we sat down at our table. i took off my polar fleece. a lavender flavored fabric softner fell out of it and landed on the floor of the restaurant. my life seems oddly filled with fabric softner sheets in weird crannies. whatever. i'd just pulled the coat from the dryer like four seconds before we left the house. chuck pointed and laughed. i scooped it up and put it in my pocket.
we went to luce to see the black eyed snakes and there was one of those long luce lines outside that always crack me up. ids meticulously checked. cover charges paid. fire codes acknowledged. i like it when one band can attract every hippie, hipster, punk, thug, prep and virgin in the area code.
the black eyed snakes were amazing. i don't know how to describe this without sounding like a 15 year old writing a fanzine, but we pushed into about the third row so chuck could shoot photos. we were off to the side, and out of the area that eventually turned into a two-minute mosh pit, then subsided. at the height of the night, the crowd turned into a pulse. you could feel the music coming up from the soles of your shoes. "i thought my phone was ringing," chuck confessed. it wasn't.
al sparhawk has this fantastic presense where you feel like you are in the front row of one man's swan dive from sanity. he's cavorting. he's bouncing. he's screaming. he's having a seizure. he's making crazy bird calls into the microphone. he's jim morrison. no, wait, he's heath ledger. meanwhile, the girl in front of me is stealing dance moves from the jane fonda workout tape.
over the course of tonight's 45 minute show i felt a) cooler than i am for merely being here; b) so duluth; c) so kind of electric.
for some reason, whenever i see the black eyed snakes, i feel like i'm seeing some epic historical duluth moment and i think of the thousands of people at home, in bed, who didn't see this ... sorry.
the music ended early. the band was loading the van when i went outside. a guy next to me was trying to hint that he'd gotten there late and wanted to hear another song. he kept saying, a too little loudly, "one more song" while the band ignored him. someone brought out the last guitar and stuffed it inside the van and the drunk guy next to me pulled a film canister from his pocket and opened it. he took a whiff and put it back in his pocket.
"what was that?" i asked. knowing he was drunk enough that my curiosity would be answered without hassle.
he took it out and held it under my nose. i shook my head. no thanks. i was pretty sure it was glue.
"it's empty," he said. "but see, it still smells like pot. ... smell it."
i looked into the canister and small fragments of plant were stuck to the edges.
"you aren't into that, are you?" he asked.
"nah," i said.
he smelled the empty container again and put it back into his pocket.
back inside i went to the bathroom. stall one was occupied, stall 2 had been subjected to the trifecta: nos. 1 and 2 and barf [hopefully not in that order]. i settled into no. 3, peed, finished and realized there was no toilet paper. well. unless you count the semi clean pieces stuck to the bathroom floor like mini paper mache volcano science projects. by now stall one had cleared out. i was alone. i could do the pants around the ankles penguin dance into stall four and try my hand at that dispenser. or ...
i reached into the pocket of my polar fleece and pulled out that sliver of lavender fabric softner. fate, my friends. fate.
photo by chuck, who said: "how fun would it be to just go totally mental like that on stage?" answer: "um. super fun?"