2018 Highlights Week 9: feeling old feeling young

Went to see the Lemonheads and Veruca Salt play this week. I think I last saw the Lemonheads over 20 years ago in Japan. It was odd to see them again – Evan didn’t talk to the crowd at all and just played through the set. They still sounded food and played many favourites, but it was a slightly hollow feeling, a slightly displaced performance. It made me feel inexplicably a little sad – did they get any enjoyment from playing, something that back when I first saw them so long ago, before their big two albums, was clearly a passiin. It was hard to tell.

Also Even looked like the homeless dude who cleans your windscreen at the traffic lights.

Veruca Salt, on the other hand, were full of that joyous energy that makes seeing a band fun. They had people up dancing despite being at the not-particularly band friendly Canberra Theatre. I enjoy them – it did make me feel like I was young, rather than reminding me of the abyss of time between now and my youth.

Eternal Girl Bands

On Saturday night I went and saw the Bangles. The idea was to have a bit of a fun girls' night with my boss, a couple of friends and a couple of other colleagues. It was a lot of fun.

We all had dinner first – it is amazing the things you learn about people. Like the colleague who was working for the UN in Islamabad in the late 1990s and snuck out during a security lockdown to play tennis at the Australian embassy. And the other who used to teach guitar in Iceland where she inevitably met Bjork….

And then to the Bangles. With a couple of glasses of wine under the belt, was prepared for anything, There had been a couple of other tables of women at dinner who we had pegged as fellow concert-attenders, but the thing that surprised us the most when we arrived was the number of men who were there. We had figured it would be mostly a chick affair, but apparently not.

We timed our arrival well – they started about 5 minutes or so after we arrived, opening up with a fine rendition of Hazy Shade of Winter. Suzi (my boss), Hilary and I headed for the stage, while Jenny, Bronwen and the nine-months pregnant Kellie stayed in their seats (understandably…). The security guard at the front did try ineffectually to tell people to go back to their seats,  but he really wasn't getting much traction with that request. Unfortunately I did end up next to a slightly smelly smoker man, who, it was later revealed, had an artificial leg – but nonetheless managed a lot of enthusiastic dancing.

Watching the crowd with their mobile phones taking photos made me think about the recent article I read about the fact that everyone is busy recording their experiences that they forget to experience it – or indeed, my own work for my thesis and Ernst Schactel's argument that we structure our experiences according to the manner in which we will recall them. And then I thought about how I would write about this in my blog, and realised I was doing the same thing and then found myself in a self-reflecting post-modern loop and snapped myself out of it and went back to enjoying the music.

And then band were good. It is slightly shameful that this is the first band I've been to see in absolutely ages, but I was actually a lot more impressed than I expected to be. In the very stripped back show, their punk-rock origins were visible, and it was a lot less poppy than expected. If anything, in addition to the rock-iness it had a twang of the country in a couple of songs. The energy was great and they looked fabulous for women about 10  years older than me! The best bit was how much they seemed to enjoy the show – they didn't stop smiling the whole time. They played all the name hits and could even laugh at themselves, with Vicki joking at one point that their new CD was on sale in the foyer – possibly the only place in the world it was on sale…. And I loved her tartan dress. Naturally they left Walk Like an Egyptian til last – and then Susanna forgot the words to her verse…I did briefly wonder whether it might be a Freudian memory deletion – unconsciously sick of being defined by one song…

Anyway, I was very happy I went. And then felt so old, with the show finishing about 10.30pm and heading straight home…this isn't how it used to be when I went and saw bands!

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