Sunday, October 09, 2005

Whatever and ever amen.

Tonight, Lupo, Kenn the Artisan and I caught the Ben Folds concert at the SCAD auditorium, and, although some halter-topped young girl in the seats behind us named Cecily who howled like a hyper chihuahua seemed irked by actually having to pay attention to the stage, we all thought the show was rousing and fantastic. I've been a Ben Folds fan since Whatever and Ever Amen, and I think I met Lupo at a point when he was already Folds-faithful. So I'd like to think that we, who sat throughout the concert and paid attention to details like the lyrics, were the target audience and that girls like Cecily can't relate.

I do that. I get distracted by minor elements from my own good time.

I don't remember the exact playlist. I remember that some band called The Fray opened, and they actually had to ask people to stand up and come toward the stage in order to cultivate a better response to their set. When you ask for your standing ovation, you don't earn it, in my book. (But, please, still pay attention to all the e-mails directing you to my blog, people.) Anyway, The Fray was all right, I suppose. In five years, when they're no longer labeled as derivative of Coldplay and have their own sound, I can say I saw them in concert once upon a time, and I'll take pride in that. The lead singer, in a goofy way, was charming, but he was too pudgy to go shirtless in front of the crowd of art students. Boy's gonna need to work out or embrace his geek chic niche. I'm probably being too mean, though. Give them a listen. They're trying.

(Just so you know, the best opening acts I've ever mocked were Soul Coughing and Local H. And, later, I became a fan o' the Soul Coughing, so there you go. I'm drunk, by the way. Or at least tipsy. So I don't know what's going on. I just got my ass handed to me by Lupo during a Trivial Pursuit Pop Culture Edition showdown, so I'm not exactly coherent. I expect an e-mail from Miss Gibson about this post, though. I want her to call me brilliant.)

So are you one of those people who has to fill every possible silence with some story or joke? ... Oh, it's just me then. Oh, OK ... It's completely silly, but, when it gets quiet on my visits anywhere, I feel like silence means that I'm failing my audition at making new friends and/or being charming. No matter how much this isn't the case, I feel like I have to insert some comment into every available silence, if the silence lasts too long, and I need to either work on my compulsion to tell bad jokes or let the paranoia go. Tonight, at the concert, I think I saw the right choice to make. I'm letting the paranoia go. Or, um, I'm going to try to let it go. I'm not going to accomplish this all in one magnificent night, after all.

Anyway, the concert proves Ben Folds' new band does a mean cover of Dr. Dre's classic "Bitches Ain't Shit." It also proves that Folds, given the opportunity, would be a kickass choir director. (In one of the encores, he required a singalong with the audience. During one of the takes, my voice broke like Peter Brady on that very special episode of BRADY BUNCH. Lupo snickered, which was fitting, for the note I hit was truly horrible.)

Piano rock rules. Folds is amazing. The songs are fun, with lyrics more clever than cutesy. This trip is giving me an opportunity to practice being quiet and cool about things and secure with new friends, although my usual Trivial Pursuit mad skills are apparently waning.

Does having to take an Advil during a concert mean that I'm merely sick or that I'm getting old?

I ran into Russ Bynum at the concert, and he's a reporter and editor for the AP now. I went to college with him, and I had my first beer ever while a guest in his home. Walking up to Russ and saying hi, I reintroduced myself, which I immediately realized was stupid and unnecessary. Ego or not, I'm a fool if I don't think I'm capable of making an impression on people.

"I know who you are," Bynum, cigarette in hand and a smile on his face, said to me. "How the hell are you? What are you doing here?"

"I'm visiting friends in town," I said to him. "I just saw you and thought I would come over.

"Of course," Bynum said. "Thank you for saying hello, Benjie."

The last time I saw Bynum was at a party welcoming Miss Gibson back to the States. Bynum rules. They used to call his student house in Athens the Voodoo Lounge, and he hosted the greatest parties there.

Anyway, this is random.

Ben Folds played "One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces," and I thought of Doug Gillett while it was playing. He used to love that song. During "Brick," I hugged Lupo, though it's not like either of us have been party to an abortion. I was just happy to be there.

I'm just happy to be here. I'm just happy to be here.

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