GOT CARRIED AWAY, PART 2
Supposedly Mt. St. Helens spit some stuff into the air the other day, but I have yet to see a flake of ash. There was a whole thing on the news about how Alaska Airlines cancelled a ton of flights and rescheduled everything--and they were the only ones, really screwing up their day. Nothing like panic from a faceless corporation.
I left my house last night at the time the show was supposed to start, hoping that my travel time would get me out of seeing at least one of the two opening bands. When I arrived at Dante's, I was unsure of just how the show would be. The tabled area was full, and there were some people standing on the fringes, but everyone was keeping a respectful distance from the stage.
After the second opening act finished (I did miss the first), though, people started moving forward, so I quickly did, too, taking a spot on the right. In the intervening time, wherein the band dutifully set up their own equipment and then slunk off backstage again, the "pit" area started to fill up, and I could hear people swapping war stories of the long-ago time that they all originally discovered the band. People in their early 20s were greeted as if they were alien ambassadors, come to speak of this quaint new world where the Trash Can Sinatras were an odd curiosity found in used bins. One girl was taking it upon herself to introduce herself to everyone, and it was only a manner of time until she got to me. She misheard my name as "Damien" and I am not sure why I corrected her. I was trying to adopt my best feline manner--when not ignoring you, I will display open contempt. She poked me once, saying, "This boy, he's up front," and then later obnoxiously felt the top of my hair (this is a new invention, this thing where one's hair stands up), but I just didn't turn around. It's like that theory where gods lose their power as people stop believing in them; the annoying attention seekers will shrink if you deny them their desire.
The rhinestone groupies were there. They had some kind of laminates around their neck, but each and every one of them--and they had grown in population--had them turned so that only the backs were visible, which probably meant they were absolutely nothing, just some homemade bullshit. They were dragging a couple of guys around with them, who looked like real tools in their khaki pants and knit baseball caps. Baseball caps were designed by the devil, children, and they won't fool anyone into thinking you're not bald. (FYI: A Cowboy hat actually makes you a bigger tool, and I will simply accuse you of copying Madonna circa the "Don't Tell Me" video. The Kaballah is surely to follow!)
The Trash Cans squeezed onto the tiny stage and instantly built a rapport with the crowd. It's a rare instance where a band feels genuinely glad to be where they are, and the audience is genuinely glad they are, too. We were treated to a career-spanning set, and while a regular show would never cover all the songs I'd want to hear, they did a good job of picking out some of the best. I snagged the drummer's set list, and for those interested, here is what they played (quote marks removed for ease): Got Carried Away, How Can I Apply?, All The Dark Horses, Easy Read, What Women Do To Men, Send For Henny, It's a Miracle, Trouble Sleeping, Hayfever, A Coda, I Must Fly, Only Tongue Can Tell, The Genius I Was, The Safecracker, I've Seen Everything, and Weightlifting. "I Must Fly" seemed especially beautiful, with great big washes of guitar, and when followed by "Tongue" and "Genius," two of their most buoyant numbers, I'd say they reached a definite peak right about there.
For the encore, we were treated to "Thrupenny Tears," which was definitely the title most shouted for throughout the night (I was pushing for "The Therapist," but "Thrupenny" was also up there; I had already been told no B-sides were rehearsed when I had asked for "Stainless Stephen" earlier in the day). They apologized in advance, and John declared it was a long shot that they'd make it through the whole thing, but you'd be hard pressed to guess that they weren't prepared, even after being told they weren't. It was full-on perfect, gorgeous and full of life.
I got my wish on the last song. "The Therapist" is great fun, and with its round-robin outro of "bye-bye, see you later on/shut up, your time is up," the perfect way to end the night.
So, 11 years later, The Trash Can Sinatras still have a special something that sets them apart, ensuring they remain in my pantheon of Top-Three Bands of All Time (with The Smiths/Morrissey and Suede, in case you thought of asking; all picked based on personal meaning and their existence within my lifetime). With the old songs, I was reminded of everything they meant to me; with the new ones, I found fresh meaning. I just hope it doesn't take another decade for them to come around again.
Current Soundtrack: Sonic Youth, Daydream Nation
[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich