The devil is six
The devil is six
And if the devil is six
Then God is seven...
My daughter Cassidy and I took the shuttle bus to ACL today, got to our gang's tree grove by noon and got a good spot staked out with the chairs, and Gina took the Triumph down and caught up with us a couple of hours later. We then proceeded to transform Cass into an uber rock chick. New sunglasses, new Old 97's girly tee, then the face painter at the kids tent painted an Old 97's logo on her face.
I cannot express how cool it is the first time that your daughter can hang out with you at an all-day rock show and relate to you the way a grown-up would. There was not "finding kid stuff to entertain Cass" or "the kids need to eat 'cause they're getting cranky" today. She wanted to buy a t-shirt, she wanted to shop at the hippy arts & crafts booths, she wanted to see band after band after band.
We saw the first few songs of Cat Power, which I bet would have sounded great lying in bed in the dark late at night on headphones. As it was, we were standing on what felt like the face of the sun and I was pondering how my shirt could be so soaked with sweat just standing still, and how interesting it was that I had drunk three quarts of water and didn't even remotely feel like I wanted to pee any time soon.
We took many shade breaks today.
The Old 97's were next, and I think the days of being able to be right next to the stage in front of Rhett at a cozy club like Antone's are a thing of the past. There must have been 20,000 people watching them, and they all knew the words to all the songs. Cass got her shirt autographed by everyone in the band later at the Waterloo tent...we've got pictures, but that'll have to wait til I have the energy to upload them.
Fun diversion of the day was counting Red Sox hats. 58 in one day. Not bad. (Results in the Bronx were not so good, Yankees winning 14-4. Steinbrenner's gonna die someday. He's old. You just watch.)
The crowds for Modest Mouse were probably twice as bad as that for Old 97's, so we listened to them from the shade. Some species of indie rock, I guess. They changed the schedule for the Wailers, so we missed them completely. Heard about half of My Morning Jacket, which is some kind of Uncle-Tupelo-as-jam-band thing with a singer who does an OK Neil Young impression, even if I don't think he means to. Gina headed back home around this time, and even though Cassidy begged and begged and pleaded to be allowed to stay to see the Pixies ("have you ever even heard the Pixies?", I asked. "No, but the name sounds like they're punk and I wanna see them!!!!"), I could tell that she was gonna crash and burn real soon, and since I was taking the Triumph home afterwards, I didn't want to be on the road dodging drunks after dark with a sleepy child on the back, so off she went with mom.
I hooked up with Kristi again and her ex Todd for the rest of the night. Saw a little bit of Dashboard Confessional (emo?), Marcia Ball (great New Orleans-style R&B piano) and Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, then we crashed out on the grass after sundown and heard the entire set of the Neville Brothers.
I love the Neville Brothers. I'm from New Orleans, I have to love the Neville's. But y'know, they plant themselves so firmly in-between styles that sometimes they are hard to love. They are a quintessential New Orleans party band...but I like Dr. John and Rebirth more. They are a classic New Orleans R&B outfit...but I'd rather listen to Professor Longhair or James Booker. They are way way into The Funk...but don't do it as good as P-Funk. They do so much so well, but they are the absolute best at almost none of it.
But I could lay there in the grass, the sweat in my clothes finally starting to dry, my belly full, my feet sore, and I could almost pretend that I was at the Jazz Fest in New Orleans. The Neville's may not be the Ultimate to me any more, but they definitely conjure the New Orleans festival vibe better than anybody.
Did I mention I spent lots of time at Prejean's today? They know me now. I'm their best customer. Fuck, that's good gumbo. And I didn't have to make it myself.
Oh, and why I like girl-watching with Kristi (who is pretty much heterosexual, but apparently flexible on those kind of details)...I'm watching some 20-year-old thing walk by in dark blue shorts that say "Port Aransas" on the back...she's at least 20 yards away, and you can barely see her through the crowd. And Kristi says "you need the right kind of ass to be able to pull off wearing shorts like that". And I say "which shorts?" and she says "Port Aransas. What did you think I was talking about?" It's like Kristi and I were separated at birth or something, like that brother and sister in The Dreamers. (Oh, and yes, little Miss Port Aransas definitely had that kind of ass.)
After the Neville's, we went to see what most people think is the highlight of the whole festival, the Pixies. Us and 50,000 other people. At one point Kristi was saying "Is it all the original members? I don't see any women." I said I saw one. "But aren't there supposed to be two?" I said, "I don't know, I was never a big Pixies fan," and she laughed and said "Yeah, right!"
But, y'know, it's true. And I cannot really figure out the complicated series of thought processes that made me fail to ever get into the Pixies.
Part of it was timing. When the Pixies arrived, my taste in music was starting to split and diverge a little. Indie rock was just starting to bore me the teeniest bit, and the music I was listening to was either harder and more obscure, or it was old funk. I was starting to step off the train of standard college radio fare, finally. Just a little bit.
And part of it was how far and fast the Pixies went. I had an aversion to really popular music, even of the indie variety, and there was no time to like the Pixies as some sort of underground cult thing before the whole world knew about them. And so I blew them off. Yeah, I'm a judgemental dickhead. Yeah, I judge a book by its cover. But working so much in the music side of college radio, I had such vast amounts of music crossing my path every week that I had to do some kind of triage just to be able to process it. So the Pixies? Yeah, they were too popular by, like, 1987. (This same kind of thinking led me to call REM "sellouts" by the time their first album came out. I was a "Chronic Town" die-hard. OK, so I'm an idiot.)
So I haven't really started listening to the Pixies much until the past couple of years, and you know what? I would have loved them in 1987. But that era has passed. I can't love this now. I can't get passionate about this now. The Pixies' time has come and gone, and if you were a fanatic about them then, then yeah, you are going to think they're fucking fantastic now just because you're reliving it. It's the same way I feel about Wire and Mission of Burma. But to become a brand new Pixies fan now, in 2004, with all that has transpired since their time? I can't do it. I like them. But I can't love them.
However, I can get my daughter hooked on them. Maybe I can kind of get a flavor of being a Pixies fanatic by watching a very cool 10-year-old discover them for the first time.
And once she's hooked on that...I might have some Wire albums to play for her.
She is SO doomed.
P.S. Gina told me "tell everybody on your blog hi from me!" So, all six of you: Karl, Gregg, Melly, Heather, Quinn, and whoever else: Gina says hi.