Monday, September 19, 2005

Ready? OK!

My father is fond of telling a story about the time he went to a Don Ellis concert at some point in the mid-'70s and was nearly brought to tears when the crowd spontaneously began to clap in 7/8. Ellis was renowned for his play with odd time signatures (one of his songs is titled "33 222 1 222" because that's the subdivision of one measure of that tune in 19/8), but he swung them so hard and so smooth that they felt completely funky and completely natural. I had my own version of that experience on Saturday night at the Sufjan Stevens show at the Metro when the crowd spontaneously began to clap in the 11/8 of "The Tallest Man, The Broadest Shoulders: Part I—The Great Frontier." Feeling those "one-two-three-four CLAP, six-seven-eight-nine CLAP CLAPs" rising up from the ground floor was like feeling the perfect distillation of that place in his music where the complex becomes simple and the simple becomes complex (or the universal becomes personal and the personal becomes universal or however you want to say it). It was love and it was joy and it was respect and it was understanding and it was intimacy and it was participation and it was appreciation. I feel like that's what being a fan of Sufjan is all about. Plus, as anticipated, there were Illinois-themed cheers and a human pyramid, not to mention both "All the Trees of the Field Will Clap Their Hands" and "Chicago" played as encores. I was a very happy kitty. (I also picked up another concert poster; check it out here. I didn't take the picture, but that's what it looks like . . . except for the fact that, unbeknownst to me, some chucklenuts stepped on it before it got rolled up and rubber-banded and handed to me, so there's a big fucking footprint in the middle of it that I discovered yesterday when I opened it up to flatten it out. Grr.)

A longish interview with Carl Newman on Pitchfork today.

Yes, childrens, today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Don't disappoint me. Or Colin Meloy. Or the good folks at 826 Valencia. Of course, the only pirate-speak that comes to my mind at the moment is Gilbert and Sullivan's, which, depending on where you're standing, is either totally weak or totally fitting. MLBO'D and CTLA, say it with me now, in the best Beard-bellow you can muster: "A keener hand at scuttling a cunarder or cutting out a P. & O. never shipped a handspike!" (Thanks, Berianne.)

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