Saturday, May 19, 2012

On boys, music, and boys who love music.

Look at the two people dancing on either side of you. 
If you don't see a girl, you are dancing incorrectly.
-The Keyboardist for LCD Soundsystem

Greetings from Iowa City where I'm currently in rehearsal for As You Like It at the Riverside Theater for the summer. This Shakespearean play begins with a usurped Dukedom watching a wrestling match and ends with a quadruple wedding of the play's lovers. When talking about these lovers (of which I play one, more of that anon) our director, Ted Swetz says, "Being with your beloved is the best thing; talking about your beloved is the next best thing." It got me thinking, what is my best thing? For me, music and boys are the best things, so talking about music with boys is the very best. I'm not sure what it is, and I know I'm not alone here, but the mention of Paul Simon or Fleet Foxes or John Darnielle makes my little heart skip a beat. I can trace my first boy/music cataclysmic shudder back to my high school crush making me a mix CD entitled, "Probably the Sweetest Mix Ever" which included the Mountain Goats, the Avett Brothers, Stars, Ryan Adams, Iron and Wine, and Old Crow Medicine Show to name a few. I still have the CD, which is too scratched to play anymore  and I've not talked to the boy in years, but the mix is still probably the sweetest ever.

Friday night, I decided that what I needed was real people, live music and a beer. The universe proved accommodating; Deer Tick was playing at the Blue Moose. I could get my fix for music and men who play music and men who love to watch other men play music. Indeed, the concert hall was filled with all sorts: the tattooed lead singer of Deer Tick in leather pants, the nerdy guys with glasses up front who knew every word to every song and jumped with one hand in the air after hearing the first few chords of each song, the boyfriends who have brought their girlfriends to "see this band that is so awesome and you're gonna love them," the bearded head nodders, the wrinkled townies... the one type there wasn't much of was girls alone in overall jorts. I actually think there was only one. Her name starts with M and rhymes with Shlementine.

I was the only person in the back room of the Blue Moose when the opening band, Teenage Mysticism, began except for the girl who sold me a PBR Tall Boy . I particularly enjoyed the band for the lead singer's unique lisping quality and upbeat vibe. As the room filled, I sat smiling on the upper bench to the left of the stage, singing along when I could pick up the chorus. At the end of their set, an older woman next to me leaned over and asked, "Okay, which of those boys is your boyfriend?" Why else would one be here alone? A guy later in the evening asked me if that woman was my mom.

Between sets, I noticed a square young man near me wearing a backwards cap enthusiastically taking photos of his two cans of PBR on his phone. He then noticed me noticing him and began to attempt to take off my boot. I can only assume this was him flirting with me, a sort of reverse Cinderella story... My love, I have found you, let me take off your $300 shoe in this bar. Any other woman who owns a pair of Frye boots will agree with me here... no man takes my boot from me! So I curled my toes and denied his solicitation. To be fair, he did offer to buy me a "whiskey drink," which I kindly declined. The rule to follow with drunk men trying to flirt with you is the same with Greenpeace canvassers on Milwaukee Ave and coyotes in the wild... Don't make eye contact. It only encourages them to touch you, ask you for money or eat you, respectively. Fortunately, his friends shortly came and collected him. I told them I was new in town and they apologized on behalf of the State of Iowa. I chatted with one of Prince Charming's friends. He was nice and asked for my number. I gave it to him... but then he left two songs into Deer Tick's set list. Another rule, you don't want to be with the guy who leaves when the good music just got started. Where does he have to go? Deal breaker, ladies.

Deer Tick, Blue Moose, May 18, 2012
The second band, Turbo Fruits, has the stupidest name ever... they weren't quite my style, but their drummer was very handsome. He wore his arm in a navy sling which he only removed to play drums or cowbell. What charm, an injured drummer! Yet he continues to play, a noble self-sacrifice to the gods of Rock. However, this broken winged gent brings up two more hard and fast rules for me: When you find yourself attracted to someone, you must ask yourself, "(your name here), does s/he look exactly like your ex?" In my case, seven times out of ten, he does. Now this doesn't mean one should abandon all hope for said doppelganger, but it is a good observation to make. Are you looking for someone new or are you looking for something that you lost? Second rule, if you don't like his band, don't bother. You will have to tell him his band is good and they probably aren't. No one wants to live a lie. I didn't talk to him.

I don't think I'll ever solve the mystery of why indie rock music and the boys that love it melt my heart. If you want to read more on the gender relations through music subject, I suggest Rob Sheffield's Talking to Girls about Duran Duran. He says simply, "I could claim that Duran Duran taught me everything I know about women, but that's not exactly accurate: I learned it from listening to girls talk about Duran Duran."

Now, I ain't looking for a musician, everyone knows musicians are bad news... but if anyone wants to talk about Patti Smith or road trip to see the Hold Steady or throw around ideas for a Mountain Goats tattoo, you know where to find me...



  1. Hah - I loved reading this one. I think my high school crush gave me the same mix -probably because they were bffs. It used to be listed under facebook's favorite music: "Patch's mixes" :) Have fun in IOWA! ("There's nothing half way...")

    1. I plan on living nothing about Iowa half way! Yep, I love that we had the same mixes. My love of the Mountain Goats came out of that group of people and has defined my life in certain ways, it's amazing how we create lasting effects in each other's lives. Miss you and hope your French life is fabulous.