Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

I finally did my first show in Chapel Hill at the Local 506. Due to a babysitting exchange H and I were able to go to a show together on Monday night. That a lone made a fab. start to the whole evening...add to this wonderfulness, great friends and it was bound to a perfect evening.

We left in a thunderstorm. H seems to have this kind of luck every time he drives to Chapel Hill. The way there was filled with laughing and lots of talking about music. Going to music shows with music geeks is the only way to go. We created wish lists of what we'd like to see in the near future, and talked about what we had seen in the not so distance past.

Driving to Chapel Hill is not the same kind of beautiful as driving to Asheville. I85 being a highway of ugliness as all interstates normally are. There are no mountains to wind the car through. Just big pieces of flat. But somehow with friends, with H beside me, quiet and thoughtful, the trip ended up having a different kind of beauty.

We arrived in Chapel Hill around 8:30, Amber and Daren needing to pee desperately, and all of us needing Mediterrean food. Chapel Hill is a college town, charmingly filled with little shops in a real downtown area. Lots of young kids wandering around, freed from classes with only finals to look forward to. There was a taste of that freedom as we rushed from sidewalk to resturant, trying to escape the downpour. The deli was delicious, warm and filled with spicy smells. We ate the best hummus I've ever had the pleasure to savor. Followed by sticky and sweet bakolvia.
H and I sat outside at one point both smoking, looking mysterious. We hid from the rain under a table umbrella, and practiced sending each other mysterious, sexy glances. It's nice to be able to flirt with your husband of nine years.

We finally dragged our filled bellies back out into the rain. We had to hide at one point under one of those annoucement boards that had a little roof. It's always wonderful what you find on those boards.

The club was excellent. A really wonderful intimate space. It's small and rather warehouse looking. Not a comfortable space but defintely an intimate space. The stage was set up a little high...I've gotten used to stages at your level, and there was a rail seperating the band from the audience. I didn't care for that element. It was strange in a place so small and it offset the intimacy that one felt upon walking in. The whole protecting the band from the fan thing struck me as odd. But overall the space was conducive to a good music experience which is really what I'm after.

ZaZa opend. I've never heard of them. Felt a bit confused when I recognized the drummer...thought he was part The Pains of Being Pure at Heart...realized he was the drummer....ahh...confusion. They were...alright. I really hate slamming a band that has potential so I'll try to not be too harsh. They didn't suck. The first song was good...kind of haunting and melodious. The singer, male, had this very high voice that worked for that song. The songs thereafter started to a, all sound alike, and b, his voice got on my nerves. There are some who enjoy that kind of singing..high pitched, squealy almost. I am not one of those some. It annoyed me. The bassist has great legs though.
H and our friend Amber liked them. But then TPOBPAH came on. You know it's amazing to hear the difference between a really tight band and one that is just beginning. I realized that ZaZa really wasn't bad, it's just that they felt really new, like they hadn't quite worked their sound out yet. With TPOBPAH, you could tell from the opening note that this was a band that knew their sound, knew what they wanted to convey, and had the ability to do get that through to the audience.Kip Berman has a beautiful voice...almost sweet with a touch of longing. When he sings, it makes your heart ache a little. And then Peggy Wang chimes in with her darling voice, lifing the longing and heartache a bit up to the sky.
The music meanwhile is hard, fast, pushing you to boucne, dance, throw your arms up, and just move. It is a strange combination. I felt unsettled because the vocals have this heavenly, etheral touch, but the music, the drums, loud and throbbing, the guitars wailing with the help of pedals. My heart and soul want to cry, to fall to the floor, but the music gives you a kind of happy hope, as if moving through all this will bring you out of the pain.

Basically the band is just really good. They are fun, tight, and have funky, kirky lyrics. They have these moments where they sound almost like a 50s band with all the wooing, wooing. And then the next song, they're rocking out like The Jesus and Mary Chain. But they really do make their music their own. They only have these moments where you can hear the influence. Part of what makes them sound so unique are those twisted and yet they come off like honey, like pop songs: "You're my sister, and this love is fucking right."
The crowd was amazingly young. I think we were defintely some of the oldest people in attendance. Not that anyone seemed to mind. I realized this is a band that makes me feel like I am nineteen again. I would have loved them even more at nineteen than I do now. They're fun, funky, sweet, and sad all at the same time. Kind of what it's like to be nineteen.
Just look at the new unknown name guitar player. He looks like one of my freshman college students! But hell he was good.

And on the way home, we nearly encountered salvation via the Mobile Chapel.
Instead Amber and Horacio encountered hell in the "iced coffee pot".


Daren said...

It was a fun trip all around. Hope to do it again soon.

Lolabola* said...

I have never seen a mobile chapel. how utterly bizarre that photo is.

love that you practiced sending mysterious sexy glances

Horacio said...

the mysterious sexy glances were intense!

the pains of being pure at heart were awesome: i love your review/entry.

so true about the apparent disconnect between Berman's voice and the music. I'm sure that's one of feature in their music that makes me like them so much.