My friend Jason and I were planning on going to the Frightened Rabbit, Twilight Sad, We Were Promised Jetpacks show Wednesday night. Then, he sent me a text message that said, “secret sdre show tomorrow, i propose we go there instead of twilight sad, what say ye?” (He’s a special kind of pirate.) To which I replied, “Hell yes.” That’s how Jason, his girlfriend Allie (Ally?), me and a couple hundred other people got to go to the best show I’ve seen since last summer’s HWM/Bouncing Souls show in Portland.
We headed south at the extraordinarily early hour of 7:00ish and used carpool power to arrive at about 8:15. Early enough to post up at the front of the stage with powerful forces in the Seattle music scene such as stranger article writers, show booker/promoter/all around guy, and some bonafide rock stars. Our spot in the limelight of the lowlife of Tacoma secured, we proceeded to wait until our heroes arrived on the scene. In the meantime…
Basic Radio are not Sunny Day Real Estate. However, they were very tight. They played sort of second wave emo-y pop-punky stuff. They might have gotten a better reception opening for The Get Up Kids tomorrow night. They are ready for the arena rock scene: they have all the comments like “How are you doing out there?”, the random “woo!” in the middle of a song, and excellent crowd stare-down skills. The singing was a little bit weak, it sounded like. But then again, I was leaning on a monitor on the other side of the stage, so it might have just been me. I don’t know if anybody will get this reference, but they reminded me of Gameface.
Glimpse are not Sunny Day Real Estate. My powerful music scene acquaintance and mix tape club leader informed me that the drummer was in TRIAL after my favorite TRIAL drummer left. I guess that explains why I never saw TRIAL more than that one time. When he tossed a drumstick at my rock star acquaintance, it found it’s way back on to the stage. The sound guy eventually picked it up and threw it away. Glimpse will be a big hit on KISW with their horrible lyrics and basically new metal sound. At least I think that’s what they were going for. I don’t know. They weren’t Sunny Day Real Estate.
Sunny Day Real Estate
I’ll let you in on a secret that no music snob should divulge: I had never seen Sunny Day Real Estate live before last night. I lived a sheltered childhood! They broke up right about when I graduated to adulthood, right after the pink record was recorded. And, in my opinion, they never got back together. There, I said it. The only two SDRE records I will ever own are Diary and LP2. And I will love the hell out of them. I tried to like “What it Feels Like to be Something On…” when it came out and all my college friends bought it. I listened to my ex-girlfriends copy of “The Rising Tide” several times. I just never found the same power that I did when I first saw the Seven video on MTV’s 120 minutes and stood in the living room with my mouth open, rewinding the tape (yes, I recorded that show) and watching it again and again. A while later I went down to Fallout Records and bought a copy of “Diary.” They searched all around and finally found a copy of the free poster that came with it. The one that still hangs in my classroom today, reminding me how awesome things can be. And SDRE has been one of my favorite bands since. They changed my perception of what music was, in fact. They were the band that changed my high school pop-punk band into a band that wrote “emo” songs. And yet, I never saw them live. Until last night.
And last night was amazing. I’m so glad that in the past two years I have seen two shows that have felt like the first time I really fell in love. Like staring across that plate of Mexican food at the beautiful features of the girl I was sure I’d spend the rest of my life with. With the Hot Water Music show, I came away feeling reborn. Like anything was possible. I was dripping with sweat and slightly battered and had completely ruined my voice and my emotions, but I loved it. Everything painful had finally been taken from me and the world was how it should be: loud and beautiful. Last night, Sunny Day Real Estate reminded me again how everything should be. They cleansed a growing depression as we sang along together. It was like a religious experience. Particularly the part where Enigk blessed us all at the end. But I guess I’ll have to get used to that.
The set list has already been posted a bunch of places. My rockstar acquaintance got his hands on the copy that Dan Hoerner was using, in fact. I won’t assume this will be the only review you read, so you can check out a bunch of other reviews to see the set list. Actually, you can probably still get tickets for the show at the Paramount if you want to be a part of the magic. Reading those set lists, you will understand just how amazing this show was. When I say religious experience, I mean it. Even though no one knows the words to the pink album for sure, I was singing along my made up words as best as I could. It reminded me of Billie Joe’s piece in the Operation Ivy “Plea for Peace” 7″ where he talks about singing his made up words into the microphone on stage with Op IV at Gilman when the crowd joined them up there. Not that the words don’t matter, it’s just the pieces we do understand make the pieces we don’t understand seem that much more awesome. I love the pink album.
The band was having fun and loving it up there, it appeared. The crowd was enthusiastic and into every song. I couldn’t see much because I was looking forward and closing my eyes and singing, but I think everyone was smiling. The band definitely was. I definitely was. Every song was exactly the one I wanted to hear. Goldsmith’s massive drum sound and wonderful rhythmic structure was so amazing. My hands still hurt a little from pounding on the monitor. The guitars were blazing and Mendel was rolling his head around and throwing down complex bass lines like nobody’s business. And over the top of it all, on his tiptoes, Mr. Enigk provided the voice of our anguish and pain. Our own little therapy session. Well, mine at least. The night was so powerful. So cathartic. I can’t wait until October 16th when I get to do it all again. I could do this every day. I would be healed if I could see an amazing band like SDRE or HWM or TGUK or TITR or JtB or many others… every day.
October 16th. I can’t wait.
Here’s a terrible sounding video of the back of my head: