Since I had finished all my homework due Monday, when Luke invited me to Blues at the Crossroads, a blues festival in downtown Terre Haute, I jumped on the opportunity for a little fun. That, and the fact that I almost never go out on Friday and Saturday nights, but often want to, clinched the matter.
For a Terre Haute gathering, it was crowded. It had nothing on city-size festivals, and even UNC’s Fall Fest was substantially more crowded. I could easily move through the crowd without touching anyone if I judged my paths correctly.
I’m still weird about crowds, so it took me a minute to warm up to even this crowd. I don’t being touched by people I’m not comfortable with, and I’m constantly on the watch for someone’s goofy or drunken shenanigans.
It was ten bucks to get in to see three bands. Turned out to be a pretty good deal.
I’m not at all any kind of real blues affectionado. It’s like country music–I like a good deal of what I’ve heard, but I don’t own any CDs in the genre and I couldn’t name five artists if a gun was held to my head.
The first group was what I would label fairly traditional or stereotypical blues in music sound. The lyrics were a little happier than I expected them to be, but it looked like they were trying to get the party started. I thought they were pretty good, although I didn’t dance.
I’m always fascinated with so much at these types of events. First and foremost is the music–I like percussion and I like geetar and I want to feel them both in a live performance. I want to watch the people on stage, of course–their fingers on the geetars and microphones, the play of the light on faces and hair and bodies, their general movements around the stage. I want to watch the crowd dance and drink. I want to know what they’re paying attention to. The people that just close their eyes and feel the music. The people that become very focused on their dancing. The people that avidly watch the band to the exclusion of most else.
Sometimes it’s an overload on my senses, but in a crowd so small, where I can easily tune out some of the stimuli when I tire, it’s not so bad.
I don’t make a lot of noise in a crowd. I don’t clap or holler or talk to people around me much, so I think it seems that I’m not having a lot of fun. Very much untrue.
The second band (Luke bought their CD later) was a family of guys. Something like three brothers, the father, and an uncle. They let the little pipsqueak with the harmonica steal the show unduly; he was good, but damn, how about we let him have a solo like everyone else and move on? The uncle on the two-tiered organ (!!!) was a trip–talking to himself and making faces while he played. I’m not qualified to say that he was skillful, but it sounded damn good. The interesting thing about this group was that because of the fact that the drummer/lead singer and geetar player were “young” (around twenty-ish), the music had a very strong rock feel to it.
(Former drummer and friend Nathan always laughs at me when I am excited and amazed at the simplest little pitter-patters on a drum set, but I love that style of drumming (common[er] in rock) where it feels as though the drummer is just letting the sticks flow from drum to drum. I don’t care much for slower, deliberate beats that are found more in jazzy or R & B styles of music. The point of the aside, though, is that when I got excited a little warm-up ditty by the drummer and mentioned that I might even dance, Luke laughed at me similarly.)
The second band was pretty good, though. The singer was good at both singing and playing the drums, and everyone (except Dad the bassist, who I don’t think got a solo, but danced very evertainingly) did cool solos in the songs. The thing about this group, though, was that their music felt music felt more like a jam session than a performance. There are pluses and minuses to that, including the impromptu way they just threw the little harmonica player up there… repeatedly… but all in all, it was pretty good.
The third band… Sigh. I wanted them to be completely instrumental. The geetar player had me mesmerized, and I wanted him to steal the show with the keyboard player. The singer, however, needed to go away and stay away. He was an old blind man who told bad, profanity-laden jokes between songs and sang like a drunk emphysemic. It hurt. The best part of the show was when the singer left the stage for a minute and the band just jammed. In fact, that part was awesome.
By this time, however, the crowd had regained my interest (because listening to that man croon was a no-no). One poor guy had gotten wasted on something and proceeded to dance around Very. Very. Intently. It was kind of funny, except for the fact that he insisted on moving around in the crowd, and got pushy with people in his way. I just sort of moved out of his way when he came in my vicintity since at this point, the drunkenness and pushiness of the crowd had increased and my discomfort and watchfulness had intensified correspondingly.
Second up was the Potential Ass Grabber. I didn’t know whose ass he was more likely to grab, mine or Luke’s, but I did my best to keep him in my peripheral vision for the entirety of the time he was stood behind us. I asked him if he was okay, and I got a mumbled answer that sounded like something to the effect of, “No, but it was good shit when I took it/smoked it/drank it.” I came very close to telling him to get off my ass, then so as not to share the bad vibes, but instead just made sure to pay attention to the feeling of my wallet in my back pocket, lest it be shifted by hands not mine.
Then there was Blond Bi Guy. On a side note, his much soberer brother looked just like the blond lead-minion in the movie Fight Club. Blond Bi Guy came up to Luke and me while we sat on a curb to let our back muscles relax after the show. He told Luke some story Very Intently that involved bad vibes and how Luke had good vibes or something like that. Heh. I did my best not to laugh out loud, but when BBG’s brother and chick friend came up and BBG made some comment like, “Don’t ask me if that guy was cute. Ask me if another guy is cute,” I very much wanted to jump in with, “Hey! Do you think this guy is cute [indicating Luke]?” I didn’t feel comfortable bringing his attention back down to where we were, however, so I didn’t say anything.
I’m glad I didn’t, though, because I got my just deserts for the mere thought a couple minutes later.
Finally, there was the Anti-Programmer. He’d given me odd, glowering looks the entirety of the evening. As Luke and I were sitting on that same curb, he came and stood over me and started a conversation about what he’s studying. He then proceeded to crouch down in front of me and talk more about how computer engineering and network engineering are cool and how much he thinks programming sucks, but it’s okay that I like it since someone has to do it. As he talked, he leaned more and more into my lap.
Then he touched my leg.
As soon as I decently could, I tapped Luke’s arm and suggested we go get a drink in the club that the music had moved into at the end of the outdoor show. I stood in line long enough for the Anti-Programmer to get in and for Luke to get carded and wrist-banded, then backed away. Twenty-one and over only, which I suspected, but I really just wanted to shuck the Anti-Programmer.
Then Luke, dirty bum that he is, dropped me off back on campus then went back to the club for more music. It looks like was back by 03:30, so he can’t have had too much fun.
I climbed in bed around 02:30 and slept until almost 14:00. No alarm clock, baby.
In other news, the wonderful Miss Rackrent went on an awesome date last night.