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Lou Pickney's Online Commentary


November 2, 2003

My friend Carl Weitlauf called me yesterday morning, and we discussed our respective plans for the weekend. He mentioned that he was going to see a concert at the Exit/In (a concert venue in Nashville)... involving the band Death Cab For Cutie. I was overjoyed! Death Cab is a band that I first heard about through Stephen Cain and Scott Massey from Channel 10 in Tampa, and they've quickly become one of my favorites. So, when I found out that I had the chance to go see them live, I jumped at the chance.

Carl swung by around 8:45, and we stopped by on the way to the Exit/In to pick up Brian Wilson, who is also the webmaster for The Features' webboard. The line outside the club was lengthy, particularly for the unlucky folks who didn't buy their tickets ahead of time. The $4 Ticketmaster surcharge proved well worth it for me (even though the woman at Kroger had quite a tough time understanding the name of Death Cab For Cutie, despite me repeating it about 3-4 times. Finally I just said "the show at the Exit/In tonight" and she got the drift.

Buying the ticket ahead of time was a smart move; when we arrived there was a short line for people who already had tickets, and a ridiculously long line that went all the way down the road and around the block for those without. Sorry about your luck. Plus with the actual ticket, I had a souvenir of the show (those who paid at the door got in, but didn't get a physical ticket like I did).

Death Cab For Cutie's Transatlanticism CD is outstanding.

The opening band was a cool husband-and-wife combo called Mates Of State. They had the whole White Stripes thing going on where they'd stare at each other while they play (though they acted a whole lot more normal than the White Stripes). The husband played drums and did vocals, while the wife sang and amazed me with her performance on an incredible keyboard contraption. To call it a keyboard is a bit of a misnomer; it had to be some sort of custom-made piece of equipment that let her play all sorts of musical-type sounds in keyboard form. You really need to track down some of their music to understand what I mean -- it's not a Rentals type keyboard sound, but think a little bit of that with some experimental-type keyboard efforts that work really well (bass effects through a keyboard, for example). Carl ended up buying their new CD after the show, which we listened to on the ride home (I liked it).

Death Cab came on around 11, much to the pleasure of the packed house (which proved to be a respectful but remarkably subdued crowd). I presume it was a sellout; after the Great White tragedy from earlier this year, clubs all over the country have become sensitive to actually following the fire codes as they should. Carl, Brian and I had strategically staked out a nice spot, snagging a position where the main floor area went up a step (which gave us a birds-eye view over the crowd, not to mention avoiding the problem of the crowd backing up into us, etc.) I don't think the people behind me particularly liking having a 6'2" guy in front blocking their view, but tough luck. If I have to hit my head sometimes walking through too low walkways, then I get the perks of being able to see well. Deal with it.

As for the show, Death Cab put on a great performance. Their set lasted more than two hours, comprised of songs I knew from some of their older CDs mixed with material from their newest release, Transatlanticism. The new songs sounded incredible, with "Title And Registration", "Tiny Vessels" and "Transatlanticism" all in particular standing out to me. Based on that, I bought the CD after the show (along with a Death Cab t-shirt).

Richard & Andy Karg as the Blues Brothers
Richard and Andy Karg dressed up as the Blues Brothers on Friday night.

My thoughts on the recorded version? Wow! Amazing stuff... The best material I've heard from Death Cab so far, and I loved their old songs, too. Plus, it's worth noting that Death Cab played the song I most wanted to hear, "Why You'd Want To Live Here", not five minutes after Carl predicted to me that they wouldn't play it. Very nice.

Overall, it was a great show that was well worth my time and money. If you get the chance to see them in concert, do it. You won't be disappointed. And, trust me, buy Transatlanticism. It's worth every penny.

To follow up on the story first referenced in Friday's column, Slick (Richard Karg) got his bro Andy to send me a few pics from the costume party from Friday night. From what I hear, those two performed on stage as an impromptu opening act at some club in Nashville prior to the party (unfortunately they were done with their set by the time the Ryan/Baylor game finished up).

The party was up on the north side of Nashville, and besides Slick and Andy (and of course my bro Matt, who was my ride), I knew no one there. Matt went as Mullet Man; since it was a costume party, I was obligated to dress up. My keg hat is down in Tampa, and the closet here in my room at my parents' house isn't exactly chock-full of costumes. Luckily, Matt had held onto the Elvis costume that Slick wore at Guavaween 2003 and had it up here with him. So, feeling somewhat silly, I flipped into C.C. Rider mode and dressed up as Elvis.

Mullet Man Matt, Elwood Blues Richard and Elvis Lou
From left to right: Mullet Man (Matt Pickney), Elwood Blues (Richard Karg), Elvis Presley (Lou Pickney).

I did have fun introducing myself as Elvis, and hitting on the girl who went dressed up as Cher (who errantly thought my name was Luke -- not the first or last time I'll have that happen in my life). Unfortunately her husband was there (as Sonny Bono), though I felt the Elvis ego start coming out when I began making fun of his "Key West butt tickler" moustache. But all in good fun. Supposedly the Cher chick snapped some good digital pics of Matt and I (which is how we started talking). The one pic I have on here of me in the Elvis get-up unfortunately cuts off before you can see the shirt halfway unbuttoned with the chest hair showing. Actually I don't know how the odd sunglasses fit with the Elvis outfit, and they really didn't fit my look, but they came with the package (complete with the attached sideburns), so who was I to argue with the setup?

Sadly, I leave Nashville tonight (my visits here are always too brief). But it will be to return to Tampa, another city I love, to begin a very important week of work. The orders for are pouring in, and the time is here to start delivering the goods...

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