The xx @ Cain’s Ballroom – 02/15/2013

The xx in B&W

The xx in B&W

Grace and I took the drive up to Tulsa on Friday night to see The xx at Tulsa’s historic Cain’s Ballroom this last Friday evening. Since we both had to work on Friday, we already knew it was going to be a big rush to get there and then we ran into horrendous traffic on the way resulting from a crash between a car and a bus carrying prisoners. We were over an hour late and a little stressed out, but we really shouldn’t have been worried. The modern concert style of being at least an hour late for starting the show served us well.

The opening act was a group called Austra about which I had heard great things, but in person didn’t do much for me. Thankfully, the convenient layout of Cain’s with the bar next door gave us a place to sit and a chance to run into our friend Aaron and catch up.

The xx in Light

The xx in Rainbow Light

The xx put on a great show. Moody, atmospheric almost electronica music might not always work live, but with them it did. And even if it hadn’t, the amazing light show they put together would have made it worth while. They maintained a great emotional mood and sounded amazingly tight as a live group. While I haven’t enjoyed their second album, Coexist, much at their amazing self-titled début, but I really enjoyed both live.

My only complaint may just be an old-fogey moment, but I was astounded by the number of people who maintained ongoing, loud conversations throughout the show. Now, I must admit that this may not be a new thing, because in my youth I primarily listened to such loud bands that conversations wouldn’t have been audible under any circumstances. However, no matter how long this has been going on, it was more than a little irritating to hear an amazing din of conversation over the top of a live band.

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Aaron

Aaron

The xx

The xx

The xx in Blue

The xx in Blue

The xx

The xx

Dancing #1

Dancing #1

Dancing #2

Dancing #2


Strange Offerings

We’ve been experiencing a weird regular ritual at the old farm-house. Starting about 3 months ago, we’ve received small food offerings on our front sidewalk every month. The items are always fresh and unopened usually consisting of milk, candy, bags of chips and the like. Once was a little strange, but this is now the third time.

Originally I assumed that these were accidentally left by some school kids coming home from the elementary school up the street. But this last time, the offering arrived on a Saturday evening, and I’m still pretty sure kids don’t voluntarily run by school on the weekends.

So, now I’m starting to wonder if we have gotten a slightly wrong reputation in the neighborhood. I’m guessing that we are now known as a pair of malevolent spirits who must be appeased in order to assure peace and prosperity for those on the block. If that is the case, would it be wrong to write the following on the sidewalk? “The offerings are appreciated, but going forward we demand whiskey.”


Quick Chicago Vacation

Last weekend Grace, Gwen and I along with Gwen’s friend Alica took a whirlwind tour of my old stomping grounds in Chicago. We were only there for four days, so it was really a short time, but it was nice to see the place again and it was fun to act as a tour guide for Gwen and Alica on their first trip to the city of big shoulders.

With four people, it made economic sense to drive this trip which, on the way there, we split into two days to save energy, though given the sleepy nature of my passengers, I needn’t of bothered, they mostly slept (or were otherwise occupied) all the way there:

Our hotel was right off of Michigan Ave and the River, so naturally we spent the first day wandering up Michigan Ave as all good tourists do and making sure we stood out as such:

After letting Gwen look at clothing no one in their right mind would consider affording, we headed to Wicker Park for some more affordable options. Of course, this neighborhood isn’t nearly as “affordable” as I remembered it. Wicker Park/Bucktown was pretty well gentrified by the time I left, but boy, it has truly finished off the process. It’s now a pretty and slick neighborhood for the young, hip and upwardly mobile. Even so, it was a fun stroll and I even got to visit the home of my one venture into theatrical production:

The next day we continued the tourism festival by braving the extremely long lines at the Willis Tower, an ordeal that I hadn’t suffered through since I was a freshman in college, and as my knees began to ache from standing in once place, I remembered exactly why I hadn’t been back. However, the girls got a great big kick out of it, especially standing on the glass boxes hanging out from the west side of the building. And I at least was able to acquire an obligatory Willis Tower picture:

We had planned on hitting the aquarium after the tower, but I really couldn’t imagine handling any more crowds so instead we grabbed some Chicago hot dogs and wandered around Millennium Park before heading to my favorite restaurant RoseAgnelis for dinner.

Grace’s knee had been hurting her from the hiking of the day, so we took the car out for dinner which let us take a big Chicago driving tour/nostalgia trip after dinner. After doing some of the big land marks, including Wrigley Field, I went back up to Roger’s Park to see if I could find my last apartment. Wow, talk about a neighborhood that has changed since I left. It wasn’t exactly an awful neighborhood when I lived there, but I think you could call it a rough neighborhood. Now it was filled with neon signs and upscale coffee shops and stores. It’s nice to know that the city doesn’t stand still. We then headed south and did drive out to the planetarium to take in the skyline view. Though, at this time some passengers were needing to get back to the hotel room quickly so we didn’t get to stop. ;)

The next morning, we meet up with my old friends Dennis and Maria and their darling son Riordan for brunch before heading out on the road for a 13 hour straight shot home. Not exactly and exciting drive, but given that almost everyone else was asleep for most of the trip, I finally was able to get caught up on This American Life and several dozen other podcasts that I’ve been falling behind in. All in all, it was a great trip, albeit a short one. Hope to go back again in a few years for a longer stay

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