Secret Pop

Sep 19, 2003

I am a child of the orchestra.

I went to see Calexico at the El Rey last night. The Frames opened for them. From out on the sidewalk where I was picking up my tickets, I could hear them performing, and the song sounded a bit like "Oh Yoko." When I got inside, I found that they are a five-man band with an electric violin, they have an interesting and great sense of humor -- both musically and otherwise, and that the singer is sort of like Chris Martin with an Irish pub flavor. I liked them, and I bought two of their CDs.

I am also very fond of Calexico, but seeing them live got me even more excited about them. I think that's the magic of live music. Maybe that's why politicians go out on the stump. Seeing it in person, getting pulled into the tide of the crowd, buying merch -- it makes it real. Three CDs and a T-shirt were my takeaway. And a rekindling of my affection for the sound of mariachi-style trumpet duos. There were six guys onstage (there are seven guys in the band, according to the web site, and they each have at least three instruments listed on their bios, except for the guy who was "Keyboards and Sampling & Mixing," which almost looks like three instruments, and it's also interesting that none of their bios lists "vocals," but there's definitely someone singing a lot of the time), and they played many things, including marimba, accordion, trumpets, melodica, steel guitar, upright bass, keyboards, and a number of odd- and normal-sized guitars.

I just find it all fascinating and motivating. In addition to my many violins, I have three melodicas (one a toy), a mandolin, a Tonette, and two big drums that I use as endtables. I don't intend to play those drums, but the rest is fair game. I was shopping for keyboards a while back, and I do think I should have a guitar of my own. My friend Josh wants me to play with his new band Cento. We've been planning my involvement for months. We talked on Monday, and he asked if I want to learn to play bass. Right on, I say. I'm always keen to get my learn on. And I'm anxious to tackle my somewhat inertia-related fear of the bass clef once and for all. The only circumscription comes in the form of my not wanting to actually have to wear a one-man band outfit. The bass drum would spoil the line of my clothes.

Anyway, I like to see live music. And I loved the show last night. And I like to buy T-shirts. And I don't usually like to get up early in the morning, but I'm always glad when I find that I am. A curious juxtaposition of the transitive and intransitive forms of the verb "to be" maybe. I should go back and relearn French.

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