Last Thursday after work, shep. and I toddled off to the Carrboro Town Hall to vote early. Unfortunately for us, there was no early voting at Carrboro Town Hall this time around. So we got in the car and drove into the CH and voted early at Morehead Planetarium instead. As we were walking from the car to the Planetarium, shep. said to me, “You know, that Saturday two years ago, that was one of my favorite moments of living here.”
November 1, 2008, shep. meant, which was a Mac McCaughan/Merge Records curated Obama/NC Democratic Party rally full of local musicians and inexplicable Billy Bragg, held on the terrace outside the Graham Union at UNC, the last day of early voting (at Morehead Planetarium) in an election that everyone knows now and knew then was important. Mac played as Portastatic first, wicked early, wrapped up in a hoodie and sunglasses and a black beanie, coffee on the ground in front of him, quiet and thoughtful. Later in the day some of Superchunk played an acoustic-ish set; Laura doesn’t do acoustic and Jon was on the road with the Mountain Goats then. shep. and I were basically still drunk from Halloween the night before, and I was very invested with being not-hungover by the time the Cocktail Party started that afternoon. (I ended up napping through most of it, I think.)
shep. went to use the bathroom at the Morehead once in the middle of the music and saw, just before early voting closed, a fleet of 19 and 20 year old UNC baseball players speeding in to vote. A long-standing in-joke about Libertarian politics started that morning.
It was the first time we saw Megafaun, any of us. shep. and t. and I spent the day leaning up against one of the walls of the Union, partially shaded and partially in the sun, with HH and Alex. Alex and shep. talked about the NBA. Perry Wright had told t. that Megafaun was about to be her favorite band, back in April or May at a Weakerthans show. That day, acoustic voices against a stunningly blue sky, they were. We went to Raleigh that night, a double-header, to see them play at Slim’s with Bowerbirds. I was still shooting film then, a few weeks from finally having Six.
It was a great day. It was absolutely a favorite moment.
That entire election season is tied up in music for me, really. The first Obama rally back in May, where thousands of people turned out to see Superchunk open for the Arcade Fire, a free show walking distance from my apartment; a double-header that day, too, Langhorne Slim and the New Familiars and American Aquarium and a bar tab that remains unrivaled at the 506 that night. The early voting rally, hungover and hopeful and happy.
The Rock & Roll Means Well tour show the night before the election, the Hold Steady raising it up and the Drive-By Truckers bringing it down, crying when Patterson closed the main set with “Angels & Fuselage”, crying when he came out for the encore in an Obama shirt, kissing a stranger. Sitting on the couch election night, listening to “Mr. November” on repeat and crying on the phone with the Maternal Unit when Jon Stewart called the election for Obama. The Mountain Goats show the night after the election, John so happy to be home, a sold-out Cradle crowd that felt like it was going to shake apart with joy.
The version of “This Year” from that show is probably one of the top 5 live music moments of my life.
We voted without much fanfare on Thursday. No baseball players, no rock stars, no banjos. The Indy’s voting guide, two copies, that shep. tore out, with ragged edges. (I washed mine over the weekend, whoops.) Blue skies. I stay in North Carolina for a lot of reasons, but one of them is that my vote counts here. As a registered Democrat, my vote counts. My vote helped turn North Carolina blue in 2008. After today, North Carolina might have two female Democratic senators, which is something.
Mac McCaughan is still awesome; so is Megafaun. The sky is still blue this morning. But change does happen. Go vote.