Monday, June 18, 2007

2 Concerts, 2 Days

Last Wednesday and Thursday I took in two separate concerts. Wednesday I was in DC to see Feist. On Thursday I saw Son Volt here in Richmond. First.... Wednesday:

My friends and I had this whole trip planned out for quite some time. We bought our Feist tickets a long time ago. Good thing too because the show sold out in around a week. Prior to the show we wanted something fun to do. Pretty simple decision: "Let's go to the zoo!"

The Smithsonian National Zoological Park, more accurately. I hadn't been to any zoo in many, many years. It's probably been at least twelve years. I was excited because I love zoos; but at the National Zoo, there was only one thing I wanted to see:

The Pandas!!

After a quick stop by the cheetahs, we went right to the pandas. I really started to get worried because it was thundering quite a bit and starting to rain. We circled the panda pits and saw nothing. I was scared they had put them up because of the weather. By the time we got to the panda building, it was pouring rain. Then, suddenly, there they were!

That's Tai Shan, the young panda. He was the first one we saw. It was obviously lunchtime. Tai Shan was munching on a huge bamboo stick. Mei Xian, the mom, was eating some apples and panda biscuits. Tian Tian, the dad, was going to town on a big apple-filled ice block.

We must have spent an hour inside hanging out with the pandas. It was raining the whole time. When we were ready to leave, it had finally stopped raining. The pandas were napping, except Tian Tian who was taking a poo.

Pretty incredible sites. It'd never thought I'd see pandas, and it was worth it. The rest of the zoo was great too. Saw some tigers, a lion, elephants, an SUV-sized hippo, orangutans, about a thousand tamarins (those I loved), and many other cool animals.

Okay, we went to DC for Feist. At the end of dinner, it started pouring again. I volunteered to hail a cab in the rain. The one I got was probably the creepiest cabbie in DC, but somehow he got us to the 9:30 Club alive.

It was pretty cool being at the 9:30. This is a place I'd heard about before moving out here was even a thought.

The opener was Grizzly Bear. This band has been giving hard-ons to indie kids this year, but I'm not thrilled with anything I'd heard. I was more impressed with them after the show, but still not a big fan.

Okay, so Feist....
I mentioned a while back that this lady is an absolute superstar. My biggest proof was this show. She was just amazing. She had the crowd eating out her hand. Every song was spot-on. I just have chills thinking about her live versions of "When I Was a Young Girl" and "Sealion." She even pulled out a killer version of Broken Social Scene's "Major Label Debut." Feist and her whole band seemed absolutely thrilled to be there. Tons a great crowd banter. Every song was timed brilliantly.
I really can't say much more praise about this show. Definitely one of the best shows I've ever seen. Leslie Feist is a superstar. If you are lucky to be near her on this tour, you absolutely must see her.

Okay, so that was Wednesday. The next day we saw Son Volt. They played outdoors at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. It was part of their Groovin' in the Garden series, providing mom-friendly rock all summer long.
I forgot my camera at home, so these lousy pictures are courtesy of Neeley's work cellphone camera.

Looks like a pretty rotten place to watch a concert, but it actually wasn't bad at all. Except for the old folks in front of us.

I know these alt-country kids are getting older, but jeez. (Sorry, that was inappropriate.)

Now I know it seems like I love shitting on Jay Farrar on this site, but I actually don't enjoy it at all. This is a guy that I absolutely idolized when I was younger. He was my favorite musician, bar none. Post-Uncle Tupelo, I thought Farrar was much better than Tweedy. Wilco looked like a flash in the pan. Son Volt was going to be a revolution.
....or not. I just can't get into Farrar anymore. Sure The Search isn't a bad album, but that's mostly in comparison with anything after Sebastopol, his last good album. It all sounds more like a parody of the alt-country scene. It's boring.
Sadly, the show was pretty much the same for me. Absolutely nothing memorable. Every single song sounded exactly the same to me. Even when he pulled out the classic "Tear Stained Eye," it sounded exactly like every other song on the set. We actually left early... and it was at my request.
Oh well. Maybe it would be hard for anybody to follow a night with Feist. Jay Farrar especially. The trip to DC was spectacular. I'll always have Feist and the pandas!