Thursday, February 15, 2007

Shows I've Left Early

My mother, famously, walked out on a show by The Doors at some LI country club because Jim Morrison was so disgusting. (She also skipped Woodstock because it was on a farm.) My mother is like the anti-Forrest Gump, just missing historic moments.

Then again, were I her, I would have done the same. If ACL weren't in my neighborhood, I doubt I would go: it's hot, dusty, and annoying, and most of the bands are people who would make me change the radio station. (The glory days of having something other than indie or alt-country or whatever big band is touring play are long over. Al Green, Solomon Burke, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Charlie Hunter, Soulive, The Roots, Rebrith Brass Band, why have they foresaken you.)

Here is a non-comprehensive list of shows I've left early:

1. The Roots

I walked out on a show by The Roots at Gregory Gym at UT because I was only there to see the opening act as a favor to a friend. I like The Roots (I even own a few of their albums). The show just didn't grab me, so after I finished my business, I rolled.

I saw them again at ACL a couple of years ago, and they were the best show I saw that year.

2. John Mayer

A and I went to see his opening act at the Austin Music Hall in early 2002, who we'd only heard on Charlie Hunter's Songs from the Analog Playground covering Roxy Music's More than This. Yep, Norah Jones. She'd gotten some huge buzz from SX a few weeks before and we hated that we missed her 1230 am show at some restaurant.

Two things stand out from that night: John Mayer hadn't hit yet, so all the kids at the show were real fans who told us all about him and explained things we should look for. They were adorable. We were the oldest people there by at least 8 years and we stood out a bit in the crowd. The kids standing around us had been at his Houston show the night before and were going to the Dallas show, too.

The other thing that stands out is that John Mayer came on stage before Norah Jones to say that the best thing about headlining his own tour was he got to pick his opening act. He said everyone should be quiet and listen to her. She was great.

We walked after "Your Body is a Wonderland," which has always been a really, really crappy song.

I went to Waterloo the next day to buy both discs. From such a tiny show, who knew they would become pop culture behemoths that year?

3. Spoon

I immediately dismissed them as a "Violet Femmes" cover band.

4. Vallejo

They were playing at a charity benefit. The first four songs were good, but then everything just sounded the same.

5. Los Lonely Boys

The first time I heard them perform was in a tent at ACL with a couple hundred people. They were mesmerizing. They had gotten lots of Austin love, but I'd never heard them before then.

A year later, I was in a crowd of tens of thousands at ACL, and heard the same show, with less feeling. We bouced two songs in.

6. Franz Ferdinand

Walked in, heard annoying guitar riffs, walked out.

I like them, but not so much live.

7. Dirty Dozen Brass Band

Really bad live. A brass band should not have so many electric guitars.

8. Pussycat Dolls

Before I started this list, I had forgotten I had seen them perform at an Austin dance club. We didn't have to pay cover or wait in the line, so we figured, eh, how bad could it be?

Really, really bad.

All the expensive liquor in the joint couldn't keep me there more than two songs.

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