Musical equinox

This is us at Radio City Music Hall before the Bon Iver show. Being a cute newlywed couple and stuff.

Sean and I kicked off this autumn of many concerts this past Friday, just before the season officially began, according to astronomy or whatever. I’m pretty sure Bon Iver is the sound of autumn, and since we went to his concert on Friday, that’s when I’m saying is the official start of fall. (Yeah, yeah, I know Bon Iver is a play off “Bon hiver,” which my four college semesters of French tell me means “good winter.” It’s cold weather music, alright?)

Since someone is FINALLY done with the second tax busy season and has managed to escape the all-consuming World of Accounting, we are able to enjoy more of our non-working hours together. And one thing that we both really, really enjoy is going to concerts. Usually my birthday gift involves some form of live music — for my 21st, we went to the ACL Music Festival; for my 22nd (last year), I brought in a new year of life with Austin indie band Quiet Company in downtown Bryan and scored a free T-shirt from the band members for being a birthday girl; and this year for the big two-three, we’re going to see Scottish indie rock band Frightened Rabbit.

I call this one “Poor Quality View of Bon Iver, As Taken Without Flash on an iPhone from the Back of the Second Mezzanine.”

Anyway, we have at least one concert scheduled every month through this December, and we kicked off the season with Bon Iver at Radio City Music Hall. Not your typical concert venue if you’re not going to see a symphony or, uh, the Rockettes, but it was pretty swanky. Definitely worth at least stepping into the lobby for. And Justin Vernon surprised everyone with jazzed-up, rocked-out versions of his typically super-chill tunes.

In case you didn’t know, Bon Iver has made appearances in a few Kanye West songs. I used to think that was weirdly awesome, but I’m gonna have to drop the “weirdly” part of the opinion because apparently they both have a penchant for using lighting effects at concerts that could probably induce epileptic seizures. Like I said, not the super-chill stuff you were expecting.

If you have not yet listened to any of Bon Iver’s music, you really should. You can listen to the song from his first album below and then sing along and imagine hundreds of other people are singing along with you. There, it’s almost like you were at the concert too, huh?

Then on Saturday, we bought fairly cheap last-minute tickets to see the Canadian electronic duo Purity Ring at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn. We bought them from some chill hipster dude who also lives in the UES and posted an ad on Craigslist. I know he was a hipster even though Sean went on that errand by himself because he wanted to meet at a bar that serves only crafts beers and, um, hello…he was selling Purity Ring tickets. If you’re going to Craigslist anything, I suggest hipster-ish transactions with hipsters only. You are less likely to get killed this way. (This is also how we obtained used Bose speakers for our turntable.)

This picture is a bit better than my Bon Iver one, since it was general admission and we got there early with the NYU undergrads so we could be near the front.

I have listened to Purity Ring’s debut album, Shrines, like a million times on Spotify in these past few weeks, so it was really awesome to see them live. There were two other electronic dudes who opened for them, and I don’t really know how any of the music I heard Saturday night was made, but I loved it nonetheless. Even though some Cool Asians (using Mean Girls classifications here) danced a little to crazily, and stomped on my foot and caused another girl to accidentally splash beer on my shoes, it was still worth a late night out in Brooklyn, which is a good 30+-minute subway ride away from us. What matters is that I saw two Canadians doing mesmerizing things with lights and computers and special microphones.

Below is a clip from one of Purity Ring’s other shows, and if someone can please explain to me how this all works, that would be awesome:

Other groups we’re seeing this fall: Father John Misty (also known as that one dude from Fleet Foxes), Grouplove, Japandroids, and The Gaslight Anthem, not necessarily in that order. And Frightened Rabbit, as I mentioned before. It’s like football season, only BETTER!!! Because it’s something I actually want to stand around for hours for. (See Texas Aggie traditions: 12th Man.) The best part about all these indie bands is that tickets cost a fraction of what Lady Gaga or One Direction or whoever kids listen to these days would charge you. That, and most of the other people in the audience care deeply about music. I like that.

Just because we’re kind of on the topic and I want to…here is the album cover art for Father John Misty’s Fear Fun, which we got on vinyl somewhat recently. I swear I could stare at it all day, and it will never make any more sense.

Sean and I would much, much rather spend our money on experiences than things, and concerts are our ultimate experience. We don’t have cable, we pack our own lunches for work everyday, and we shop the clothing sale racks and thrift stores. But we are surely going to some concerts. I figure that when I’m 80, I won’t look back and be all “Oh, I had, like, 15 pairs of designer skinny jeans and went to salad bars everyday for lunch and watched every episode of So You Think You Can Dance as it was originally broadcast when I lived in New York and life was awesome.”

No. Just…no.

I’ll say, “I saw all my favorite bands perform live in New York, and that kids, is awesome.”

P.S. If you think two concerts in one weekend is a little excessive (I was afraid it was), I overheard a girl standing behind us at the Purity Ring Show talking about how it was their FIFTH show that week but she had a friend who was going to his SEVENTH. That’s literally a concert every single day for a week. I would say THAT is excessive…but I kinda envy the guy. Where does he find the time? And money? And energy?


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