Monday, October 15, 2007

Cosmic with a Slice of Vander

After class on Friday, Steve and I watched the Science of Sleep, a bizarre yet charming movie about a man named Stephan who has difficulty differentiating between his dreams and reality. This leads to a lot of embarrassing encounters with his would-be girlfriend from across the hall. It was made by the director of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Then the powers of the universe compelled us to go to John Vanderslice at Velour. While we were waiting outside to get in, a guy about my age (but at least 6 inches shorter) started staring at me. His fixed gaze turned into a glare, and he turned to his friend and directed his friend’s attention at me. His friend joined him in this perverse observation and they both smiled, not holding back the malice. I had the crazy notion they were undressing me with their eyes. Yeah, they were definitely leering now. I felt way uncomfortable and wondered what was so conspicuous about me that was drawing their attention. Their faces turned to disgust and bewilderment and left me a little more confused. Then came the elevator look. Their eyes locked on my jacket. My magical jacket that I bought at the lost and found sale for three dollars. Then the ridiculous notion occurred to me that perhaps the jacket originally belonged to him, and he had carelessly lost it and failed to retrieve it at the Wilk. Andrew arrived with pizza and I temporarily left the line to eat with them on a bench. I didn’t see creepy jacket coveter again.

Finally the doors opened and we were ushered in first because we’d purchased tickets previously. We snagged a table in the back and prepared to sit through the opening act, Bishop Allen. They started out pretty good, I really enjoyed their first three or four songs, but then they turned into a generic pop band and I was bored. While Bishop Allen was playing I got a phone call from a girl I’d made a date with for the following evening. Something had come up and she had to cancel (which turned out to be a very good thing because the concert we saw the following evening was lame-o). I’d stepped out to take the call and as I re-entered Velour something cosmic happened.

Bishop Allen finished their set and I moved up to talk to Andrew and his date. Spirits were high, excitement kindled as we waited for John Vanderslice to play. We moved up to about 3 rows from the stage and braced ourselves for the opening song. He opened with “Kookaburra,” and I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face. They played mostly songs from their new album Emerald City and it was incredible. As they neared the end of their set John announced that they would be playing a couple more songs, then there would be a dance party, and then we’d be heading down to Maestro’s for some gelato. This elicited a great deal of laughter and clapping, but I don’t think anyone took it seriously. Andrew yelled out, “Don’t get the mango!” and John took a poll to see what the crowd thought of mango gelato (see Sego). Suddenly it was the last song and John and his entourage were coming out into the middle of the audience to where my friends and I were standing. We formed a circle around them and John told us it was critical that we were quiet. The crowd went silent and we all melted in a beautiful rendition of “Keep the Dream Alive.” As soon as the last chord was strummed dance party music was piped over the loud speakers and the whole crowd started moving (except me, I don’t dance.) My friends and I looked at each other with elated faces, a little overwhelmed by such a fantastic finale, and we decided it was time to get some Gelato.

This time I got raspberry chocolate. It was scrumtrelescent. As we finished up our single scoops we watched as a train of fans, led by their Gelato Moses, entered Maestro’s in great mirth. John and his band had brought their instruments with them and gave us another wonderful number as we stood on chairs and photographed. I just wanted to hug everyone in the room. Especially Charlotte Gainsbourg.