I'm so sorry for everything.

"They're like a gin and tonic when you should have been cut off hours ago!"
- 6'3" tall guy that decided to stand right in front of me right before the concert started.

I can't decide to give him credit for a clever remark about The National or to decide that he's some two-bit wannabe clever smug loser, like the guy that stood in front of Woody Allen in line for the movie in Annie Hall. Either way, Matt Beringer and the rest of his sextet showed up in Minneapolis last night, and I was reminded why, over the course of the last two years, their songs ring such a resonant chord in my life. Boxer is an anthem of urban existentialism, class anxiety, and the daunting reality and clarity that comes with staring in a mirror and contemplating the "uninnocent, elegant fall into the unmagnificent lives of adults." I saw them two years ago at the Fine Line, a much smaller bar on the edge of Hennepin, and then only last year at Sasquatch, where their final song was greeted with an immediate onslaught of rain, a shawshank-esque downpour to couple with their last songs "Mr. November" and "About Today." So while I hate to admit it, smug tall guy that stood in front of me for the first half of the concert, I think you're onto something; listening to the National is a past time I took up a lot last year while attempting to shift into a drunken sleep, after having been cut off many drinks ago.

Turn the light out, say good night
no thinking for a little while
let's try not to figure out everything at once,
it's hard to keep track of you, falling through the sky
we're half awake in a fake empire

This year has been fraught with good concerts. I'll try and summarize them with less than a paragraph:

Blind Pilot, Early January Sneaking into the Aladdin Theatre in a pair of stolen bowling shoes, I watched from the balcony as the two-bit band mesmerized the Portland crowd. The show served as a fantastic Portland send-off before my giant trip abroad.
Manu Chao in Sao Paulo, February sometime I greeted some of my study abroad friends at the nearest Metro Station, and we proceded to pay about 2 Reals a shot of nasty listerine-tasting liquor to some street vendor running a bar out of his van that was only too happy to keep raising his prices for a bunch of desperate, drunken Americans. Set in quite possibly the largest theatre I've ever visited, Manu Chao greeted every single Paulista Marijuana smoker with about twelve encores and what felt like four hours of music. Epic night.
Sun Kil Moon, Early May Again with the bowling shoes, back in Portland, I celebrate my birthday by buying myself a single ticket to go see the man, the legend, Mark Kozelek. His concert was one of the strangest I've ever seen; his slowcore chords and baritone voice seemed to envelop the entire audience. He played to a sparce crowd in the Wonder Ballroom, with every attendee standing and staring, relatively motionless, waiting for an old song from the "Red House Painters" days. He rewarded us with "Make Like Paper"; Success!! The room was literally silent between songs, not for lack of an audience, but because, well, who really feels like talking about anything while listening to one of the most depressing people in the world play a drop-d guitar and sing about death, loneliness, and addiction?
Third Eye Blind (hah!), Late May oh, nostalgia. I suppose this concert isn't any different than the Sun Kil Moon show, in that I showed up only to hear specific songs that remind me of specific, irreplaceable and unreplicatable moments of my life, but for most of the third eye blind songs, those moments were collections of moments of doing homework in my room as a middle schooler.
Blind Pilot, June It was great to see Israel, the lead singer, hanging around outside as we walked up to the 400 club. A much smaller venue, the band still brought it, and I wore an Oregon shirt in solidarity.
The National, July I won't fuck us over.
Grizzly Bear and The Weakerthans (forthcoming!), September
Oh wow, the Weakerthans. I've wanted to see them live for the longest time. John Samson has the ridiculous ability to write lyrics about the most obscure anecdotes of modern life (smoke alarms, bus drivers, cracks in the ceiling, "a store-bought way of saying I'm alright") and somehow turning them into telling stories that express emotions weren't aware you were capable of posessing. He's oh so witty.

To be honest, life is good right now. I'm getting paid to do research, pretty much at my own pace, on the Midtown Greenway. I'm about to run a bunch of juicy, exciting multivariate regression models to prove how weather, class, age, status, gender, and all sorts of things are affecting who is on the Greenway, and how they are using the public space. I'm hoping to basically write a "place paper" (IHPers, think of it as a mix between a neighborhood day and a case study) showing some sort of a dialectic relationship between the city at large and this narrow, five mile strip of former-railroad that now carries up to 10,000 bikers a day during the summer.

During Study Abroad, I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish this summer and this fall, and one of them was to keep this blog running, if only to give me a chance to air out my grievances and thoughts. Instead, I just incessantly check Google Reader and wait for a blog about urbanity, music, or whatever express a sentiment I had been thinking about, and then veg around on the couch some more. Perhaps I'll make another go at it.

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