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Bang the Eardrum Slowly

My ears are ringing like crazy this morning.  Last night, I went to a very loud place to hear some music and, of course, I’d like to tell you about it.

This first part may not be very hilarious, but it will give you much needed background. It all started when Claire (my wife) had a conversation on the telephone with another photographer named Josh Solar (not my wife).  Somehow, the conversation got around to the topic of Josh being on his way to attend a “rock concert” (the kids still call them “concerts”, right?) in downtown KC.  Most serendipitous of all is that the band Josh was going to see is “My Only Danger” (also not my wife).  It just so happens that my brother-in-law plays wicked sweet guitar for My Only Danger, and I was unaware of said show!  Forthwith, Claire and I made plans to be at that concert!

Okay, so we’re driving along in the car, through assorted burgs and slums.  Driving to the venue involves passing through the seediest areas of town, many of which have a laundromat on every corner, and in some cases, two are built side-by-side.  Also indicative of the scarier parts of town are businesses with misspelled names.  This can often lead to confusion, as it becomes more difficult to identify what kind of business it is.  For instance, if you see a restaurant named “Git Sum Chicken”, there’s no way to be sure if they serve friend chicken or Chinese food.  (Well, one way to be sure is to go inside.)

There must be a shortage of glass downtown, because most buildings had wooden windows, which I’ve heard don’t let a whole lot of light in.  The shops that had glass windows showcase the classic Post-Absconder architecture period, wherein the owner installs metal bars over windows that had been previously broken by thieves to gain access to valuables, such as cash, electronics, or “Git Sum Chicken” t-shirts.  I think I even passed by several buildings with windows made entirely of eviction notices held together by “Condemned” stickers.

I’ve not really been one to notice homeless people before.  I mostly try to close my eyes and pretend they don’t exist.  Or if I must have my eyes open (say, while I’m driving), I just pretend they’re on their way to a shopping cart race.  I’m still not sure yet if the shopping cart race is a speed contest, or if it’s to see how many wool coats each hobo can put on and still push a shopping cart full of empty beer cans without falling over.  One homeless person drew my attention in particular last night.  Most homeless people have to settle for rusted old carts without even the little plastic handlebar cover.  His shopping cart was really shiny.  Like, brand-new shiny.  He’s really lucky to have something nice like that.  Some people get all the breaks in life, and here I am with no shopping cart at all.

I should probably get to the part about the music, right?  We arrived safely at our destination, and could hear bass coming out of the joint from a block away.  Thankfully, we walked in to hear the musical stylings of “Paramedics” (not re-using the same joke).  Everything sounded really good, and was not overpowering to the ears at all.  It is at this moment that I officially met Josh Solar, who in my opinion, needs super powers that somehow involve harnessing the energy of the sun.  God help me if he hears lame cracks like that all the time.

Following Paramedics was (or should I say “were”, because of the band containing multiple members?) My Only Danger, who cranked the sound system up much louder, and turned their guitars to “faster”.  I trembled at the sounds of MOD, mostly because the bass was causing my shirt to vibrate right off my body.  Fortunately, I was wearing a belted top, so I was able to skip being de-shirted in public.  With the delicate, pounding intricacies of MOD’s music, there was much to appreciate in the way of sound, complex time signatures, and long hair.

One thing I noticed about truly appreciating anything, especially music, is that it’s hard to look happy doing it.  Most everyone at the show looked disaffected, if not downright depressed.  And standing completely still.  It’s been so long, I forgot how quiet and motionless everyone gets.  Sort of a “Children of the Corn” moment.  It was by no fault of their own!  To really take in the profundity of brilliant musicians, you pretty well have to stand still and focus entirely on what you hear.  Like this:


Notice the glassy eyes and non-specific facial emotion.  This conveys real appreciation, as nothing but music is obviously going through this head.  Try as you may, the best happy emotion you can forcibly extend beyond the music is:


Emotional neophytes will tire quickly, though, and revert back farther than the original expression.


As soon as the final note is played, and the house music comes back up, you will regain full use of your senses (as they are now not all devoted to appreciation) and become:



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