Sunday, June 20, 2010

Slanted and Enchanted

Yesterday I went to see one of my most favourite bands from my indie-rock days, Pavement, on their reunion tour. Back in my university days, I worshipped these guys. I still own all the records, the imports, the EPs, right down to 7" singles. I hold with me memories of going to see them in small clubs in the 1990s, of following their side projects, of reviewing their releases in my crapola little 'zine that I would cut and paste and copy and snail mail out on request. Heh. I was a total indie rock dork, yes. And I probably still would be if I didn't have to put in so much effort into staying on top of new music. Things like life, and work, and paying the bills get in the way.

So, Pavement announced last year they were going to regroup and do this reunion tour. Which made me pretty damn ecstatic. A friend and I scooped up tickets and commenced the countdown, immediately. They were playing as part of a huge festival type thing, with a few bands that seemed promising and a lot of others who were pretty hipster-ey and next-big-thing or current-big-thing-that-I-have-no-idea-about. I was working anyways, so had to miss almost the whole day of music festivities. We arrived about five minutes prior to Pavement taking the stage, which was a-okay with me. Pavement was the important part.

Well, the sound was kind of crap, and the boys of Pavement were a little sloppy but Internet? I didn't care. I think I knew all the words to every single song they played. Even though I hadn't listened to them in years, everything came back. Every intro, every guitar solo, every chorus, every clever lyric they've ever written. And I wasn't the only one. I was surrounded by people who adored this band at the same time as I did, and with the same degree of passion.

What was strange though, was that this was fifteen years later. We were in our thirties. Every third woman seemed to be pregnant. There were kids running around, Pavement fans' children, who came along for the day. Everyone was sporting wedding rings. I ran into an old co-worker of mine who whipped out her IPhone and started showing me pictures of the baby girl she'd had six months ago. What was up with me, she asked, after blabbing on about her husband, her little girl, how fabulous maternity leave was. Well, I just graduated from college. I'm making $30,000/year less than I was the last time she saw me, and by choice. I'm working at an animal hospital and an obedience school. I'm not with my ex (who she knew also) anymore. Uhhh, yeah. She smiled and asked how Siris was doing. So I was happy, so things were good? she asked. Things are so good, I said, and smiled. After that it was a little awkward - I think she wanted to understand, but I don't think she did. It was clear that I had no babies to bond with her over. I had no flashy web-enabled mobile phone to whip out to show her. I was glad to run into her, and I ooohed and ahhed over her adorable little girl, and I meant all the nice stuff I said. But I couldn't help but feel a bit removed, and I have had this exchange many times over the last few years, running into people I've known over the last ten years of my life. It is always clear: I am on a different path than you. I don't fit in anymore. I am single and in my thirties and I am doing my own thing.

Pavement themselves, on stage, so many metres away and obscured by flashy lights and smoke machines, looked the same to me. I was way too far away to spot any grey hairs, any beer bellies. I like to think they hadn't aged. But we all had. And I felt a bit...old. Because also present at the show, were today's generation of music dorks - probably there to see the it bands of the day, but taking in and appreciating my beloved Pavement for the genius they were in their heyday. Skinny jeans abound. I'm not sure where I fit anymore, Internet, but I bet there are tons of us out there, feeling this. Let's meet up at a Superchunk show, when it happens.

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