Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Day 79

The End of the Affair

When we last left our hero (and Johannes) they were sitting in their rental house reading and waiting to go back to the concert venue.  We were both of us, I think, steeling ourselves for a fairly unpleasant concert.

And then we got there.

And it was fine.  Better than fine...it was outstanding.  The wind, while not completely gone, had subsided enough to be pleasant.  The music was underway, and it was excellent.  El Ten Eleven, the first band we saw, consists of only a drummer and a guitar/bassist.  The guy (let's call him the bassist, since that's his primary wombat) plays a riff to the drums and loops them into a pedal.  The riff repeats and he plays a new riff over it.  Pretty soon a fairly complicated set of interlocking patterns has built up from all that looping.  (He alternates between guitar and bass while effecting his loops, using a double-neck instrument for most of the set).  The songs build slowly, gathering in intensity as the loops accumulate.  Then, inevitably, he does something that strips away all but one or two of the built-up loops.  The tension subsides, and then there's another round of loop-building.

Some of the songs do tend to sound alike.  But the thrill of watching Kristian (that's the loop-builder's name) build up each new song from nothing was significant.  He was also plainly very happy to be up there performing and his joy rubbed off on the crowd.  Neither J or I was necessarily expecting that El Ten Eleven would put on a great live show.  But in fact, they did.

After El Ten Eleven came Rubblebucket, a Brooklyn-based band which featured a horn section, eight or nine members, and a lot of uptempo craziness.  

The El Ten Eleven experience was about standing and listening.  The Rubblebucket experience was about dancing.  Sadly for everyone there are no pictures of me dancing.  But dance I did.  Because that is what I am all about.  

Rubblebucket was a more satisfying live music experience, for me, than El Ten Eleven.  They got the crowd riled up, they laid down some grooves, they had a trumpet player who did some body-surfing in the crowd while he played.  They had a percussionist.  It was high-energy stuff.  Great ending to the show.

I'm going to pass over the EmCee who asked us to observe a moment of silence so we could 'feel the desert' and then told us to try and practice "Wishcraft."  (By praying for world peace or some such).  Certain kinds of hippies can actually make me want to vocally support war.  He was one of them.

On the way out, we stopped at the shrine that had somehow been assembled in the middle of the music area.  It's hard to do justice to its good-natured insanity in only a few photos.  But I'll try:

The large figure in the center is the Virgin Mary.  The other figures around her are..uhm...NOT the Virgin Mary.

On the way out Johannes insisted we stop and take a photo of an airplane that someone had mounted near the entrance of their property.  Apparently, in doing so, he fell over and ended up rolling around in the dust.  Sadly I missed that spectacle. 

That night we ate leftovers, watched True Grit, and generally chilled out.   I learned J thinks Matt Damon is a bad actor.  He learned that I disagreed.  We agreed, as I recall, that I was right.  About that, and just about everything else.

The next morning we got up, cleaned, and headed out.  (Finishing off a few of the blueberry muffins I'd made before we left).  I dropped J off at the Palm Springs airport and headed back.  

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