Mon 28 Aug 2006
Buffalino arrived Friday, at my house, emerged from their packed tour van and laid on my floor, in my air conditioning, delcaring they were very happy to be there. I was happy, too. When your little brother is in a band, and the band - and their friends - are awesome people, and they come to play a show in your town, well, it’s exciting. And I was prepared. I’d loaded the fridge with Budweisers. Because I’ve seen these guys consume Budweisers, and believe me, you need to have a lot of them.
I’d rounded up a good number of friends to go see the show that night. I think I fell only slightly short of being completely annoying, sending emails out and whatnot to remind them, but the result was a group committed to the cause and that’s all I needed. The band would provide the music, and the bar the beers, and I was pretty sure we’d have a great night.
After a few naps, some memories of our summer in Maine and some reconnecting with Mina, we all went out for Mexican food, and afterwards headed over to the venue, The Nightlight, a coffee shop and bookstore by day, and bar by night. The band played a great show with their tour mate, T.V. Mike, and many people showed up to come and watch. I felt, honestly, very lucky looking around that place and seeing everyone who’d answered the call, whether they wanted to hear music or just to be supportive, I was so thankful for all my wonderful friends.
We had some beers. The band and a contingent of those I’d invited to the show were all set to go out in Chapel Hill, so we left the bar.
Chapel Hill is small, so running into someone you know, or sort of know, or don’t know really, but maybe you’ve had a couple and you feel like you might as well introduce yourself, is always a possibility. So when I saw the guy who works at The Open Eye Cafe, an establishment where J and I sometimes like to get our morning cup of coffee, I didn’t hesitate too long before I romped on over to say hello.
The thing about this particular guy is that, through our friends, J and I, somehow, know that he writes for Pitchfork, which, if you aren’t hip to the indie rock fame game, or if you are over 45, is an album-rating and general music site that people equate with God when it comes to what one should be listening to. Really. I don’t care to admit it, but if I like an album and Pitchfork hasn’t rated it highly my feelings get hurt. “What’s wrong with me?” I wonder. I hope to get over this someday.
In my giddy state that night, I thought, “WHAT FORTUNE!” Here’s a guy I’d seen around enough to maybe introduce myself, PLUS, my little brother’s band had just played a set at the very bar he was about to walk into. Surely he’d want to at least say hi to the band members and maybe take home a free CD.
Well, I don’t know if he wanted either of those things, but I walked right up and said hello, and told him my husband had written about him on his blog (which is true, as you can see in this blog entry about the Chapel Hill music scene, specifically referencing Brian Howe).
Really, is there anything a person wants more than to have a perfect stranger walk up to them and say, “My husband wrote about you on his blog!”? I don’t think so.
Luckily, Brian turned out to be an extremely nice guy and said we could drop off a CD for him at the coffee shop. Thus, I am effectively ending any notions you people might have that those who write music reviews of those popular, but not too popular lest they become mainstream and therefore no good anymore, bands that sell out the local music hotspots in, like, five seconds are uptight and distant people. This one guy, anyway, is really friendly, which is good, especially when people start running up to him and gushing about their brother’s band and their husband’s blog. You need to be kind to handle that sort of thing.
As we were leaving we heard talk of a 50s and 60s soul/funk dance party going on at Tallulah’s, an excellent restaurant on Franklin St. that turns into a happening bar at night. The word was, however, that this DJ Calvin Johnson was playing, and we might have a hard time getting in. Because he’s very well known.
Telling me that a DJ is famous is the same as telling me about a famous physicist or architect. Maybe I should, but chances are I’m not going to know who the person is or anything about their impact on American culture. I hadn’t heard of this guy, but good music and dancing? I was in! We honed our positive energy and headed over to the bar, hopeful that there wouldn’t be a line, and lo and behold, there wasn’t. Straight to the dance floor we went. At this point we had become a powerful force - the band, plus Rogue, Bryan and T.V. Mike, as well as some of my favorite microbilogists, Sonnie, Ginnie and Liz and our new German friend Christian, who kept telling me he had “a wooden leg” when I enthusiastically attempted to coax him onto the dance floor.
I decided that it might be nice to hear a song we knew. So I went up to this Calvin fellow and told him, “Hey, I heard you’re a pretty famous DJ. Do you have any Curtis Mayfield?” He didn’t, but it turns out people like Calvin Johnson don’t respond too badly to being told that they’re “a pretty famous DJ.” I’m not saying it was the greatest day of his life or anything, but when I explained that we were going back to my house for an after party, because believe me, what we needed at that point was to stay up a little later and have some more cocktails, he accepted.
We arrived back at the cinderblock cottage after 3 a.m. and I proceeded to put on a mix I’d made earlier that week which featured a bunch of our favorites from the summer, like “Werewolves of London” and “Dancing in the Moonlight.” I put it on loud, even though I clearly remembered myself thinking, before the band arrived, that we wouldn’t be having any crazy parties later at my house because I respect my neighbors, and also, I mean, I didn’t need to be staying up til the early hours of the morning because I already did that a couple of times this summer. But that logic wasn’t sound enough and we carried on.
Pretty soon, even though we thought he might have better things to do on a Friday night, Calvin Johnson showed up with a small posse, including the guy from this band Weird War, who I’d actually seen perform one time. Unfortunately I didn’t know that that is who it was, or I could have said something relevant, like, “Hey, I saw your band play!” Instead I made sure everyone had beers and rum and cokes and at one point took out a photo album of my baby pictures in the hopes that we could find some amusing pictures of my little brother and maybe make fun of him. I also made sure the mix I’d made played over and over and over, because people seemed pretty into it.
A few hours later I decided it was just time and got in bed. I awoke to the sound of people waking from deep slumbers…on my floor and porch, and I even heard that the famous DJ and friends slept in the back yard and departed early. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but guys, a famous DJ may or may not have slept over, and even if he didn’t, he did come to my after hours party, the point being that yeah, I might not have a job right now and I’m certainly not on the brink of truly “making it” or anything as a journalist, but success is sometimes who you know, and when people who warrant a Wikipedia entry are rumored to have slept in your backyard, well, you’re getting somewhere.