Sunday, July 24, 2005

My Alcoholiday

This post comes a little bit after the fact, but the ending weeks of my internship are getting pretty busy. Having to actually turn things in does that.

Anyways, last weekend I journeyed to Greensboro, North Carolina to see The Definitive Source (TDS) [Also known as Matt]. The primary reason for my visit being to see Teenage Fanclub kick off their U.S. tour at the Cat's Cradle in Chapel Hill. Partly, I wanted to see a concert with TDS, since his music geekery makes him an ideal concert companion. But the opportunity to see these power-popping Scotlanders (that rarely tour the U.S.) live was certainly reason enough for the journey.

The Rosebuds, a local North Carolina band, opened, and are opening throughout the tour. They were a good opening band. I wasn't blown away, but they have a nice sound. They sometimes have too much of an affinity for choruses entirely composed of yeahs, ohs, or whoas. Don't get me wrong, I love yeahs, ohs, and whoas. But in moderation. It also takes some real skill to master the art of non-repetitious repetition. That sentence sounded very...repetitious.

After the long equipment-shift pause between bands, which was filled with lots of shuffling around in the crowd to avoid me being stuck behind tall people, Teenage Fanclub came on stage. From the very opening song, I was very impressed with their musicianship and talent. Their vocal harmonies sounded delightful; very well balanced, which can be difficult to pull off live. And the guitars--all three of them--excellent. They don't simply wail away at the things, attempting a non-stop rock out, like some bands mistakenly do. They practice just enough restraint that when they do really let things go, it's a perfect contrast. Don't think they didn't rock. Trust me, they did. Norman, one of the guitarists, broke a string during one song and just kept right on going.

The band also had a great stage presence. You could really tell that they love playing, and they don't take themselves too seriously. Norman, the primary speaker for the band (the others seemed a bit shy about speaking to the crowd), forgot what album one of their songs was on, announcing "And it was of our records. I don't know." Even more charming was his frankness about the encore: "We've got one song left, and then we're going to go backstage and pretend the show is over. And then we'll come out and play a few more songs." All said with his thick (and wonderful) Glasgow accent.

After said encore, the crowd seemed intent on having a second, but sadly they did not come back out. And despite playing an excellent set full of wonderful songs, they didn't play one of Matt's very favorites, Alcoholiday. But, he did get a set list to take home. Always an excellent concert memento.

There was an interesting mix of people in the crowd. It was about one third indie hipsters, one third older folks, and one third random people, some who seemed to have just wandered in on a whim. I heard one guy lean over to some girls and ask "Are these guys from Scotland or something?" Gee, I wonder. . .


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