Let’s Talk About Dave Matthews Band

My first Dave Matthews memory is from high school, when seemingly every teenager in my little suburban town went to a Dave Matthews show, then showed up to school the next day wearing the concert t-shirt and talking about the show incessantly. I wasn’t sad that I had missed it, but I was annoyed that no one would talk about anything else.

My second and third and probably fourth Dave Matthews memories are the exact same thing, repeated periodically until I graduated. I think one of those times it had rained the night before, and everyone talked about the rain as if it had been a spiritual experience and Dave himself was the second coming.

Those are my only Dave Matthews Band memories. If you haven’t guessed, I don’t particularly listen to DMB. I know that “Crash” song that’s THE quintessential Dave Matthews song, and I also know that song that I assume is the secondary quintessential Dave Matthews song that goes, um…. “take these chanceeeeeeees, something something something.” (A quick Google tells me this song is called “Ants Marching,” and also that there is no way I would have ever guessed what those next lyrics are because wowww does it not sound like he’s saying what Google says he’s saying).

I don’t dislike DMB, per se, it’s just that I never really paid them much attention. As a teenager I was too busy listening to Guster and Barenaked Ladies and while I probably could have gotten into DMB if I really wanted to, I never cared enough to try. Maybe if someone in high school had ever spoken to me about them on a personal level instead of just trying to make me feel bad for missing DAVE IN THE RAIN, it might have been different.

It’s like when I was 18, hanging out in my freshman dorm common room, talking about how I wasn’t necessarily opposed to reading Harry Potter but that I had never sought it out.

“If someone handed me a book and said ‘read it,’ I would,” I said.

My hallmate Tim ran to his room, emerged with Sorcerer’s Stone, shoved it at me and said, “Read it.”

If you know anything about me at all, you know just how much I love, LOVE, Harry Potter. So maybe all I need is for someone to do the equivalent of handing me the first book and telling me to read it. Maybe DMB is my musical Harry Potter, just waiting for me to discover it and become weirdly (but healthily!) obsessed.

Dave Matthews Band is obviously still around, although they’ve never been at the forefront of my life in any more prevalent way than they were for those few years of high school. Occasionally they’ll come up in conversation and I mention that I don’t listen to them and the other person inevitably says the one thing that I guess they teach you in Being A Dave Matthews Fan 101:

“You haaaaave to see them live.”

To this I always give my standard response, which is:

“Sure, but I’m not about to pay to see a band that I don’t necessarily like.”

And then they nod in understanding and the conversation ends.

One time many years ago I had this conversation with a guy I was sort of dating and he actually said that he would take me to see them! Amazing. Conveniently, one week later, Dave Matthews Band announced a tour. The next time I saw my man friend we had the following conversation:

Me: Hey, did you see that Dave Matthews is going on tour?
Him: Oh, cool.
*end scene*

I guess that is my final DMB memory. For now.

That conversation was a long time ago, and it’s been even longer since I’ve heard any Dave Matthews music, even those 2 superfamous songs. I’ve evolved a lot as a music fan in those years, particularly in my appreciation of a really great live music experience. I’m much more open to going to concerts where I don’t know much about the artist, and furthermore, I’m semi-actively trying to catch live shows of artists that I’ve been told are really incredible live. The most prevalent example of this I can think of is when I went to a Phish show 2 summers ago despite not knowing any Phish songs. I paid a lot of money and I went by myself. I loved it.

What this means is, I think, that 20 years after I wanted nothing to do with even the mention of a Dave Matthews concert, I think I’m ready to go to a Dave Matthews concert.

DMB is conveniently going on tour this spring and summer, and while I would love to have a man friend offer to buy me a ticket (and..actually follow through this time), I’m prepared to actually pay.

Do you, person reading this, want to be my Dave Matthews buddy? The only qualification is that you have to be okay with the fact that I do not know any songs because even the songs I know, I apparently have no idea what the lyrics are. So if you’re the world’s biggest Dave Matthews fan and the only person you want to be at a show with is the world’s second biggest Dave Matthews fan, this is not the opportunity for you. But I promise to have a positive attitude because hi, I love live music, and if it rains I will bring a poncho but I hope it doesn’t rain because I don’t care what those kids in my high school said, rain may not ruin a show but it certainly never makes it better.

But I think it’s time to see what all the hype is about.

 

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Concert Review: Green Day at Webster Hall

Photo credit: me. #nofilter, because I am great.

Photo credit: me. #nofilter, because I am great.

I’ve wanted to see Green Day live for about 20 years now. Much like anyone who came into adolescence in the 90s, Dookie remains one of my favorite all-time albums and “Basket Case” is my go-to karaoke song (I have been singing/yelling along to this song since long before I knew what on earth, “Am I just paranoid or am I just stoned?” meant).

I saw that Green Day was playing Webster Hall and immediately had the thought that I imagine a lot of you are having if you’re familiar with both this particular band and this particular venue: “Green Day is way too fucking big to be playing Webster.” So I did some research and saw that they’re playing a series of small venues in support of their new album, Revolution Radio, and will probably do a stadium tour later this year. I knew I wanted in on the small venue action. For once in my life I was blessed by the Gods of Ticketmaster and managed to grab a pair of really-hard-to-get tickets and proceeded to feel really smug about the whole thing.

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So the show day arrived, the lucky friend I had invited to be my +1 and I went to the venue and found our spot in the crowd about 6 minutes before Green Day was supposed to take the stage. And then, like angels singing upon us from the heavens, “Bohemian Rhapsody” started blasting over the loudspeakers. Have you ever had a Bohemian Rhapsody singalong and NOT enjoyed it? Trick question! Because that is literally not even possible.

Finally, the band actually took the stage and launched into “Know Your Enemy,” and 1500 people jumped up and down and I could feel the Webster floor moving under us, and I thought, “Well, if the floor caves in right now, at least I died having fun.”

The next 2 hours and 15 minutes were spent singing and dancing and generally being mesmerized by Billie Joe Armstrong, Green Day’s lead singer who is 44 but looks 19. Like all great Rock Gods, Billie Joe is a total badass and is cooler than you and me and all of our collective friends combined. At key moments he would just stand there doing absolutely NOTHING except looking out at us soaking it all in and I still think everyone in Webster last night would have jumped off a bridge if Billie Joe had asked us to. Shows like this one always have me feel a little nostalgic for the days when I used to attend mostly rock concerts as opposed to just the occasional one that I do now. There’s something about an energetic, charismatic frontman guiding you along in a rock and roll journey that is just not paralleled in other types of musical experiences.

Last night’s show featured a range of Green Day classics and samples of Revolution Radio, which dropped on October 7th. Perhaps the most unexpected moment for me came with The Isley Brothers’s “Shout,” which may have been the last thing I would have expected to hear at a Green Day concert, until they followed “Shout” with “Hey Jude,” which was just beautiful.

Though Green Day ended the show with  “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life),” a song I grew to hate after hearing a college roommate play it on the guitar all day every day for an entire semester, I still couldn’t help but sing along and enjoy the moment and maybe now, 14 years later, I can stop loathing it.

Green Day has yet to formally announce their larger stadium tour, though Billie Joe did say they’d be back to New York in 2017. Even though the small venue setting will probably always win out, I, for one, cannot wait.

Where Are You? Haim

I first became aware of Haim in 2013 when I saw their name on the Lollapalooza lineup (though I didn’t actually catch their performance there). A folk/pop/rock band comprised of 3 Jewish sisters (woohoo!) from California, Haim – their last name – saw wide success a few years ago with their album, “Days Are Gone,” and garnered a ton of fans through their exciting live shows.

Photo via..the internet, somewhere

Photo via..the internet, somewhere

As the story goes, they grew up in a musical family, all started singing and playing instruments from a young age, and would regularly jam out in their living room before playing in cover bands with their parents, and eventually, in a band of their own.

Though I’m not typically fond of music that could even remotely be described as “folk,” Haim’s sound is pretty diverse. Their classic song, “The Wire,” is probably the folkiest track off “Days Are Gone.”

However, I really love “Let Me Go,” and “My Song 5,” both dark and edgy. “Let Me Go” is particularly exciting to see live, because it usually comes at the end of their sets and involves all 3 sisters in a crazy drumming frenzy.


Another charming element of their live shows is bassist Este (far left in the top photo), who does nearly 100% of the talking. She’s loud and crass, tells awkwardly funny stories, and, best of all, makes amazing faces when she plays bass. Her middle name is Arielle, which is also exciting to me for obvious – yet irrelevant – reasons.

Though I still listen to the “Days Are Gone” album regularly, I have to wonder – what are the Haim sisters up to these days? I haven’t heard much about them in a few years. All I can really recall is occasionally seeing photos of them hanging out with new bestie Taylor Swift.
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This is upsetting to me because the Haim girls seem really cool, fun and quirky and I just cannot stand Taylor Swift. She’s super bland and catty and yet she keeps adopting cool people as her friends (Lena Dunham is another Taylor Swift friend victim).

Aside from hanging out with TSwift, Haim has apparently been working on a new album since sometime in 2014. No real or recent updates in that regard, though.

Maybe hanging out with Taylor has taken their focus away from music for awhile, but I really hope that new album drops soon. I love this band and would be super happy to hear some fresh tunes from them.