along while pumping their fist in the air, with their other arm slung around the shoulders of the boy next to them, whose fist is also raised, clamped firmly around a PBR. If Ben Nichols said, "All you boys out there, with your tattoos and trucker hats and scruffiness, go jump out the window," that venue would be, almost immediately, emptied of hairy legs, and there would be a mess on the sidewalk for the CSI people to deal with. I have been around boys and boy culture my whole life, what with my gigantic big hairy family of men with broadswords, and then all the boys I collected in high school and college, as a den-mother-type who made them study and break up with girls who were bad for them. And I have never seen boys respond, en masse, to a leader, a messiah, a raconteur, the way they respond to Ben Nichols. Lucero are like Uncle Tupelo, but dirtier, with whiskey running through their veins, cheap beer pouring from their fingertips like conductors of drinking songs. The difference is Ben Nichols.

And then there is Cory. I've written about him before, on my old blog, and I don't want to cross over into gushiness or worshipfulness or whatever. He has become my friend after years of just being a fan, and for this I am grateful. I can sum it up this way: Cory writes the words that every girl, in her heart of hearts, has waited her whole life to hear a man say to her. And her dad doesn't count. This is a dangerous talent, fraught with risk and bad omens. This man exists, he writes poetry that doesn't always rhyme, he says brave things and dirty things and things that make you catch your breath and shake your head like you've been slapped. He's right there, in front of you, don't you want to just sit down on a stool sort of off to the side and wait for him to come off the stage, towards you, and take your hand? He could say those things to you, you know he has the words, this could be the moment. Wait for him, watch sideways as he puts his guitar down and fusses with his hair for the millionth time, don't make eye contact with the dozen other girls on that same side of the stage with obviously the same intentions.

I've been mentally mapping out a blog for a while now, about Things I Wish I Didn't Know. (The subheading is "Dad, please think before you say these things out loud to your daughters.") And I think what made it come up in my mind in the first place is a sort-of starfucker kind of issue... is it better for performers to be remote and distant and to fulfill all my hopes and dreams in song, or do I really want them to sit down next to me and start talking?

What am I going to do, take him home with me? Because he strings the right words together in a cadence that suits me? Take him Home, where The Boo has been sleeping for hours now, The Boo who will get up early and ride his bicycle and take care of our demanding and hilarious pets? No. I'm not going to do that. Even writing about it seems destructive, the way I was in college, when I would write cheating poems, just begging to be caught and punished. Last night I said good night, I walked out the door, I put these thoughts together on the way home, and I brushed my hair before going to bed so I wouldn't smell like smoke in the morning.

and here is my policy on Bailing: if you have plans with me, and those plans change, please tell me. This is not difficult. I am a text messaging fiend. Send me a text that says "I'm not coming" and I promise you, I will be fine with that. If I already bought you a ticket, I might give you a little bit of shit about that. But mostly, I'd rather just know that you aren't coming than have my calls and texts ignored. Suck it up, be straight with me.

And remember the good karma request of a few weeks back? It didn't work out. It was a job interview, I'll tell you that now, and I found out this morning that I didn't get the job, and I'm really disappointed. So there, I'm looking for a job, if you think of anything. And I'm glad I've got my girl Brandy here with me now to gossip and keep me distracted and this bad news is not going to ruin my weekend.

P.S. The Mercy Lounge, one of my favorite venues, is failing at their half-assed attempt to be smoke-free. There are a couple of shitty signs hanging up on posts, and otherwise no structure, no enforcers, particularly not John Bruton, lighting up in a fog at the bar. I mentioned the smoke-free rule to several partakers tonight, one of them even asked me if I worked there, and I don't care what that implies. I'm the bitchy schoolmarm, whatever. It sure would have been nice to come home tonight without having to wash all my clothes. What a violation of personal rights.

1 comment:

laura said...

You have a way with words, my friend. I loved reading this.