Life after Southeast Swing 2009 can only be described as chaotic. The week I got back was the final week/weekend for a major project at work. My schedule was all discombobulated. After some calculation I determined that I put in 66 hours between Friday and Monday, as a result there was no blog. The last week was all about getting back to my normal routine and putting the finishing touches on Roktoberfest Belated, more on that later but first I want to talk about Son Volt and Complexions.
As I indicated in this post One Fast Move, Son Volt is one of my top 5 bands. There is something completely genius and inspiring about Jay Farrar. His lyrics are grounded, rooted in the common, but extremely intelligent and poetic at the same time. Jay possesses this quiet calm on stage, as if the energy pouring into the song is so intense that it would be wasted on some showy performance. This was my 4th time seeing Son Volt, but the first time I got to expose newbs to their music. In tow was the It Burns bowling team; Warren (has previously be referenced in my blogs), Jeff (he has also been mentioned and was my road warrior for SE Swing), Stephanie (who you are familiar with from Epic Roadtrip ’09) and a newcomer to my blog Jen, also referred to as Jenertainment, for no other reason than she is a lot of fun.
I love this group of people, everyone unique but connected by a shared love of music, intelligence, whit, sarcasm, bowling, spicy food (hence the name, It Burns) and a desire to have fun whenever possible. Collectively everyone had a good time. I think Son Volt may have been a bit too Country for Jen and Warren, but Jeff, Steph, and I were completely awed by the performance. They were touring in support of American Central Dust which is their 6th album, but they played all the favorites, and Jay threw in a couple tunes from the One Fast Move or I am Gone CD. Highlight for me was probably “Cocaine and Ashes” because it is stark and powerful. We parted ways and I had a great drive home enjoying the Indian Summer in the Saab, top down of course. Oh yeah, I did have a pretty amazing Dirty Blonde there, as well.
Saturday, was the big Roktoberfest Belated day, but we are not there yet…Complexions . As you may or may not know, my ex-wife was a Modern Dancer. I met her in college after a Dance concert. I was always interested in dance, as I am interested in all the arts, but being married to a dancer definitely heightened my emotional attachment to dance, to its creation, the thoughts behind the movement, the sacrifices dancers make for their art, as well as my overall knowledge of dance. Alvin Ailey to Angela was like BB King to me. A couple years ago I had an opportunity to see the Alvin Ailey Company at the Fox, and I jumped at it. Though I have been divorced for several years, my respect for this incredible art form has not wavered. Saturday, Desmond Richardson’s company, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, was at the Touhill, and I could not miss that opportunity. Desmond was a protégé of Alvin Ailey and is quite possibly the best dancer alive. There were three acts to the show with multiple group pieces. His dancers were all amazing, especially Christina Dooling who is extremely captivating, but his solo has forever changed the way I will look at dance. There was more soul and emotion in the curl of his fingers than most people could produce doing a full piece. He is the Elvis of dance.
Finally, the 3rd Annual Roktoberfest (Belated), I started throwing this party when I had a roommate who was also a musician. The first two years were very gimmicky, resplendent with PBR, Camo cans, and Stag. In a sense we were poking fun at an often misguided hipster rock culture, while embracing the idea of rock at the same time. Roktoberfest was about drinking, food, and costumes, with inevitable jam sessions. This year I put the focus on the music. Sure there was a keg, but it was a keg of good beer, Boulevard Wheat! Hate me if you must, but I have a really good job, why should I subject my guests to crappy beer just because it is trendy?
For the past several months I have been practicing with a great group of musicians (Patrick Swan on MiniKorg/Trumpet/Guitar/Vocals, Chris Logan on Bass, and Patrick Enright on Drums) but because of work delays, Swan's wedding, Epic Roadtrip ‘09, and my SE Swing, the process has taken way longer than anyone of us were accustom to. We were all getting antsy and just needed to get in front of people to validate that what we have has value, but we knew we were not tight enough to book a venue, so we commenced on turning my living room into a fitting stage for the debut performance of So Much Closer. Our performance was not perfect, but it was VERY close. I’d say we are at about 85% and should be ready to start playing out in December.
So Much Closer:
Me doing my thing:
Now, since we had converted the living room to a club atmosphere, it seemed fitting to have a DJ, and luckily I happen to know the best Drum and Bass DJ in St. Louis, Dylan Thomas to the rescue. At one point my living room looked closer to a raging, pulsating, club, than it looked like a respite for the work weary.
It was the best Roktoberfest to date, kicking off at 8p and officially closing down at 4:55a after we got back from a much needed gravy run, and I sent my last tweet before crawling in bed. What made it great for me was not solely the So Much Closer performance or the amazing DnB by Dylan, but that several fragments from my world were forced to collide, and they all played nice with each other. It is great to have amazing friends…you all know who you are.