Sunday, November 18, 2007

I know you'll act as a clever medicine

We drove through fog, so that it seemed like here was all the more disconnected from there. It took me back to those days, so long ago now, maybe a decade now, those sojourns from New Jersey to New York and then back. The late nights, the feeling of having to return home from the place that you really wanted to be.

But then, this was your city. It was your city as much as it could be anyone's. You know the streets, you know how to navigate your way around, you know how to manage the city. It doesn't groan on your arrival. You walked away from this city, instead of fleeing it. And that's when the fog lifts away and it's a welcome home, not a wistful, nostalgia-filled visit.


The concert at The Warfield was, frankly, f***ing amazing. I really accomplished very little else this weekend, despite many lofty goals. I did bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies, but they were sort of a warm-up. It's almost holiday cookie season, and I'm going to have to be really organized and disciplined to get it done this year- so, you know, the chances are low that there will be good yields this year.

But even with the otherwise dismal productivity this weekend, yesterday redeemed everything and then some. The Warfield means a lot to me for reasons related to music, to relationships, to movement, to freedom. Both times that I've seen concerts there, I have not been a resident of San Francisco. And it makes me certain, somehow, that I'll get back there, if that's what I wind up wanting.

Setting that aside, The Cold War Kids were pretty much the best band I have seen this past year. That's saying something because I thought Rodrigo y Gabriela & DeVotchKa were hard to beat acts. But, despite a really bizarre mixture of fan followers, the show was exactly what a show should be. There was the energy and the gawky guitarist stumbling about in impassioned play and the hyperactive drummer with the posture and demeanor of Animal (who was, for the record, my favorite Muppet, though I probably would not admit it in person). They had already put out a great album, one of those rare albums that you can listen to from start to finish without the temptation to skip a single song. That was reason to see them enough. But they actually put a new spin on their songs when playing them live, and that is the stuff that fantastic shows are made of.

I was thinking of posting St. John as the song of the week, because they tore that song to pieces during the encore. But I've already posted a Cold War Kids song in the past, and the recorded version of St. John is not representative of the kind of jam that results when it is played live. Instead, I thought I would highlight the other reason the show was so great. The opening band was kick a$$. I had heard of Richard Swift in passing, but after seeing him live, I'm officially a fan. In addition to being hilarious (he switched from playing piano to playing guitar, and explained, "because that is how I roll."), he has one of those buttery voices and his music is quite catchy. So, take a listen to this song off of his latest album and see if you might like him.

In other news, does anyone know what sort of gift I am supposed to give for a christening that is fast approaching? Such pagans as myself are ignorant, and need help from more worldly sorts.

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