I went to bed feeling dirty Sunday night. Not even the two handfuls of raisins I crammed into my mouth on the way to bed could help my body readjust....I was a gonner...it was all over. I actually ate the junkiest food of all time last night - And, unlike my very vague memories of Alia and I eating Big Macs that actually tasted good, this 'thing' tasted wretched...maybe, I have gone too far onto the dark side of the lettuce leaf to enjoy the nuances of trash food, either way - blah. It started out as an innocent pre-show-bite-to-eat on the Turkish-restaurant-bloated street that is situated a stone's throw from the most amazing music venue I have ever been to - otherwise known as the Botanique. But, what I thought would bring a tear of Arabesque-memories to my eye, turned into a meal that I would just as soon forget - savouring only the look of horror on K's face when he realized that he had brought me to what was my anti-world.....it was FINE...just funny...really, really funny. I enjoyed the whole experience through a lens of "what the hell is this?"
K ordered me a Falafel Pita, but what I got was a really dodgie flat bread wrapped around a mess of: 1. corn 2. cabbage 3. more cabbage 4. something that might have been a falafel ball 5. (get ready) FRENCH FRIES. I plucked most of them out - but then realized I was being an ass, and just dove in. It wasn't the most satisfying 'almost' middle easternish food I have ever had, nor did I get off the stairmaster after my usual 45 minutes today.....but it was food, and it was funny and it was a great pre-show experience that started an evening that only progressed into something else.
We bought our tickets at the door, and joined about 200 other people on a series of descending steps to take in (NOT watch, listen to, or enjoy, but TAKE IN) Blanche. This wacky (in the most dictionary definition of wacky) fivesome is derviative of nothing and everything all at the same time. There is no stamp that you could throw over this band in a world where we float so easily to labels of comfort like: indie, new country and hip hop. These nuts were having none of it. They were a thrift store collection of different pulp culture iconography, starting with the dark, brooding (really cute) rimmed glasses, uber nerd bango player - who had a mic stand complete with an Edgar Allan Poe raven. Think Toby McGuire from Spider Man with a jet black wig and an undertaker's suit - got that image? You got him. On the opposite side of the stage sat a slide playing gym teacher - seriously, he looked like Mr. McColman from Grade 7 gym wearing Uncle John's tartan suit from Christmas 76. Yikes. But, he did wicked vocals on a 'get the crowd rocking' number called: I Can't Sit Down. The two love birds in the middle were images of the marriage I have always really wanted - a ten foot firey red head and a totally spastic Lyle Lovett impersonator. Hot. The drummer was actually a spitting image of a slimmed down Rosie O'Donnel - complete with the mullet.
The gig included more that your average crowd/band banter - the whole language issue popped up "Merci Buckets...." etc. But it was the bands faux deep south accent that threw me off.....when they kept mentioning their home town of Detroit it was just too hard for me to suspend my imagination. Their lyrics were actually quite well done, and included an array of topics: fall leaves, the shitey labour conditions of Detroit city, and the crumbling walls of a relationship filled with mistrust.
I was really enamoured with the quality of music, and overjoyed with the raw drums and the hivey/jivey bango. John Miller, the husband and poppa, of this little family has a great set of lungs and shakes and shivers like the best evangelical minister you could ever ask for. I wasn't overly impressed with his wife. Her vocals seemed to peeter out and hide behind the bigger voice of her partner and the pounding of Rosie.....I stand behind this musical criticism no matter where Kevin thinks my critical eye is coming from....as if Kevin.
Great band - would totally see them again. I left with a fear though - their music has a really super duper marketable quality to it. I can see the song I'm Sure of It heading the same way as Nick Drake's Pink Moon...a la VW commercials. And that would just blow. They are too weird to be incorporated into that whole muck....but I suppose that is part of what makes it inevietable.
On another note, I just had my last meal in Brussels for the next five days - salad, chick peas and grilled veg. Yum. I am off to Manchester and a family who has never known a vegan. Jesus. I hate stressing people out. Yikes. I hear they have wireless on the island, so I will be sure to keep everyone posted.