Ethereal Beauty, Fear, and Loathing - Austin Sessions
I didn't picture myself writing about this kind of material when I started this project, but please know I did it with as much respect as possible. This is just a piece of my brain typed into my computer. Last week, I had one of the most beautiful and moving experiences of my musical life. I was lucky enough to catch Sigur Ròs at the Cedar Park Center. A month ago, a friend (who I'll call SF), texted my wife and I asking if we wanted tickets. I thought back to another friend telling me it was the most amazing show he'd ever been to. Naturally we said yes. SF told us about how these Icelanders create their own words and use them as lyrics in their music. Are you fucking kidding me? Inconceivable! Full disclosure: I'm not a huge fan, but I've listened to them enough to know I wanted to see them if I ever had the chance. Listening to bands on vinyl or Spotify is never as good as seeing them live. Never. I have been disappointed with some shows that I was really looking forward to. To be fair, it was mostly due to production and/or technical difficulties. I try my best to avoid shitty bands.
This show, however, was as perfect as a live show can be. From the first song, I was numb. My eyes locked onto the stage, my body released my stored tension, and I was gone. For the next couple hours, I was in a state of emotional confusion. I've seen my share of great bands: Radiohead, Pearl Jam, Wilco, Flaming Lips, Pixes, Sonic Youth…you get the idea. But none of them, not even my favorites, have ever made me feel the way I did last Wednesday. Seriously, it was beyond me. At one point I look over and my wife and SF are laughing. Then I notice tears SF's eyes. She'd been crying for the past three songs. My wife and I hugged, swaying to the music. Powerful shit. I'm 36 years old, and it's taken me this long to find something this beautiful and moving in a live performance. If any of you ever get the chance, I recommend you catch this band. Even if you have to drive to a different state. This shit is that good. Less than a week later, as the residual effects of the show were just starting to wear off my Twitter feed finally broke the spell.
I was at work when I read about the explosions in Boston. Thinking back to 9/11 my first thoughts were not optimistic. I took a break and read about the horrible actions of some moron(s) whose stupid choices led to the loss of three innocent lives and over a hundred injuries. I watched some videos, looked at some pictures and felt sick. I'm not good with blood. I pass out giving it, seeing it, even hearing about it. But this was different. It wasn't the gore being broadcast everywhere that sickened me. It was thinking of all the people who were oblivious to what had just happened to them as they supported friends and loved ones. One second, you're smiling, straining to see your friend, husband, or dad cross the finish line. The next...
Look, I understand that life has a certain balance. Horrible things can and will happen. We have to roll with the punches and move on. I get that. Here's my problem: I'm extremely sympathetic and to a slightly lesser degree, empathetic. I had a hard time sleeping Monday night. I couldn't help it. I couldn't stop thinking about how the people in Boston were being affected and how they were coping with what happened. The same way that I was moved with the collective crowd at last weeks show, the events in Boston effected me equally in the opposite direction. I was lucky enough to have experienced such loveliness last week, that I'm in no position to sulk about the craziness that happened Monday. I'm lucky. My friends who lived there not too long ago, are back home in Austin. Again, something to be thankful for. I feel for those people, and I know they'll respond to the next few months the same way they responded seconds after the blasts: with compassion and selflessness. If I could somehow funnel that cloud of Sigur Ròs emotional love into a red convertible, I'd send it screaming to Boston, unleash it, and let everyone there know that everything is gonna be okay.