Saturday, September 13, 2008


These are a couple shots from a concert that will be hard to forget. 

Back in the day and early in our relationship, almost 5 years ago now, Ainsley and I went to a Deathcab for Cutie concert. They played in Seattle at the Showbox, during which I experienced the initial thoughts and emotions of falling in love. During a drawn out and beautiful jam of Transatlaticism, I held Ainsley close and thought I had died and gone to heaven. 

As we continued dating, we caught every DCFC show that went down in both Seattle and Portland. This eventually led to our song choice of Transatlanticism as our wedding march. We had some good friends (members of a band called Jubilee - check them out) play a version of the song live from the balcony of a beautiful church in Seattle's University District. The song was absolutely gorgeous, bringing myself to tears as it drifted out over the crowd below. The song is a slow and building crescendo that gives me goosebumps each time I hear it again. At one point, the song repeats the line "I need you so much closer." This is the choreographed moment when the rear doors of the church were flung open and my beautiful bride stood beaming in all her glory. As my friend Curtis harmonized these words with his now wife Grace,  Ainsley and her father slowly approached the alter as I fought welling emotion.

All that said, DCFC holds a special place in our relationship. It seems cliche to have "our song," but there is a power in this one for us. We've followed the band from their small indie roots in Bellingham, WA to the mass-following they have today. Ben Gibbard, the lead singer, has a way of stating simple truths of life that most people can relate to in a profound and poetic fashion. 

As the years have rolled by, we have tried to catch as many of their shows as humanly possible. When we first moved to New York, the band was on a touring hiatus. We missed Seattle and the music scene that it provided. We caught a show here and there but nothing seemed to compare to our love of the band and the city that played a part in our story. Then last spring, DCFC dropped a new album and they began touring again. They were slated to play in Brooklyn at a venue we had heard much about but hadn't visited; McCarren Pool. A former swimming pool that sat abandoned and derelict for many years, it was recently converted to a concert venue. The stage sits on the edge of the pool and the concert-goers crowd the depths of the massive concrete wall once under feet of water. 

Added bonus: free! We braved the Brooklyn crowd and bottle necked our way through groping and frisking security guards toward the stage. Finding a spot on the cement floor, we endured two openers and a plethora of sound and equipment issues. Finally, as dusk crept in, our Seattle favorites appeared, greeting the wall of cheers with sheepish grins and subtle, one-handed waves.

It was on! Here we were, 3000 miles from home, living in this great city and hearing one of our favs. As they began to play a few things seemed apparent:
* The band appeared to be in a fight of some sort
* They were playing well, but with no energy
* The horrific sound issues continued throughout the set
* The longer the drama continued, the more agitated they became
* First the lead guitar went out, then the keyboard - it was musicians playing fiercely with no cooperation from the towering amps. 

As the technical difficulties and perceived disunity of the bandmates continued, Gibbard finally snapped showing an uncharacteristic emotional side that Ainsley and I had never seen. As he led into, what was supposed to be an impressive guitar riff, the sound blanked out as Gibbard retaliated by swinging his guitar off his shoulder and violently slamming it onto the stage. The stunned crowd seemed to pause in confusion but quickly erupted into a barrage of cheers. This seemed to catalyze the fire set within Gibbard and he proceeded to rip the mic from the stand and run back and forth across the stage looking more Jagger-ish and less indie. 

Ainsley and I locked shocked eyes as if seeing a ghost. Every show we had ever seen included, at most, a slight sway from the band members bodies and a few hours of shoe gazing but this?! We were loving it and felt as if we were being shown some sort of reality TV where we got to see the authenticity of the band's "real life."

More antics:
* Ben standing on the drum set beating his chest like Tarzan
* Ben kneeling at the edge of the stage, touching the hands of the crazed teenage girls in an Elvis-like fashion.
*Ben running from stage left to stage right repeatedly
* Ben swing his mic in violent, arching circles

As we watched in awe, the night took an even more unexpected twist: lightning crash. A windstorm began to ensue, whipping dust into everyone's eyes and eventually toppling the Brooklyn Brewery tents scattered around the former pool. 

More lighting. 
Thunder claps seemed to explode in our heads. 
More wind. 
Then.....the rain. 
This was no Northwest sprinkle either. It was as if an entire ocean was suspended above our heads until the perfect moment and then suddenly unleashed. Every person in the crowd was instantly soaked - head to toe.
More lightning.
More thunder.

Throughout the mayhem, the band attempted to play on until a middle-aged, balding stage manager had to come on stage and put on the "bad guy badge."

"We're sorry to do this to you all but we have to shut this place down."

"Booooooooooo! Noooooooooooo! Keeeeep playing!"

"For the safety of each of you and the members of the band, we have to shut down. It's too dangerous to be out here in a lightning storm with all these metal beams above the musicians. Thank you all for coming out and supporting the music but you gotta go home."

The band quickly dropped their instruments and ran off stage. Hardcore fans stayed hoping for a weather change and an encore. We fought through the crowd and caught a glimpse of the band being shooed into their monstrous tour bus with the door quickly shutting behind them.

Next mission: get home.

Laughing hysterically we ran through mobs of people, jumping in puddles as we went. We finally made it to the Bedford stop of the L train and had to actually wait in line for 5 minutes to even get underground to catch the subway. Everyone seemed to be wearing similar dazed and playful looks on their faces.

The train finally came and amidst other waterlogged commuters, we shivered and exchanged understanding head nods. 

- For more pictures from the show, check out this link:


Kirsten said...

Sounds like quite a night! Yet another great memory made!

Jerm & Brooke said...

HI Andrew!!! I am so excited that you are blogging now! It has been WAY TO LONG since I have seen or spoken with you! I would love to see you guys when you are in town! As for this post...It sounds like you had a great night! And man, you are passionate about this band:) You just about wrote a novel:) Love it! Well, I will now put you on my list so that I keep up with your life:)

Miss you! Hopefully we will see you soon and you will meet the new little bundle (who knows when she will make her appearance:)

Aunt Kerry said...

My goodness ...... sounds like a night that only the "young" can tolerate ...... too much for MY nerves, I'm afraid!
Glad it had a happy ending for you :-)

Nancy S said...

I'm looking forward to reading about New York life, adding you to the other family (and friend) blogs I read (but seldom comment on) daily. What fun! I'm sure it's a differfent world and I'll enjoy hearing about it. Unless you've turned into a serious Yankee's fan, in which case I may have to exhile you from the fam!!

Don't know if you guys ever heard this... last fall, a friend of Erica's, from Portland, was in town. They stopped by the house here, where I still had your wedding announcement pictures on the fridge. Katie stopped in her tracks and said, "You know Andrew and Ainsley??!!" It seems she knows you too, on Ainsley's end rather than mine. Small world. I'm racking my brain trying to think of her last name. Guess it's more her sister and Ainsley who are friends.


roddyboy said...

what!?! i never knew that! what a crazy show...and damn good writing. keep on keepin' on...