I have seen a lot of bands play in my life, and I’m still on the fence about the experience. For every transcendent show I have attended, I’ve probably seen fifteen other shows that have me glancing at my watch after the second song. It’s not that I go see a bunch of bands I’ve never heard of, either; I will rarely see a band play unless I really like their record. But the whole process of seeing a show is just obnoxious; they always start an hour later than you think they’re going to (like, even after you’ve done the smart thing and shown up an hour late), there’s always a second opening band that wasn’t advertised, it takes forever to set up each band, the drinks are expensive, and you’re generally relegated to a 2 foot square piece of space behind some seven foot tall guy for 3 hours. It takes a rare talent to rise above these conditions and give me an experience worth my $20 ($75 after Ticketmaster fees).
But still, I keep coming back. Because the only way to hit that special show that you’ll remember forever is to wade through a lot of mediocrity. And this week, at age 34, I am finally hitting the apex of my band-watching experience. 5 shows at 5 different venues in 8 days. I know that’s a paltry sum compared to a CMJ or SXSW marathoner, but for a regular week that isn’t centered around a festival, that’s a lot of shows. Last night was Sunset Rubdown & Tune-Yards at the Troubadour, tonight is Regina Spektor & Jupiter 1 at the Greek Theater, tomorrow is The Antlers at the Bootleg Theater, Saturday is Dirty Projectors & Little Wings at the Jensen Rec Center Studio, and next Wednesday is the Pixies & No Age at the Palladium. These bands have released five of my favorite albums of the year, and they were considerate enough to space out their shows for me, so I figured I should try to hit them all.
Will I survive? After this week, will I be done with live music forever? I’ll admit, going out on the Pixies Doolittle tour ain’t a bad way to go. Fitting, even, since they were the first band that ever really blew my mind. But more about that next Thursday.