Thursday, July 16, 2009

Some things will never change ...



Last night Chuck and I bussed it downtown to Pizza Luce to catch the Meat Puppets, the sort of band that draws out your standard khaki-pants-and-Twins-hat crowd and throws it in with a mix of your every day organic fennel-flavored toothpaste hippie. I liked imagining these 30-something men today, home row indentations in their cheeks, coffee stains on their spread sheets. "Dude. Caught the Meat Puppets show last night," he says at the urinal. "It was intense. But I just can't party like I did when I was at Bemidji State."

I remember liking the Meat Puppets for one summer while I was in high school. Not enough to buy a CD, but enough to get really crazy-whack-spazzy when I heard the song "Backwater." The best I could hope for going into the show was that they would play "Backwater" 13 times in a row.



The place was packed, with the customary "Sold Out" sign written with sharpie on a round pizza cardboard. We hung out in the bar area, and watched the show from behind a window. Every time I went to the bathroom, I had to push a path through a tight people-pack. Cue the flashbacks to coming down the birth canal. All the while, chanting to myself "I am 90. I cannot handle crowds. I am a 90-year-old."

"Everyone in here is old and used to be cool, or young and never will be," Chuck said, looking around.
"Used to be cool like THAT guy?" our friend said sarcastically, pointing to an old bedraggled sort of dude.
That guy turned out to be one of two former members of Husker Du who made cameos during the show. A fact we realized later, when he took the stage.

At one point I'd ducked into the front row to talk to some friends who had scored primo space. A dude squeezed between us to get on stage, and the other girl and I turned our heads and avoided eye contact. We both saw a mess of hair and assumed it was a mutual acquaintance. One of those roulette drunks you have to avoid after 11 p.m., lest you want your face to become covered in a mist of booze spittle, your brain to begin to eat itself. When it was safe to resume normal activity, we realized we had misidentified the man. That we had actually just been the bread in a Meat Puppet sandwich.

The show was meh. At it's apex, I was standing on the ledge inside of the bar pounding on the window while the Meat Puppets, Husker Du, and a faction of Low were all crammed on the stage. There was some old-school crowd surfing, acrobatics more stunning than Mary Lou Retton's floor routine in the 84 Olympics. Things chilled after that. I hoped down from the window, walked into the main room, yelled "BACKWATER!" and then returned to the bar. Twice.

Of course, they saved "Backwater" for the last song, and turned on the lights the second it ended. We beat the streets for Quinlan's, which was clearly hitting an epic BAL. There were giant groups of men hugging. And gibberish was spoken.

I have spent the entire day in bed, rousing myself long enough to take the pizza medicine from the nice man from Bulldog Pizza. Some people think it is a waste of a day to sleep through it. I think those people tend to be assholes.

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