Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Jaggy snakes and pixies

Christ on a cracker it is cold! Or not really, so I'm told. Regardless, my eyes were watering and my cheeks were freezing by the time I had walked to class on Monday morning. It's going to be a long winter, and I should have listened to my warnings about the weather.

When the sun sank into the western hills I grabbed my coat and cardigan and grabbed a bus to Northampton. Australia's Angus and Julia Stone were playing a show at a tiny, sit-down club, where a good view was possible from every posting and the sound was at a pleasant, not deafening volume. I had first seen this band in 2006, when they were supporting Paul Dempsey. It was an extremely amateur performance and I was absolutely bewildered when they started getting significant airtime. The bewilderment even continued into this year, when they were selling out shows at my local university months in advance.

It was an early show and we had missed the openers, so not long after we were seated they got up and began their set. As she sung sans guitar, Julia's hands crept me out, as she manoeuvred like Bela Lugosi in a vampire film. Angus looks like Grug, of the children's book fame, but together I was pleasantly surprised by their performance. They had a band of ring-in musicians accompany their set and even threw in a cover of a Grease song. When they had wrapped up I was happy to have my opinion of them changed. No longer will I think of that night in Sydney when a bunch of North-Shore silver spooners whispered their way through a set, but instead I'll think of their impressive set, where they captivated a tiny audience in a small town in western Massachusetts. They're talking over the world, albeit slowly.

At the end of the set we had the opportunity to meet the band. Some autographs were given (they carried around brand new textas) and Mikey managed to get a cd signed. Under the pressure of having them walk out before they autographed the booklet, Mike struggled to remove all the plastic wrapping around the disc. When things became frantic he began to shake, hilariously. I couldn't ever picture him losing his composure over Angus and Julia Stone, but with some encouragement from Angus' teeth and a bit of persevering, the cd case was opened and autographed.

The next night allowed for our Tuesday tradition to continue. We started at ABC, opening up the night with a fancier beer than Budweiser. Given that I live in a house called Lewis, I extended this namesake theme into my drinking avocation. Named after another dog named Lewis, The Lew-meister was brewed specifically for Oktoberfest, and its short term existence seemed to make the experience sweeter.

We could only afford one fancy beer, so we ventured to 'The Pub', the town's take on an English pub. No one in the group had been there before, so when we were met by a bunch of homeboys and terribly, loud hip-hop we were a little puzzled. Worse still, they gave us Bud Light, not standard Bud for the Pitcher. It was a rapid decision to leave at the end of the round, so we jogged down to the Spoke bar...only to find it was practically.

Though we had sword off it, the sweet sounds of karaoke drew us back to Stackers. Inside already were people we knew, Budweiser promotions people offering t-shirts, necklaces and stubby holders and one completely obliterated and crazy girl who is heading to Wollongong next year. The girl met Mike and I last week at the exchange meet and greet, and immediately came up to us with the bucketload of enthusiasm you only see in drunk American girls. She told us of her history in Israel, what she's going to do in Wollongong and why she drinks everyday. Not wanting to be outdone by her hilarious mouth, she acted out a charades scene involving her playing the part of a male enjoying a hand party. Her expulsion was directed my way, and in improvisation I wiped the imaginary fluid off and threw it back at her. Not wanting to be outdone, she received my charade gesture with an open mouth, dropping the jaws of everyone around.

She came and went throughout the night, offering equal parts embarrassment and humour. Given that this is America, she was not the weirdest in the bar. That title was reserved for the man in the trench coat covered in patches about extra terrestrial life. Kudos on your convictions, shame you're an idiot.

Through a Bud blur, the night ended up back in Cashin. There were some sour jokes relating to my Jewish surname and the Germans in the room, and a whole bunch of cheetos being devoured. 3AM came calling, and again, the idea of a few quiet beers with the lads had gotten away from me again.

Biffy Clyro - Bubbles
Firstly, I apologise that this is the shortened version-the normal version is too amazing for YouTube (all the servers would explode out the sheer double-barrelled magical race horse power of the song). However, I've been listening to the Biff all day and now I can't sleep. Also, the singer is a Rangers fan, and watching them play Valencia today was utterly brilliant. They only got one point, but they played their best game in a long time.

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