Thursday, April 19, 2012

White-Girl Swayin' on a Tuesday Night

I'm having one of those low key evenings when you turn on the TV and get so zoned out that you don't even realize you are now 19 minutes into an episode of Khloe and Lamar. So, why not blog? After all, the reason I'm zoned out and tired is because I got all jazzed up (that means excited on good music, not on drugs or alcohol) at a concert last night, couldn't fall asleep at a reasonable hour and then had a busy day at work.

I love going to concerts. I especially love concerts in smaller venues because it makes it easier for all the musicians to fall madly in love with me from the stage. Happens. Every. Time. 

When I left Charlotte, I was pretty sad to leave my favorite Neighborhood Theatre behind. I'd been to so many good concerts there. Therefore, finding some fun concerts in DC was a top priority. I was excited to see that one of my Pandora favorites, Mayer Hawthorne was performing at the 9:30 Club. I was also glad that my friend Lauren was willing to trust my musical tastes and come along!
First of all, I love love the 9:30 Club. It has the same fun music-loving vibe as Neighborhood Theatre but is much larger and has (surprisingly) good food. Of course, I already knew they served food because I'd checked the menu immediately after I bought the tickets. I love concerts but I do not like missing a meal. Not only does 9:30 Club serve food, but they serve a variety beyond nachos and pizza. For example, my warmed pita sandwich had sprouts on it. Say whaat? Say, yum. 

We're not talking about 5 star dining (Is that how high the star counter goes? I usually stick with 3-4 stars so I don't know. Sometimes a 2 star if it isn't near pay day), but we are talking about the perfect combination of a no-frills, music-focused, concert venue and a decent, healthy menu. It was a welcome surprise. 

With dinner over, Lauren and I opted to risk people spilling beer on us to stand in the dance floor area of the club. You should know I pride myself on being able to un-obnoxiously (at I least I think it's un-onboxious) find my way to the front of the stage when I go to shows. We were able to get to the second row this time - although, Lauren did get kicked in the ankle by a drunk couple trying to make-out rather aggressively. 
Post dinner, pre kick-in-the-ankle
I know Mayer Hawthorne was glad we were in front of him instead of in the balcony. He didn't want to miss my cool, off-beat, white-girl sway-and-clap moves. I'm sure that's why he even makes music - for people like me. You know, the girls that have frizzed hair and are awkwardly balancing a purse, a sweater and an empty cup while still trying to clap. A musician's dream. 
"Lindsay, I'm gonna call you. Answer your phone."
I was afraid Lauren would bolt when the opening act started. Let me preface this by saying, I respect what they do, I'm sure other people love them, and I know they are far more talented at playing musical instruments then I will ever be. However, they were not my cup of tea. You could tell The Stepkids were extremely passionate about their music. But, their stage show was very distracting and, dare I say, crazy? They all wore white clothes in front of a white background and had light designs projected onto them. The whole I time I felt like I was watching people sing from inside a screensaver in 1990. Or, as Lauren put it, they were like "a Gap ad on drugs." Perhaps I would've liked their music if I hadn't been so distracted by the teal and blue swirlies covering their faces. But, no, I still don't think that would've made a difference. Maybe the music was just "above my head." Again, just not my thing. They played well, they gave 110% but, I was most definitely ready to get me groove on (see: whit-girl sway-and-clap) and welcome Mayer Hawthorne to the stage.

After a seemed-like-eternity wait between acts, Mayer Hawthorne and The County made their entrance and they were awesome. The stage was cool without being overwhelming and the entire band ("The County") was fun. They also upped the "hipster glasses" count by a few when they took the stage. It's always nice when someone sounds just as great or even better in person. Nothing worse than going into a concert with high expectations and then hearing the first song and thinking, "Man, can we get a producer up in here? Maybe some background tracks? An auto-tune?" Fortunately, this was not the case for Mr. Hawthorne. He's got this smooth modern motown thing going and I dig it. 

The other key ingredient for a good concert is witty stage banter. Mayer Hawthorne was funny but also kept it short and sweet. The only thing more disappointing than a performer not talking at all (I'm looking at you, Bob Dylan @ Davidson College circa 2006) and acknowledging that it's a live show is a performer who talks too much and isn't funny. Or worse, one who thinks (s)he is hilarious. No, not good. 

Thank you Mayer Hawthorne and The County for a stellar Tuesday night. And, thank you 9:30 Club - I'll see you again soon!

And, for your viewing pleasure, a totally bootleg, shaky, wonky, 30 second video. Just because. 

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