Westward for Westword music fest

My friend invited me to go to the the Westword Music Showcase this weekend since UW was offering students a great deal. I said ‘yes’ because, you know, I really didn’t have anything better to do and I wanted to see him again. I ended up hanging out with him, his girlfriend, and another couple that he came down with. We ended up being quite the diverse group since they happened to be all international students: He was from Iran, his girlfriend Russia, a Ukrainian girl, and an Argentinean guy. I’m from Nebraska.

Because this is how I think…A music festival in moments:

01. First and foremost, it was 100 degrees and sunny the entire concert. Just being in the heat makes me wilt. But somehow, when it gets to be so disgustingly hot like it was, it doesn’t matter anymore. Because everyone’s disgusting and squinty and hot. I remember on the way home thinking I was was so repulsively grimy with sweat, spilled beer, cast-up dirt, and smoke residue that I had probably turned acidic and was burning a filth-hole through my car seat.

02. My sandals hurt. By the end of the night I was limping along slowly. I am 100% sure that people seeing me swaying, tender-footed across the sidewalk thought I was drunk. (All I had was a sample of cup of hard lemonade).

03. A couple in front of me while I was in the throng of belligerent concert goers watching Macklemore: The shaved-head male had blazing red eyes and his girl was wearing the a patterned shear shirt (the expensive hippie look was all the rage at this concert) and a light-wash jean skirt that flaired-out and hit the half-way mark of her thigh. The guy repeatedly pinched her bottom.

04. During the main stage concerts, the air reeked of marijuana. To think, before I came to Colorado I don’t think I would have recognized the smell of weed. Now it’s kind of a “there it is again” situation.

05. I got separated from the group when I snuck off to see Patrick Dethlefs (more on this later) and ended up watching the two main performances alone (Macklemore & Girl Talk). I often find myself break away from groups when they’re not to my speed (Katie can attest to this when I disappeared for two hours at the British Museum).  I think most people will hold out in order to prevent..say getting lost in Europe without a cell phone…or just dropped from the group in general. But sometimes I’d rather just take in a moment a lone rather than playing my part in the delicate social dance of “Do you want to do this? How do you feel about that? I mean, we don’t have to but...” Is that horrible? Maybe one day I’ll learn.  So these performances mainly consisted of me pretending to dance to music I never heard of next to extremely tall people.

06. Stopping for lunch at Melita’s Greek Market & Cafe. #GryoInMyMouthPleaseAllGone

Moments of respite:

I’m not a picky person. Our group bopped around to venues playing music I didn’t particularly care for and I was fine with that. Could have done that all day, but it was painfully obvious that I was the fifth wheel in the car of dating that I happened to be with. I didn’t recognize anyone in the lineups except for Danielle Ate the Sandwich (primarily because she plays the ukulele and Sarah spotified her to me) and Patrick Dethlefs so I was game for listening to anyone. But through happenstance, I was able to see both of the people I knew perform.

After standing on our feet alternatively in the hot sun or a stuffy bar all day, I thought, what the heck, I’ll just see the sandwich-eater real quick since we passed her venue earlier. I told the group to swing by on their way back. It was at the Curious Theater and I was greeted by voluptuous velvet curtains and fluffy theater seats. Ahhhh. I had come early even figuring that it was a more like-minded venue, but luckily the duo happened to finish setting up early too. I got to hear three songs before the group came by to sweep me up.

I enjoyed her music, especially in contrast to the jam band stuff I’d heard for most of the day. But I especially appreciated her sarcastic and witty stage presence. We had lunch with a girl who went to high school with her. Weird.

After watching Battles and not whole-heartedly enjoying it, slunk away to see Patrick. For a local performer, I think I’ve seen him perform enough times for it to be awkward. Jordan had sent me one of his songs and it takes me a while to really listen to and appreciate music, especially since it’s usually background music while I’m at work. Eventually the stars aligned and I really heard the song that Jordan had sent, Stays the Same. Jordan was like “what I coincidence that you like him, because I’m coming to see him play this Friday and I’m going to be staying at your house in order to do so.” So we watched him play at a free concert with Eye & The Arrow at Illegal Pete’s. It was pretty noisy and besides a table of the bands’ friends, I think Jordan, Sean, and I were the only ones paying attention. I really enjoyed him though. I think that’s how you’re supposed to feel when you go to concerts.

I saw him again with Sean when he released his new album. I told him he was tremendous. (He was tremendous).

Then yesterday, when I came into the Rooster & Moon he had already started playing his set. From a perch in the back I just listened. When you’re at a small venue with someone who may or may not recognize you, I always wonder what expression I should have. Should I look happy? Thoughtful? Amused? Should I watch him or pretend to look at something else? I know that I would hate it people were looking at me, but I think it’s kind of his schtick to be  in the limelight.

I love watching him play. As a terrible ukulele player, the way he makes sounds come out of his guitar is pretttttttty amazing. It’s simple, clear, bright, and beautiful. I my plan was to slink off into the night after he played. And I almost did. But then was like…well, maybe I should tell him that, yes, I still enjoyed his music. I did it. I’m proud of myself for mustering the courage. Although, I have to think he’s tired of it by now.

So that’s a music fest by Jacklynn Pham. Clearly, I should not be a concert reviewer.

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