Before I go any further, you should know that my mind’s not right. Isn’t tonight and wasn’t the last five. Personal shit. Heavy truths of watching the ones you love get older while you chance the teenage dream again and it all just seems so much grayer than it did in the daylight and so, no, my heart wasn’t in Ridgewood and had I not made some promises and dragged Good Joseph from his slumber I would’ve gladly stayed inside, drinking rum and cooking eggs until the dogs pissed the floor and paid content segued me, shamelessly, into the morning.
Still and all, I’m glad I took this event over certain death. Not least of all for GM Jen who Joe and I swear we met before but she assured us, often, to the contrary. She slung us “baller” beers and shots and a delightful countenance in contrast to the shadowplay. She made what could – and well should – have been a doldrum into a helluva decent time for two dudes just looking for the right thing to do before the wilderness.
I sure hope we tipped her enough.
Miserable is Kristina Esfandiari who is also King Woman which is a band that I like much more in principle than in practice because their emotive doom just never finds the right crack in my armor to sneak into my skull but Miserable? Yeah, she’s all right. Perhaps not always but certainly tonight, played in the dark on the floor, with a warm, welcomed/welcoming humanity that vacillates between power and frailty. This is crushing music well-loved under wool covers.
I have never liked this band and I will, likely, never like this band because I haven’t liked math since the 10th grade and I never learned to play an instrument. That being said, I admire Toby Driver’s tenacious commitment to his own event horizon where none but the most patient devotees may linger for more than half a set before being devoured by cheap drink and agoraphobic nosebleeds and if this kid doesn’t get to play with Neil Peart just once before the universe inverts then there is no justice and – so – never peace or as I said to some dude over smokes outside the venue, “Listen, I don’t like Kayo Dot, but if you do then seeing them live is going to fucking change you.”
I only know Wrekmeister Harmonies as a static entity: J.R. Robinson. Bewitched, bothered and bemoaning his lonesome coyote call, I remember him dusting the strange Texas prairie that is SXSW before BLACKIE and then who gives a fuck but in a few short years he’s grown his testament from the lone preacher lunatic to an epic countenance (or maybe it was always there and I just happened to miss it) that would wake the dead if the dead weren’t lost to myth of America and so I stood before his set, tonight, reasonably certain that I would find a new and irreparable hemorrhage in the sullen rust of Ridgewood but, instead, I found an eclipse. Thanks, in no small part, to Esther Shaw’s patient instrumental plaints tonight’s set read less like the white knight suicide and more like a Bardo horror. A plodding test to welcome the merciful. A testament to magic men. Completion.