Polter-Cow (spectralbovine) wrote,

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The Heart and Sole of Oakland

Does anyone remember my Oakland Art and Soul Festival report from last year? Or two years ago? It's a Labor Day tradition, people.

Five bands for ten dollars, once again. Except it was really four, since I had zero desire to see one of them. And one of them was a surprise, since Darker My Love had a family emergency. So the opener was now that exciting, omnipresent band, TBA. I love those guys.

I wore that shirt once again. When I boarded BART, a woman walking out smiled at me and said, "I like your T-shirt!" The first of many, I assumed at the time, but, in fact, not a single person in the target audience said anything. I saw their eyes perhaps reading it and appreciating it, but I didn't know. They were like people who don't comment on posts.

Near the main stage was the Live105 booth. This year, they had a spinny wheel for fabulous prizes like Movie Swag, CD Singles, and...Compliments! High-Fives! Jokes! I landed on Movie Swag, but the Movie Swag all sucked, so that was no use. I would have taken a compliment! I like compliments!

The mysterious TBA turned out to be the Trophy Fire, a local band Aaron Axelson of Live105 had called just the previous afternoon to fill in for Darker My Love, and here they were, merch in hand, as if they had already planned on it. Guess you've got to be ready at a moment's notice when you're a local band just starting out and looking for gigs.

What you cannot tell from this picture is that you can't hear the lead singer. The music was nice, though. It was like an instrumental version of the song! Accidentally. A woman I later deduced to be the lead singer's girlfriend finally had the gumption to actually do something about it and tell the sound guy to fix it. And he did, and then we could hear the singer. I...sort of liked it better before. He sounds much better in the studio, though, so check out the songs on MySpace. I liked them well enough, decent alternative rock business.

The other thing you cannot tell from that picture is that there was a bassist. So here:

Before the show, I noticed this black girl I remembered from the past year. I'm pretty sure she gave me a high-five. This was a girl who gave everyone high-fives, just for the hell of it. She was unreal. She stood up and clapped a lot. She danced in the space between seats. She waved at the lead singer as if she knew him. He waved back. It was like she was a walking bundle of joie de vivre.

After the first song, the lead singer said, "Where's Raynesha?" Raynesha stood up and answered. "Does everyone know Raynesha?" he said. "She's the It Girl of San Francisco!"

...I sat corrected. She was so ebullient. She was like a television character. I didn't know how she did it. I thought that if she had an LJ, she would definitely have an i am so awesome tag. And use it on every post because she is just that awesome. I wondered what she was like not in public, in a regular setting. Did she high-five strangers as she rode the BART? Could one person really be that happy and content with the world and her existence? Bully for her, I suppose.

Between sets, Aaron Axelson spun some tunes, one of which was some sort of techno version of "Louie, Louie." My Pavlovian response was to do the Louie dance in my seat.

Next up was the band I had come to see, the Action Design.

Raynesha was dancing crazy during one song, so afterward, Emily (lead singer) said, "This next song is dedicated to that young woman right there. The world needs more people like her." Raynesha was ecstatic. High-fives all around!

The band was really good, as they had been before. Only a handful of songs were really catchy, but they could start a band called Emily Whitehurst Sings the Phone Book and it would be great. If you do not believe me, check out some songs!

"The Scissor Game"
"Ten Feet of Snow"

But, Sunil, the last time you pimped the Action Design, you only had one song! Why, yes, dear reader, so this time I bought CDs! Both the released EP and the full-length that will not be in stores until September 23! I try to support local bands, and you should too! Support my local bands, that is.

I had negative interest in seeing or hearing Zion-I, the inexplicable hip-hop act on the lineup. If they wanted some hip-hop, why couldn't they have gotten Atmosphere? I kind of dig their new song "You." Oh, they're from Minneapolis. And, oh wow, it's fun to hear the uncensored version. Hee.

Anyway, I took this opportunity to get some carnie food, the famed crawfish étouffée. I walked to the booth and ordered, and less than a minute later, I had a bowl full of crawfish and whatever the hell étouffée was. The woman showed me where the forks and hot sauce were. I took a fork and was considering how many napkins to get when I heard the woman explaining to an old man where the forks were. As he didn't seem to be getting it, I handed him a fork. In my hand was a napkin, so I went ahead and gave him that too. Then he said that he had been planning on getting two napkins, so give him another one. So I did. The woman thanked me, twice. It was really cute.

I'd never had crawfish before, but apparently they're like mini-lobsters? So I guess they sort of tasted like mini-lobsters? I wasn't sure what they tasted like, but they were good and well-cooked. The sauce was nice and spicy, too. And the bread was good, though I wish there'd been more of it.

I had skipped Zion-I for crawfish étouffé. I considered using "Crawfish Étouffée" as a cut-tag. Which made me wonder what sort of band Crawfish Étouffée would be.

Poll #1251580 There are a lot of stupid band names out there.

What sort of band would Crawfish Étouffée be?

Punk rock
French New Wave
Gangsta rap
Nu metal
Bubblegum pop/Boy band
Chinese pop/Celtic/Bossa Nova

When I went back to the main stage area, I heard Zion-I, which was bad, but I saw Emily Whitehurst, which was good. One reason I'd bought the CDs here was the hope of getting them signed. I started getting the damn plastic off.

In front of me was Raynesha, who had a spiral notebook much like my People I Won't See Again for an Indetermine Amount of Time book, except for famous people. I guess you call those autograph books. Emily had come out from behind the merch table, so it seemed like she was prepping for a picture. Raynesha was really prepping for the picture, however; I think she was putting on lip gloss or something. I don't know. I was still trying to get the plastic off the second CD.

Emily asked if I could take a picture of them. I said sure. Raynesha handed me her camera, a disposable. I wasn't used to these things anymore!

I looked through the viewfinder. I was a little close, so I stepped back. Raynesha and Emily were motioning to me and saying things, but I couldn't tell what about because the music was loud. I thought Raynesha was telling me something about the camera, like I had to press some button or turn a dial or something. There was no zoom or anything, of course, so I took another step back.

And I tripped and fell backward, which was incredibly confusing and disorienting and scary because I knew what the ground looked like, and there had been nothing jutting up out of it, so I had no idea at all what I could possibly have tripped on; the only thing you fear running into when you step backward blindly is another person.

I had run into another person. Or, rather, her wheels.

I fell into the lap of a paraplegic, barely conscious old woman.

I quickly got up and regained my balance. The woman pushing her around apologized and asked me if I was okay a couple times, and I said I was okay, but was she okay? The woman replied, "She's okay." In that tone of voice that meant Of course she's okay; she didn't feel a thing. Which was kind of horrifying. I apologized, she apologized, it was a big apologalooza.

I took the picture, finally. Raynesha squeed about going to see Spring Awakening and getting pictures with the actors. She said she was a socialite at heart.

"I hear you're the It Girl of San Francisco," I said.

"I am!!!" she declared, and she put both her hands up for a high-ten, but one of my hands was full with CDs, so I gave her a high-five, and she took it a step further and interlaced our fingers, which I thought was quite a familiar thing to do to a stranger. But Raynesha loves everyone!

Emily asked me if I wanted to get my CDs signed. I said, yes, that would be cool, if I could get this plastic off. I did. I handed her the EP. She asked my name, and I spelled it out for her. She handed the CD back to me, and I gave her the other one. Before signing, she looked at her writing on the other one and clarified that it really was an "n" in my name, which I was glad for because I thought she had written Sumil. She said it'd be clearer the second time; that time, she used all caps.

Raynesha was still in the area, and Emily called to her because she'd just seen the bassist coming over. Another autograph for her book! And, I noted, for my CDs. They only had one marker, however, so they had to pass it back and forth. The bassist didn't ask my name to dedicate the CD to, but he read what Emily had written. "Sunil?" he said. Yes. "Matt," he said. We shook hands. (I realize now that Matt was also in Tsunami Bomb.)

As they signed, my mouth spewed forth words. I told Emily that I'd actually discovered the band through Soundcheck (she'd mentioned they were going to be performing during a future Soundcheck); I'd turned on the radio and liked the song. The voice sounded really familiar, and then afterward the guy had said it was Emily Whitehurst from Tsunami Bomb. I said that a friend of mine in Michigan (super_hoodzie_x) had gotten me into Tsunami Bomb years ago, but I didn't know they were from this area. She asked me if I'd ever seen Tsunami Bomb live, but I said I'd only moved here two years ago. Ah, she noted, Tsunami Bomb had broken up in 2005. I told her I'd seen Action Design at BFD, though.

An older gentleman walked up to her and asked, "Weren't you in Tsunami Bomb?" She said yes. "I thought you looked familiar," he said. He complimented her set and walked away.

(You guys should hear some Tsunami Bomb, though. Unlike Action Design, which is more rock/electro, Tsunami Bomb was totally punk rock. Check out "Say If If You Mean It" and "Russian Roulette.")

Some dude was hanging around, and when he found an opening, he asked if I had could take a picture. I told him okay, but only if he took a picture of me because I was taking all the pictures today, I should get one of my own. I had trouble working his Helio, but I finally got the picture. And then he took mine.

After the picture, I couldn't shut up! God, I was just as bad as everyone else, all those fans who think that they are the only person who has ever liked this band/TV show/movie/actor, and their personal story is so interesting and unique. It's not! They don't want to hear it! Leave them alone! Good God, what is wrong with me.

More words spewed out. I had to add that when I Wikipediad her, I discovered that her brother was Logan Whitehurst, whom another friend (sainfoin_fields) had introduced me to. "I was sorry to hear about his..." Passing? Untimely death? Brain tumor? How do you fill in that blank? Why was I bringing this up? It was two years ago! I am so inappropriate. Right after falling onto a paraplegic woman, too. I'm not even sure I saw her reaction; I was just being so stupid.

"But I really love 'Robot Cat,'" I said. That was the gist, really! I wanted to tell her her brother was cool! People...like that?

"Me too," she said, smiling.

Words! Spewing! "I'm just hanging out now, waiting for...the Wombats, I guess. You guys were the ones I came to see, but..."

"Might as well, right?" she said. Then, after an awkward few seconds of standing around, she said, "Well, I'm going to go finish my lunch now."

"Oh!" I said. "Yeah, enjoy your din—lunch."

"It was nice talking to you," she said, and went back to her dinlunch.

I left to go find a hole to crawl into. Or a Starbucks. I found the Starbucks first.

Mocha frappuccino, please. What's my name? Sunil.

"Is that with a Z?"

S. S-U-N-I-L.


This happens surprisingly often.

I went back to the main stage and caught the end of Zion-I's set, confirming that I would not have liked them. Once people cleared out, I took a seat. As I sat, I noticed the purse of a girl I'd noticed from earlier in the day, back at the spinny wheel. She had intrigued me with her red pants and extreme red lipstick and non-red fedora. And now I was enjoying her purse as well:

The P is for the Phenomenauts. I had never heard of Facing New York, and I liked Audrye Sessions. I include this picture mostly for the benefit of sainfoin_fields (Tris), who should get a kick out of the bottom half. While I don't agree that local bands are better by default, they certainly have their appeal.

They had cleared the area near the stage for the Wombats, so I stood in the crowd of rabid Wombats fans, including this little kid with his dad and, I believed, sisters. I think they might have been Filipino. I wasn't sure. They were behind me, and Older Sister was very excited about the show. I had only heard one song, once, a few weeks ago, but I had liked it.

The three Wombats came onstage and, after introducing themselves as the Wombats from Liverpool, they proceeded to crowd around one microphone...and sing a cappella. About "girls, boys, and marsupials."

Older Sister took a video for someone. The band put their instruments back on and burst into "Kill the Director," which was quite cheeky.

The boys seemed like nice chaps, very lively.

Here is a bonus picture for jeeperstseepers, who likes bassists.

This bassist led the crowd in some hand motions later on.

The drummer engaged the crowd as well; I liked that all three of them talked, not just the lead singer. Before one song, the drummer informed us that it was a waltz, so if we knew how to waltz, we should do so. And if we did not...well, I forget what he advised us to do. In any case, right after he finished, they broke into a very fast, raucous intro, so I thought he'd been joking. But then, during the bridge, I noticed the drums and...holy shit, there it was, a waltz. What do you know. Well played, Wombats.

They did, of course, play the popular song that I had checked out beforehand, "Let's Dance to Joy Division." Which is superfun, oh my God. So bouncy! And cheekily ironic! I've listened to it, like, five times since coming home.

They were coming up on the last song, and the family behind me were wondering whether they would play their favorite song. Older Sister said, "They're going to play 'Backfire,' for sure." I guessed that was the new single or something? And, sure enough, the lead singer announced that the last song was "Backfire at the Disco." I turned around and gave Older Sister an affirmative finger wag ("Just like you said!") or something; I don't think she noticed.

After the final song, the bassist took a couple of setlists and gave them to the audience. He handed one to someone in the front, and I think he was going to do the same with the other one, but he let go of it for a second, and the wind caught it, so he let it go. It was floating in my direction, but I had no interest in it. A guy in front of me put his hand out for it, but the wind juked it below his arm.

Suddenly, without thinking, without even realizing what I was doing, I grabbed it out of the air like it was the goddamn Snitch and immediately turned around and handed it to Other Sister. I didn't even look at it to see what songs they had played so I could write this post more accurately. I just thought that she and her family needed to have it. "Thank you," she said. I turned back around, possibly without responding with anything more than a smile. I had to turn back round to exit anyway, and Younger Sister also said, "Thank you." They were so very happy to have that piece of paper!

I'd really liked the Wombats; they were very fun. I was very glad they were good for Cynda's sake. I think she'll probably like them, too, so all will be right with the world. Then she can turn her thing into "*eats a Wombat*," and those kids'll be scared.

Afterward, I hung around the Live105 booth. I saw a skinny white girl with a Ganesha bag. I thought about asking her if she knew what the Sanskrit writing meant (it said "Shri Ganesha"). I wondered if she noticed me, an actual Indian, perhaps wondering what she was doing with such a bag. Did she just think elephant gods were cool or something? I surprised myself by being mildly offended.

I stuck around for the Matches, whom I'd caught a little of at BFD 2007. I hadn't remembered caring for them that much, but I was there for Tris's sake. Of course, once they started playing, I remembered why I hadn't cared for them. They were very loud and yelly and not my kind of thing. But they did look interesting.

Here is a bonus picture for Tris, because it's pretty sweet.

I left after about four songs. They had a lot of fans, and I was just taking up space that could be occupied by one of them.

Getting off BART at Macarthur, I witnessed a curious incident. When the doors opened, the people waiting to get on starting boarding before those of us who wanted to get off could do so. A man in his late forties or so commented, "Let us get off before you get on," as he disembarked.

A man in his thirties—one of those trying to get on—turned to him and said, "Piss off, dude. Don't be an asshole."

The first man turned back and walked toward him, calmly responding, "That's not necessary."

I didn't stay to see what happened next, but I was sort of aghast at the actual asshole's complete obliviousness to and/or utter ignorance of the fact that he was, in fact, the asshole in this situation. Did he learn nothing from the music of the future? Be excellent to each other.

Today, I made history by returning to the Oakland Art and Soul Festival, just so this post could be twice as long. Also, to see the Indigo Girls with Rachel (harriettheelf) and Heidi.

The BART was even more packed than it had been the day before. On the way, a girl commented on my awesome green pants. "I've never seen corduroys that color before," she said.

"Neither have I," I replied, "so I had to get them. They were calling me."

"They're the same color as my balls," she said softly. That's what I heard at first, but then I realized she must have said walls.

On the way up and out of the station, another girl said she liked my Tegan and Sara shirt. She asked if I'd gone to their show, and I said I hadn't, but I'd seen them many years ago at Cafe du Nord, back when you could see them for seven or eight bucks. And they sold shirts on their website to fund the video for "Living Room," so that's how I'd gotten this shirt. I didn't add that I was one of about 200 people in the world who possessed such a shirt and that my name had been on the website for a time. I did add, because how could I stop talking to a Tegan and Sara fan while I was wearing a Tegan and Sara shirt, that I hadn't even heard anything by them when I saw them, but you couldn't go wrong for seven bucks. She agreed, good or bad, it's worth it. Just so you could complain about it, I said. "'Man, I went to this awful show!'"

I led the girl and her companions to the entrance of the festival. After I paid another ten dollars, I immediately got some fish tacos. I was an addict now.

Rather than sit and eat in the same place as before, I walked toward the center. I heard music. Music that didn't suck, even! Once I reached the source of the music, I was treated with an interesting sight.

Yes, that is a dude with a mohawk strumming an acoustic guitar and singing sensitive songs. The bassist's shirt reads, "The Indigenous Strike Back." They were Dear Indugu, and they were nice to listen to while I ate my fish tacos, which were the worst fish tacos I had ever had. Out of the three. So they were still pretty good, but the corn tortillas were kind of chewy, not like the ground corn at Baja. And I did like the flour at Rubio's. Most of all, however, the fish tacos were missing that magical white sauce.

It was weird to return to the main stage today because the median age of the crowd had doubled. The stage was hosted by the radio station KFOG...whose listeners were referred to as Fogheads. I was not a Foghead. I cringed every time the radio guy addressed us as Fogheads. I had come for the fish tacos, but I decided to check out the Beautiful Losers, who described themselves as "Electro Acoustic Indian Alternative Folk Rock." Intriguing! Well, it got more intriguing once they took the stage.

No, I don't mean the chick bassist. Or the peace pants. Look!!

The lead singer was an Indian dude! How cool is that? You don't see many Indians in the music business, especially not in the folk rock scene. And this guy was singing all folksy and twangy. It wasn't totally my style, but it was palatable. He was Indian! And singing! Real music! I wonder if white people feel left out for not getting to feel special whenever someone white does something. Being a minority is awesome, you guys!

The guy kind of looked like M. Night Shyamalan. I imagined M. Night, depressed over the failure of his recent films, secretly fronting a rock band and touring across the country. M. Night and the Shyamalans, or something. Or he could duet with M. Ward.

His name turned out be Raj, though. Raj! Geez, could he be any more cliché?

He was pretty amusing, though. He felt the need to explain what every song was about. So we heard songs about some Safeway counter girl he had a crush on, the girl next door whom he never talked to but knew loved A Streetcar Named Desire, falling in love and getting your heart broken and falling in love again, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and...a killer cat. He tried to get people to sing the chorus to one song, but try as he might, not many people went along with him. It was kind of sad, but he was a good sport. Also, one song included the words "Jai Jai Rama." Oh, and another included the lyric "I'm an Indian in Oakland."

I don't think he understands what the word "Electro" implies in terms of genre, however. I think he just meant that they had an electric guitar in addition to his acoustic guitar, but I was expecting...actual electro. Like with a keyboard or synth. As it was, the music was just regular, good and mellow for the easy listening crowd.

While they played, I entertained myself by examining my four dollars in change. I found the spider in the web. And then I noticed something and amused myself:

Let's see if you can figure out what's so amusing.

After the Beautiful Losers, I wandered the festival, checking out the booths. People hawking their wares. I sampled some creole potato salad. I saw some giant strawberry daiquiri glasses.

Then I noticed a booth for something called WriterCoach. Hey, I could use a WriterCoach! Ah, no, they were looking for WriterCoaches. To teach kids writing. Hey, I was interested in that too! But, shit, they met during the school day. The woman at the booth asked me if I was interested, and I told her I was, but I had to work during the day. She asked if I wanted to take a flier anyway.

"In case I lose my job?" I joked.

She laughed. "That's not what I meant to imply," she said. She asked her companion if she knew of any programs that did things on the weekends. She didn't, but she directed me to the Oakland Unified School District booth down the way.

I checked that booth out and looked at the mentoring flier. I didn't know if I could be, like, a mentor. But I wanted to do something small, at least. I asked the guy at the booth for more information, and he explained the different types of volunteer opportunities they had. I said that I lived right across from a high school, so it was just stupid that I hadn't done anything yet.

The woman at the booth, hearing me, asked me where I lived. I told her. She extended her hand and introduced herself, "I'm Jody London, your newly elected school board representative."

I shook her hand. "Oh! I think I voted for you!" I wasn't just saying that. I think I did vote for her. The name was familiar.

"I hope you did," she said. She said there were some great new programs being introduced at the high school across from me. Like a new program in biotechnology.

I told her that I worked in pharmaceuticals, that I had a degree in biochemistry and a Master's in pharmacology, and she was all WELL THEN. She told me to contact the principal and tell her that Jody London had sent me.

When I asked how I was supposed to contact the principal, the man gave me an e-mail address for someone that could get me in touch with her. So now I just have to drop Jody London's name, and maybe I can go all Mr. Prezbo on this biotech shit.

As I left the booth, I opened my cell phone to check the time. It was 2:31. Rachel and Heidi should have arrived by now. My phone vibrated. I had a text message. From Rachel. They were here now. WELL THEN, PART TWO.

I went to the entrance to meet them and hugged Rachel madly, as it had been ages since I'd seen her. I stood on my tiptoes to hug Heidi. Neither of us was wearing Threadless today; our streak was broken. I had, however, seen someone wearing "We're Toast" yesterday and "Haikus are easy but..." today. You can't go anywhere in the Bay Area without seeing a Threadless shirt.

The first order of business was food. Heidi wanted Indian food, so she stood in line for palak paneer. Rachel really wanted garlic fries and cherry lemonade, but she had no cash. Luckily, I did. Finally, I wanted a deep-fried Twinkie. Because it existed. Also, I could support social activism or justice or something.

Doesn't it look awesome?

Heidi and Rachel were horrified.

I stabbed it with a fork and took a bite. It was very fried and squishy and sweet. Rachel decided she had to try a bite, just for kicks.

She was not pleased.

The cream had sort of liquefied. It was a strange concoction, but it worked.

Four dollars well spent. Now where's my deep-fried Snickers?

I had some of Rachel's garlic fries and cherry lemonade to get the sweetness out of my mouth. A few minutes later, I also had a taste of Heidi's...aloe water. Apparently you could drink aloe. It tasted sort of citrus-y, and it wasn't bad but for the slimy chunks of aloe floating inside.

While we were performing dire experiments in food, we listened to Matt Nathanson. Because we could not really see him so much now.

The Indigo Girls fans had begun gathering before I had even arrived, taking up the front several rows by the time the Beautiful Losers started. And now, over an hour before the show, it was standing room-only. There is Matt Nathanson, behind the tree.

I think some people on my flist like Matt Nathanson, unless I'm confusing him with all the other Matts in music. I have one Matt Nathanson song on my Pandora stream. It was just him, solo acoustic, so if you like that sort of thing, he's good. He was quite a character, though. When it's just you and your guitar on stage, you tend to feel obligated to address the audience. So his banter was very entertaining.

"If you know the words, sing along. If you don't know the words...my CD is on sale back there for ten dollars, and I know you can have a life-changing experience if you just let yourself." And he had this hilarious bit about coming to his show even though you're angry at the world because if you don't, your friends will be all, "Why didn't you go to the show?" and you'll be all, "I just don't know. I just don't know." I heart stage banter.

When he was done, the three of us formed a pimp chain and strategically moved forward. It was difficult, but we finally managed to claim a spot on the sidewalk with a good view.

I knew exactly four Indigo Girls songs ("Closer to Fine" (duh), "The Power of Two," "Galileo," and "Least Complicated"), so I was not quite as excited as everyone as else there when the Indigo Girls took the stage. And that is an understatement.

They opened with a song I didn't know. But they sounded good! I mean, they sing well individually and together. They're the Indigo Girls! You know what they sound like. I was disappointed that they were not, in fact, indigo.

The Indigo Girls are a popular musical group.

Specifically, they are popular with lesbians. It was Jeff Murdock's dream! A sea of lesbians! A sea of...very earnest lesbians. And one very exuberant heterosexual man. Who was adding his own percussion with a shaker. At least he was keeping the proper beat; now I'm going to feel that all Indigo Girls songs are missing that little shaker.

Our favorite fan, however, was this woman with, like, no arms (um, not literally...but they were skin and bones). And she was always standing up and swaying back and forth and flashing peace signs and holding up T-shirts that were, I suppose, personal messages from her to the Girls.

As Rachel put it, she didn't think she'd ever outgrow the Indigo Girls' music, but she had definitely outgrown the fandom.

They did play "Least Complicated" (one down!) and "The Power of Two" (two down!). During the latter, of course, everyone held up two fingers. Rachel and I quietly mocked them all.

There was an old man in front of us. And I started to notice that he was taking way more pictures of the crowd than of the band. He frequently held the camera backwards and blindly shot behind him. Or he snapped a picture to the side. Each time, he would show the picture to his wife. I didn't see him photographing the band at all, though! It was very strange.

The band took a moment to acknowledge the death of Del Martin, and they brought out Teri McGinnis, Executive Director of Lyon-Martin Health Services, to speak a little on her legacy.

Then there was more music. It seemed like they changed guitars after every song. Also after every song, without fail, Emily (another Emily!) would say, "Thanks, y'all." In the second half of the set, they changed it up, though, which was amazing. It was all "Thanks for listening so well" and "Thank you" and stuff.

Before one song, Emily said it was for everyone "who'll vote to put a woman in the White House just because she's a woman." There was much clapping and cheering. And then: "What the fuck?!" It was hilarious.

The old man had some sort of magic camera. According to his viewfinder, he had taken a picture of himself taking a picture. It was amazing and baffling. But there was no other explanation for what I was seeing.

Wait. There was blonde hair on the right of the frame. There was no blonde hair to his right. But there was...oh my God.

He was taking pictures of people taking pictures.

Sure enough, he did it several more times, zooming in and taking pictures of the back of people's cameras. He was still not taking pictures of the band. What the hell was he doing? Did he really want to document the fan experience?

Rachel was really glad we were behind him so he couldn't take pictures of us. And steal our souls. Maybe that was why he wasn't taking pictures of the band. He was afraid of stealing their souls! He was consciously avoiding them, protecting them. One picture did contain the band, but it looked like it was actually of the crowd in front of the stage, and the band had just accidentally sneaked in there.

Maybe he was a spy!

One song featured the lyric "Raise your hand," so...everyone raised their hands. Rachel muttered, "It's not a command directly to you, guys."

The chorus featured the lyric "Go, go, go, go." I said to Rachel, "That? Also not a command." She said they were free to follow it, however! There were way too many people there. One man tried to squeeze through us but then...just stood right in front of me since he wasn't sure where else to go. He tried to ask the woman to my left to let him through, and she took up a floppity jillion minutes explaining that, fine, but she wouldn't let him come back the same way or whatever. Piss off, lady! Don't be an asshole.

Then there was a woman with very interesting hair (it was a gradient of colors!) and an amusing tattoo of a kitty in a kimono. She was also looking for a place, and she...stood right in front of me. Hello, interesting hair. I am not assertive, so I didn't say anything, but Rachel is, so she informed her that she could not stand there, as it was my spot and I could not see. She apologized, saying she wasn't sure where to go, and got off the curb. She ended up sitting on the concrete.

The old man was now taking pictures of the stage. Like, the metal bars holding the top up. Just that section. He even took a picture of the random guy standing on top of the parking garage across the street. As always, he proudly showed each picture to his wife.

I suddenly imagined them blowing up all the pictures and plastering them all over the walls of their bedroom. Then they would cover themselves in blood and have kinky sex.


He must have heard us talking about him and he didn't want to look suspicious.

Back to the concert. They had a new album out, so they played some new songs. First an Amy song and then an Emily song. Rachel asked me if if could tell the difference, and I said I couldn't even tell the difference between a Tegan song and a Sara song. With the Indigo Girls, however, it's really obvious, she explained. Amy's songs are dark and in minor key, and Emily does the pretty, happy ones. I deduced that I only knew Emily songs. I liked Emily songs because they were pretty, but I dug the Amy songs I heard live as well.

For the final song, the band invited old Matt Nathanson and Teri out to sing with them. The song? "Closer to Fine"! (Three down.)

Matt and Teri (meekly) sang along with the chorus. Matt got to sing the last verse on his own. Then there were hugs! Rachel was jealous.

Encore! Encore! Encore! And there was. They brought Matt Nathanson out again to do his best Michael Stipe impression for a song that required someone to fill in for the Michael Stipe section of the song. Then, the final final song was..."Galileo"! They did all my songs! My Indigo Girls experience was complete! Man, not knowing a lot of songs by a band is awesome.

I'm pretty sure I ended up part-lesbian by the end of the concert. So I guess I thought the girls at Trader Joe's were even cuter?
Tags: being indian, concerts, food, i am so awesome, i heart public transportation, i'm a moron, in a world without threads, music, my year(s) of (new) meats, myspace is a canker sore on the internet, personal, pesceducation, pictures, poll, random acts of kindness, real life friends, such is life
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