Local Natives, Broomfield, CO, 4/9/11

Arcade Fire
Local Natives
1st Bank Center, Broomfield, Colorado
April 9, 2011

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I have become an instant Local Natives fan after seeing them with Arcade Fire. Their songs are rich with sustained 3 part harmonies that I’m a huge sucker for. A visit to their website reminds me of the old website of Sleeping in the Aviary. The graphics are complete nonsense, but in a laughable way that sticks with you. As they took the stage, the lead singer said he couldn’t sleep last night. Another of the other band memebers had the same problem. He thought it was because this was their first time playing with Arcade Fire. My friend Peter played their Gorilla Manor cd on the way to the concert. He hadn’t gotten tickets to their sold out show in Denver, so he drove 8 hours to Omaha, Nebraska to see them, then drove back home, after purchasing the cd. He let me borrow it, but it was obviously sentimental to him, he insisted I not forget to bring it with me the next time I saw him.

At their show, opening for Arcade Fire, they played much of the material off this album, including Warning Signs (I love the melody to the lyrics “I’ve got money now”), Shape Shifter (“like you’re pulled by the moonlight somehow”) and Cards & Quarters.

They closed with “Sun Hands,” which is at first calm and melodic, but in the middle of the song, it shifts from the lead singer repeating the lines “And when I can’t feel with my sun hands, I promise not to leave her again” to a near yelling with the full band, and after that is over, a driving guitar riff picks up where the singers leave off.

The song Airplane brought tears to my eyes. The lyrics at first made me think that it’s another broken-hearted song, until the closing line when I was reminded of my departed grampas and my dad, instead of an ex. I love everything about this song, especially the sticks on the rim.

It sounds like
We would of had a great deal
To say, to say,
To each other
I bet when
I leave my body for the sky
The wait, the wait,
Will be worth it

I love it all
So much I call
I want you back, back, back
You back

Their oldest song (and probably my second favorite) Who Knows Who Cares”, was inspired by a tour in Colorado, and promise to have a new album out the next time they roll our way. The wait will be worth it.
Official video:

Update:
8 May 2011
When I posted the official video, I had seen this one, but I’m annoyed by the minute-plus of junk at the beginning. It’s really cool though, the way the musicians enter the scene, as they do in the song. Thanks Katie, for reminding me.

The Head and the Heart: Lord, give me to the one that makes me whole

The Head and the Heart (Seattle, WA )
Kelli Schaefer
The Moondoggies
Ravenna Woods

House concert, Colorado Springs, CO
March 12, 2011

The Head and The Heart is one of those bands that I can’t stop listening to. You should probably be using the links below to the songs and listening to them as you read. Stop, do it right now, before you read any further. It will make more sense that way. Take this emotional journey with me.

I was lucky enough to catch them at a house show in Colorado Springs. It was indescribably intimate, in the clich├ęd kind of way where all I can say is you had to be there. The lights were up, in a room that could have been someone’s living room. I’m sure if I look closely in the pictures on Fuel/Friends’ blog, and remembering where I was standing for each set, I can probably find myself.

Ravenna Woods was up first. If it had been my rodeo, I would have billed them third, to have peak intensity in the middle of the show. They were definitely the most rockin’ of the 4 bands. I got a copy of their album Demons and Lakes and passed it on to the owner of the Red Raven (I’d post a link, but they are currently moving to a new awesome location) in Pueblo. (Aaron/Kev, did you find it yet?) We were hoping things would work out that they could play on their way back through town from SXSW where all four bands were headed next, or at the very least, offer them a place to crash. They were the only one of the four who were passing back through after SXSW was finished. I was supposed to be heading there next myself, (Next year, Jake Dilley!) but it wasn’t going to fit into my crazy life that week, and I ended up getting sick anyway. I wouldn’t have been able to handle any sort of partying that week, as South-by demands. That is not a week for the weak, and I am a complete amateur when it comes with keeping up with the night-after-night partying of the bands. I can only hang about 3 nights before falling on my face, and they keep up their pace for weeks on end. Anyhow, the Ravenna Woods set was completely great, full of energy. Especially considering Chris later told me they had driven two days straight from Seattle, and through a snowstorm Wyoming. It looks like the Ravenna Woods crew had a great trip despite it.

I actually didn’t catch much of the second set, the Moondoggies. My compadres and I stepped out to run a few blocks away where my friend Jordan Smart was playing at the Modbo. And just to get some air and catch my breath.

The third set was Kelli Schaefer. It was just her on guitar, and a flautist that did some backup singing. I’d post pictures, but they’re terrible. I bought her special edition pink vinyl despite not owning a record player (yet), for the digital download, which Kelli had to chase me down to give me. In my opinion, this album doesn’t come close to capturing her true talent and emotion, at least not what was on display that night. At one point she was standing on top of a folding chair, sweat dripping down her face, strumming each chord with a long pause in between each line, her voice wavering with intensity, as if the words are painful to say.

Better Idea

Well I can’t treat my body like a
temple when it is failing
Are you kidding?
Was that your plan to keep me grounded, well it’s not working
and the seed that you have planted is needing
things that I can’t give it

When I first hear the lines, I am smiling, nodding my head in agreement. I know this feeling that she is singing about perfectly. Our eyes meet just then, and she recalls this moment later when I’m talking to her after her set. But my smile swiftly turns to tears of guilt. Broken faith of several sorts. Yes, I do know this feeling perfectly.

All of the sets were ultra-acoustic. Like when Tyler, the drummer for The Head and The Heart, turned to a chair followed by the chandelier on the ceiling. Those of us who were there know what happened next. Don’t worry, the chandelier is fine. He said they were coming back soon to Boulder to play the Pearl Street Music Festival, and then again in June with Iron & Wine. I had all intentions of going to the festival (May 7th). But it was on the same night as my mom’s commencement ceremony (Yay, Mom!), and the sold-out Minus the Bear show in New York that my friends in Milagres were opening for. Why is it that there are always either three things to go to on the same night, or none?

I was probably 3 feet away from them, and the emotion gave me chills, especially since I could connect with the lyrics at such a deep level that tears were literally streaming down my face. I downloaded what amounts to a free EP when it was released, and it brings back every moment of that night perfectly. It was almost month to the day after the third and last repeat of my big breakup. The final one was the day before Valentine’s Day, and this night he was there. I kept my distance, especially since he was on a date. Which song first brought tears to my eyes? I think it was “Chasing A Ghost” that really did it.

I must be a fool
To go out and chase you
That’s just what, it’s just what I’ll do.

And I am
Chasing a ghost
And I am
A fool

Ever since
You packed up and walked away
Well, all my skies
Have all turned grey

For this ghost now stands but five feet away from me, this ghost I had for the entire evening tried to stay as far away from in this room as possible, but these words. I NEEDED to get closer to them, and I moved, now only 2 people between he and I.

The other songs that instantly pricked my tearducts didn’t get any easier:

Josh McBride

Darling this is when I met you
For the third time, not the last
Not the last time we are learning
Who we are and what we were

You are in the sea beside me
You are in my dreams at night

Rivers and Roads

Nothing is as it has been
And I miss your face like hell
And I guess it’s just as well
But I miss your face like hell
Been talkin’ ’bout the way things change

In the Summertime

Lord, give me to the one who makes me whole.

This is my prayer.

One part of me hopes that someday I can listen to this album without tears. And another part of me, the musician in me, who is proud of other musicians who can capture this much emotion in their songs, hopes that it will never change.

Shout out: I am extremely proud of my incredibly talented friends who helped record these songs.

Update: The Head and the Heart were voted the #2 band to see at SXSW by Spin magazine shortly after this concert. They exploded with popularity after that. Now they will be touring with one of my favorite bands Death Cab for Cutie, and The Decemberists.