Bullet - Steel Train (mp3)
In the meantime, I’d briefly like to share my experience at the fun. concert in Atlanta this winter.
NOTE: Bob and I depart for the birthplace of our child today. We’re bound for New Orleans along with two other annual journeymen, all of us desperate to escape the maddening normalcy of our daily routines only long enough to remember we miss it and enjoy it.
We will drink. We will eat. We will be merry. And tomorrow we, hopefully, will live.
In honor of some of our favorite shows, we will spend next week re-posting some of our more beloved posts from the last three years. What I’ve quickly learned in glancing back randomly at previous entries is that, over time, our readership has kept changing. We’ve held onto a handful of the same regulars, but others have come and gone, and new people keep stumbling on us, with a few hanging out and adding their insights to the mix.
So odds are many of you have never actually read most of what we wrote, and you’re probably better off for it, but these are a small sampling of stuff we wrote that we’d like you to remember or to experience for the first time.
We’ll start Monday. Or maybe earlier if we’re feeling really keen.
fun. -- that’s the name of the band. Three small letters and a period. The lead singer used to be the dude behind The Format. He apparently likes vague names that screw with Google. But the name “fun.” is appropriate, because that’s kind of what the music is. fun for the tortured soul. Which is why they have no capital letters and that persnickety period.
Anyway, I had the exquisite pleasure of seeing them in Atlanta, and they were everything I expected and several hundred amphetamines’ worth of energy and bombast more than that. What made the show so incredibly memorable was how totally devoted to the lyrics the entire packed standing-room-only crowd were.
The thing about fun. songs is, he packs a lot of words in his songs. Like, a lot a lot. So it’s not easy to know those songs, especially in the 21st Century when few of us actually buy the CD or album and sit down with headphones on and read the lyric sheet as we listen nonstop to the album three straight times until 2 a.m. (Uh, yeah, I totally used to do that when I was in high school and had no life.)
My point is, if you can come away from a fun. concert not feeling better about life, about music, about why musicians sacrifice money and happiness and health and relationships for the chance to perform on a stage in front of fans and the uninitiated, then you are not in possession of a human heart and human ears. You are an alien.
This particular fun. concert also rekindled another memory of concerts past: the kick-ass opening act.
In college, here are the bands I fell in love with because they opened for another band I loved. I discovered Weezer, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, Gin Blossoms, Lemonheads and the Connells all because they opened for other bands in Chapel Hill.
At fun., the opening act was a New Jersey band of Hip Jewish Men better known as STEEL TRAIN. (I put them in caps. I think you can write it normal-like.)
I didn’t like them right away. They were energetic, but something about that first song didn’t quite sell me. But they were so intense, and they were determined to have fun, and they eventually forced you to pay attention to them. By the third or fourth song, they had earned the full attention of most of the crowd -- if you know opening acts, you know this just doesn’t always happen -- and then they went wacky on us, and I knew I would have to support them.
They explained that they had recorded a song for Yo Gabba Gabba, the trippy kids television program. And they sang it. And it was exactly what you’d expect an indie rock band song made for Yo Gabba Gabba to be. Goofy and simple and utterly infectious.
So, in honor of the spirit with which I depart tomorrow for New Orleans, I offer you a song by fun., a song by Steel Train, and an embedded YouTube video of the latter performing their Yo Gabba Gabba hit, “It’s Fun to Dance.” If you listen to these songs and watch this video, you can close your eyes and, for just a few minutes, know exactly the kind of emotions I’m feeling as I sit in a bar in the French Quarter (or dance in one).