Sunday, November 16, 2008

Boston, Part 3: Carousing

The morning came quickly, as I had to wake early for a few hours of work. Jose and I met in the first part of the day to co-present some work we'd done. Unfortunately, we'd never got around to discussing how we were going to make this presentation the night before, and that failure to communicate dawns on me about 2 minutes before we were to begin. I ask him, "How do you want to do this?" to which he responds, "You are gonna do it."

Somehow, I accept this injustice. I flip open my notes just as the chair of the event introduces us, meaning I'm gonna have to wing this thing. I do, and it seems to go decently. We finish up, no worse for the wear, and head our separate ways to do some other work. That is uneventful, and soon it is time for lunch, where Barton Gellman, the Washington Post political reporter, is speaking. That proves interesting, and afterward I'm off to have coffee with another colleague. We are soon joined by a couple other colleagues, then by buddy Jose. We eventually move the group to a bar, this terrific Irish place called the Black Rose, where we quaff a few too many Harpoon Winter Warmers (basically Boston's version of Cleveland's Great Lakes Christmas Ales).

After cutting ourselves off, Jose and I head over to the legendary Orpheum Theater, to catch the night's Kings of Leon show. I've been a fan of this band for a while, but their last two albums have let me down. They've lost the gritty freak-out southern edge of their first two records and have become something much "younger" and restrained. Still, it seemed like a cool way to see something I wouldn't otherwise see, so we did it. It was worth it, as the Orpheum is a great, old, gritty, sticky floored rock venue set in the kind of room folks saw stage plays during the 19th Century, complete with drunk hipsters dancing and waving from the side-wall luxury boxes. The bands opening for Kings of Leon were The Whigs and We Are Scientists. We walked in during the last song of the Whigs set and I fell asleep during the We Are Scientists show (thanks to the beer, I guess, but I'm not complaining - those d-bags have the worst on-stage banter I've ever seen. Ever.)

Realizing I don't want to snooze through the headline set, I invest in some $10 beer. It worked and my buzz returned. Unfortunately, the beer didn't make the dudes in Kings of Leon's hair grow any longer. That probably sounds weird, but I always liked the fact that the dudes in that band were a bunch of 70s style long-hairs. I like to imagine this band as a latter-day Allman Bros., straight-legged freaky-haired dudes standing against the fading forces of 70s rawk. Now, only one is a long-hair, the drummer, but boy did he make up for his bandmates' douchey-dos, with his guns and his tank top, as he beat the shit out of his athletic-taped kit.

As the show went on, I realized how young this audience was. That is normal, for a 30-year-old dude to realize most of the folks around him were younger. But this crowd was YOUNG, like high-school young. It became clear we were surrounded by 1200 skinny blonde high school girls and their lame boyfriends sportng 90s fraternity hair.

The show proceeded as could be expected, 85%+ from the new record, many of which will likely be played at high school proms across the nation this spring. Throughout the show wafts of weed, the scent of rock, drifted over the audience. It is quite possible the scent was emitted from the guitars themselves. Towards the end of the set, they ripped a version of "Milk," my favorite track from any of the band's records.

After the show ended, we made our way out, and started a long and nearly fruitless search for a post-show meal. We ended up back at Hub Pub, where we enjoyed some wings and steak tips. Afterwards, there was only time for a return to the room and a quick fade-to-black with the History Channel in the background.

1 comment:

Kelly and José said...

Couldn't agree more about young crowds putting a slight damper on the overall experience -- actually, any given crowd can make or break a show*


ps - Looking fwd to hearing more about your trip soon!