Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Nostalgia outfit

Over the past month or so, I've been suffering from an attack of acute nostalgia.  I don't know what brought it on.  Perhaps my mid-life crisis, which makes it hard to listen to songs from the 1990s?  Perhaps because the NYU students in my neighborhood (and yours) have been getting ready to graduate, and my heart goes out to them - their hopes, their futures, the unsteady job market that I hope does not thwart them. 

The 1990s were my prime, musically.  I was just out of college myself, and I had bought a Sinead O'Connor record and heard the rock, breathed it in, felt it come down over me like a veil.  I saw most of my heroes play live often - the Sineads, the Juliana Hatfields, the Jeff Buckleys, even the Morrisseys (what a strange phase that was).  Then I moved to San Francisco, and I discovered the used cd stores of the world, and was introduced to Barbara Manning and Lisa Germano, among others. 

Years passed, and my own catalog of songs grew.  I knew that one day I would record an album "just for fun," and that I would play songs with my imaginary band and take over the world.  Then, cold reality set in ... it's hard to make a record, and it's harder still to get people to come to see you play.  It's hard to imagine that you'll become a rock star when your songs consist mainly of homoerotic flourishes.  I put my rock star fantasies on hold.  By doing so, I became less and less interested in music (today I barely even listen to my headphones, and I don't even have a speaker for my computer at home).

But when I heard that That Dog was playing a show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, I had to go.  I'd wanted to see That Dog perform for years.  They opened up for Weezer once in Los Angeles, and I flew in partly to see them, but Alia was pregnant then, and she stalled and stalled until finally I went to see them by myself, but just missed them.  Another time, in New York, they were opening up for the Amps and the Foo Fighters, but again Alia stalled and stalled and I missed them again.  Then they broke up.  I thought all was lost, and that I would never get my chance to hear those songs from "Retreat From the Sun" that I loved so much. 

Anyway, Zon and I went out to see them on Friday.  From the very first song, my heart sank, and I realized that they suck live.  The ladies were a little too cutesy for my taste, and Anna was using some jive open tuning for every song.  Still, I stayed to hear them play "Minneapolis," and it was awesome, even though Anna punted the solo.  I practically ran out of the Music Hall of Williamsburg after that. I was wearing a "nostalgic" outfit ... something I thought I might have worn in the 90s ... an "ironic" orange-red polo from Lacoste and a pair of grey Levi's, plus some Pumas (of course). 

I don't know when this current wave of nostalgia will end.  Usually, my method of keeping nostalgia at bay is to have sex with one different NYU student per year, just to prove that I've still got it.  I sort of did the same thing this month, though it was disastrous, life-altering sex that I wish I could take back for his sake.  But then, this show, and a different sort of temporary salvation.  For one magical night at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, a band named That Dog cured me of my regret and poignant, bittersweet sorry - just by making me realize that I missed nothing - nothing! - by not seeing them 15 years ago.

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