Friday, May 17, 2013

The Breeders

Last night was the long awaited Breeders show at the Cannery Ballroom, as well as the end to a super surreal day. Here's how it all went down.

Way back in January, I bought a couple of tickets for the Breeders 20th anniversary of The Last Splash record that we all loved in the early 90's. I got online the second they went on sale to ensure my spot in what was at the time, a sure to be sold out Mercy Lounge. Fast forward to yesterday afternoon, I was so excited that I decided to go down to the club early and claim my tickets at will call.

Upon arrival, the place was a ghost town, of course. Every seasoned show goer/opinion blogger knows that nobody is showing up at these places before afternoon rush hour. After finding an open door and letting myself in, I came upon a guy who looked to be as lost as I was. When I asked if he knew when will call opened, he responded with a "no", and then asked me if I was the guy who was supposed to drive him to the post office. I thought that was kind of strange but I figured hey, I wasn't doing anything. Why not help this guy out. Apparently, the lone mailer happened to be the merch guy for the Breeders and the runner for the club was nowhere to be found.

Long story short, after convincing Kyle I wasn't going to kill him and hide his body in the woods, I became the runner, we became fast friends and I was invited to sound check with promises of meeting the band.

So after watching each member check individually, including the most angelic version of the ABC's imaginable from the lovely Kim Deal, I found myself back at the merchandise table telling the Deal sisters about my old band in high school and giving Josephine Wiggs directions to the local hippie health food store.

That was all before the show. Then the show happened.

I arrived early enough to get through the will call line and grab a beer before the openers started. I guess it was a big deal when they announced that Deer Hunter would be opening. The secret was kept until a couple of days before the show, and it sent quite a shock wave through town when all of the music geeks found out. I was thinking of a different band the whole time. I was expecting a lively show with lights and lasers and costumes. My bad. Instead it was an indie style sway-back-and-forth Sunny Day Real Estate type band from Atlanta. They played their songs well enough, but it wasn't my thing and I found myself waiting out the ambient rest of their set in the back of the room and on the smoking deck.

Now, before I go any further, I want to make sure that it is absolutely clear how much I am, and always have been, head over heels in love with Kim Deal. Besides her huge smile and short haircut, her voice, to me, is the single most beautiful sound a female vocalist has ever made. I used to put my ear right up to the speaker on my boom box to try to figure out if the recording held one voice, or two voices, or five or ten. Who can really say for sure, but the point is that I've never heard anything like it, before or since. Getting to meet her and her sister was truly a huge joy. Although aging self consciousness issues kept her from taking a picture with me, she was as sweet and wonderful as I always imagined she would be. And as for Kelly, the seemingly less business, more party and attitude Deal sister, she was lovely.

Now to the set.

They came out and greeted a sold out, uber-enthusiastic crowd and announced that they would indeed be playing Last Splash "front to back". And then they did. It was dead on musically, although there were a few false starts and lyrical flubs, which were more cute and fun than they were embarrassing. The songs were spot on, even down to the muffled/distorted mic on "Cannonball". Much like the Pixies concerts I've seen, every little guitar lick was there, and every sound was recreated. Highlights for me included Kelly singing "I Just Wanna Get Along", Kim's sweet sad vocal on "Do You Love Me Now", the Nashville appropriate "Drivin On 9", and getting to see their take on "Happiness Is A Warm Gun" in the encore. But saying these are highlights means that these were the moments of the show that made my arm hairs stand up, sprinkled amongst every single other blissful second of the set. Even having to hear "Divine Hammer" from the bathroom instead of pissing myself was glorious.

After the show, I went back to the merch table to help my buddy Kyle sell shirts to the mob of ravenous thirty somethings that had swarmed him. After we got through that, Josephine Wiggs, bad-ass drummer/nicest guy in the world Jim MacPherson and violinist extraordinaire Carrie Bradley came out and chilled for a bit while being hounded by a drunk superfan who "drove all the way from Texas". Then, we loaded up the t-shirt boxes, and it was all over.

I still can't believe all of that happened. This town has a magical way of putting people in the right place at the right time to make the impossible possible. You never know when you might just get to hang out with your heroes, or even get to ask other heroes about their heroes. Oh yeah, by the way, mid-set, I looked over and saw "Little" Jack Lawrence from the Raconteurs next to me and asked him, "Kim Deal, major influence or no?", to which he simply replied "Oh Yeah. Of Course." Just another night in Nashville.

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