Wednesday, August 19, 2009

In the music, we rise above

My friends Bob and Sara and I arrived at the famous Schuba's, a tiny and awesome music venue in Chicago, at around 7:00 PM for the Trashcan Sinatras show last week. We were early, so I moved right up to the edge of the stage, very excited that in an hour or two, one of my favorite bands of all time would be a few feet away from me. My joy was apparently radiating, as Bob and Sara both made several comments about my huge smile. We talked with a few other fans, some as passionate as I am, as we waited for the opening act.

So opener Brookville took the stage at 8:30, and they were really quite good. The lead singer used to be with Ivy, and he also produced some Tahiti 80 records, so that was a good sign. They were melodic and talented, and I will definitely be buying their upcoming album.

But enough about them.

The small but sold-out crowd erupted as Trashcan Sinatras took the stage. As the group of middle-aged men they are, they had a lot of energy, and guitarist John simply said, "We're going to play some new songs for you tonight, if that's okay. We'll also play some songs you know." The crowd cheered and the band began, playing beautiful melodies and singing lovely harmonies.

The new album, In the Music, has not been released officially yet, and I had not gotten my special limited edition copy yet (I have since gotten it), but I loved the new songs they played, especially "In the Music," "Oranges and Apples," and "I Hung my Harp Upon the Willows." This last song was introduced as a song about two people who have been friends forever, and it was gorgeous. Lead singer Frank's vocals were spot on throughout the show, and John's backing vocals added depth and beauty.

But the"classic" TCS songs really made me happy. Their second song was the upbeat and brilliant "Hayfever," and I know my smile exploded as the opening notes started. A few songs later Frank began the slow intro to "How Can I Apply?" and the band was perfect. The oldies continued from their album I've Seen Everything with one of my favorite songs, "Orange Fell," a ballad filled with great imagery and even better sounds.

"Got Carried Away" and "Weightlifting," two highlights from their 2004 album Weightlifting, also filled me up, all while I stood there feet from these geniuses and sang along to these amazing examples of songwriting.

Two more favorite songs also made the list: "I've Seen Everything" and "All the Dark Horses," and I just felt the night getting better and better.

The band left the very hot stage for a rest as the audience went wild, demanding an encore (which we knew we'd get). And a few minutes later, TCS were back. Frank walked up to the mic and said that John was going to sing a song, and then John asked, "Is it all right if I sing for a bit?" and then started into the extraordinary song "Earlies." To tell the truth, I did not know that John sang lead on this song; all I knew is that it was a bittersweet and touching song about blue collar workers. John's voice was awesome, and Frank took over the harmonizing duties.

Then came the final song, the strumming and crescendoing "Send for Henny," which built to fantastic guitar-filled glory.

After the show, Stevie the keyboardist gave my cute friend Sara the short-hand setlist, but of course she gave it to me:

Or, if you cannot decipher that, here's a more readable list:
1. i wish you’d met her
2. hayfever
3. astronomy
4. in the music
5. how can i apply…?
6. easy on the eye
7. orange fell
8. got carried away
9. prisons
10. weightlifting
11. i hung my harp upon the willows
12. morning star
13. easy read
14. i’ve seen everything
15. oranges and apples
16. all the dark horses
17. earlies
18. send for henny
After the show, I stood outside and met most of the band members. They recognized me as the guy who knew all the lyrics, and I chatted with them about being such a huge fan. They were down-to-earth and genuinely appreciative. Though I knew it already, my meeting them reinforced that this is a group of friends who simply love making music.

And I love the music they make.


At 9:36 AM, Blogger Kath posited...

wow. I wish I'd been I wish I hadn't packed all my CDs & sealed up the boxes...

At 4:04 PM, Anonymous Your Mom posited...

This post made me smile!


Post a Comment

<< Home