I went to college in Minnesota; before that, I listened to the radio, to a few things I found on my own, to the Rolling Stones and the Band. And then I moved to Minnesota, and I met people who knew a ton about music, and my world opened up. Seeing Grant Hart last night was like being 18 in Minneapolis again, all Hüsker Dü and the Replacements (can I listen to “Alex Chilton” without crying yet? Stay tuned!) and Lifter Puller and Sugar and Mason Jennings and Manplanet. (And Built to Spill and early Wilco and late Uncle Tupelo and the list goes on, but. Sugar and Hüsker Dü, and Grätüïtöüs Ümläüt covering hair metal classics.) So standing in Motorco last night, I was sentimental for the person who once put “If I Can’t Change Your Mind” on a mix CD for me, for late nights playing euchre on front porches, for the only six tapes that lived in the scene shop of the theater. It was mostly the music that made it a great night, but it was also my memory.
I’ve been sentimental in general about my undergrad years since Lani’s wedding; seeing the Carls, remembering that there were times there that I was happy. Remembering the things that made me happy. Last night just fed that. I was happy, at times, back then. In 2011, right now, I’m happy pretty much all the time. So. It was good.
And it was just a really solidly excellent show; one of those where I can’t quite put my finger on why it was so good, except that Hart is still and always a phenomenal songwriter, and still compelling as hell on stage. (He is also tiny and adorable. (He would probably hate that I think he is adorable.)) The Venables, who were second on the bill and who were a super tight band musically but not quite my cup of tea by themselves, backed Hart for about half the set and they sounded fantastic together.
The whole night was wonderful; a great set, a club full of people I love, and some free beer. I wish I could find the words to explain how much it meant to me — because it did — and I am rarely without something to say, but today, about that set last night, I am. It was just exactly what I needed.
The Static Minds, who were the first open, remain one of my very favorite local live bands, and not just because I’m terrifically fond of Erik and he’s always amazingly fun to shoot, but because, man, they play rock and roll like they mean it. Balls out, loud as hell, and if you don’t dance, well, you’re probably a hipster from Chapel Hill. But that’s okay. I’ll dance for you. They opened, and the crowd was not as into them as I always want their crowds to be, but that’s okay, too, because I dug it. I dig them, in fact, hardcore.