Buddy Holly, Barenaked at the Shoreline

17 August 2001

Last night, Timprov and I had an early supper (or, in his case, an extremely late breakfast) and drove over to the Shoreline Amphitheatre for the Barenaked Ladies concert. The Bay was choppy and sparkly, and the hills beyond were minimalist in the haze, just the outline of the black hilltops and trees.

The short version: it was a good concert.

I'm not sure there would have been really truly terrible seats. They were fairly spacious and fairly comfortable, for amphitheatre (that is, all-weather) seats. But ours were in the middle, far enough back that we didn't have to worry about people mobbing the stage right in front of us.

For those of you who don't know, BNL is a Canadian geek rock band. Which meant that the crowd was filled with geeks and Dougs. It was fabulous.

Dougs are those guys who ooze Canadianness from their pores. (Well, properly speaking, Dougs Don't Ooze, but you know what I mean.) I don't know if this is just a skill you pick up in Minnesota or if everyone does this, but Timprov and I could spot a Doug a mile away. One of them was wearing a little Canadian flag tucked into his shirt. We burst out laughing: "Do you really think that's necessary?" You could play Doug Doug Grey Doug in this crowd. That's how many Dougs.

(Note to Canadian readers: do not feel bad. The denizens of my adopted home state, the greatly touted and much beloved Minnesota, tend to be Erics, at least as easy to spot in a crowd as Dougs, and almost more fun to make fun of. Also, as long as you're reading this, you might as well tell me: do you play Duck Duck Goose or Duck Duck Grey Duck? This was one of the great Gustavus controversies, but we had very little Canadian data.)

And the geeks. Oh my. So many geeks. One of the geeks had the same issue as the Doug with the flag: he was wearing a polo shirt reading, "Berkeley engineering." Yeah, we already knew, thanks. It was relaxing to be in such a large crowd where we could look around and predict what people read (usually some branch of spec fic), rather than predicting who read at all.

The first opening band, Sarah [Mumble] and her band, featured Buddy Holly on the bass. They claimed his name was Kevin Fox or something like that. It is so obviously a fake name. The guy looked like Buddy Holly. He sang like Buddy Holly (although without the a-hey-hey's, sadly). He even had the leg thing. There was no doubt in our minds.

I love opening bands. I really, really do. The two concerts I attended with Slacker in college, we made fun of the opening bands constantly. There was the band with the naked drummer. There was the flutist whose antics are best left undescribed in a "family" journal (and who was fairly blissfully unaware of said antics). There were all kinds of ways and reasons to laugh hysterically at the opening bands. Our amazing cleverness can't be properly recounted. But trust me. It was there.

Sarah [Mumble] sounded pretty good, though, maybe like Sheryl Crow ought to sound but doesn't. We made Buddy Holly jokes, but that doesn't make them a bad band.

Then there was another opening band. (It was at about this time when I got insight on another edit for Reprogramming. There's a reason my journal goes everywhere.) It was the Proclaimers. You know them, they're the moyl guys. "And AH would walk five hundred moyls and AH would walk five hundred more...." Brogue rock. Much harder to make fun of: much harder to understand. And much more Scottish Boy Band than one would have anticipated, maybe.

The Barenaked Ladies were fabulous. Really, really good. What do I like about these guys? Well, they're geeks, and that'll do it for me pretty much every time. Any band that puts Kurasawa and mesons in the same song is all right by me. And they've got the lost art of rock improv down. They make up entire songs as well as messing around with the innards of the songs they've got. Although. Timprov said that given the content of a couple of the made-up songs, he was glad that he was there with me and not with Michelle (who accompanied him to his last BNL concert), and I had to agree that it was suboptimal Michelle material.

Also, they have no compunction about lying to the crowd. ("This next song is an old Men At Work song." Huh?) Also they make fun of each other. This is the band who's on record as saying, "We are our own best sight gag." Also they had a big giant carnival head as their backdrop.

Also they sing the Brian Wilson song and many other songs which rock. But mostly it's just -- well. Picture the two (or three, or, most appropriately, five or six) sweetest geekboys from your high school. Now picture them all grown up with people flinging underwear at them and paying them lots and lots o' cash to be their geekboy selves. Doesn't that make you happy?

Well, it makes me happy, anyway. And if you feel like flinging underwear and cash at sweet geekboys from my high school, I have addresses.

Heh. Wouldn't that freak them out.

Just before I posted this, I got validation! One person, a friend of Susan Marie, has heard of the Moomintroll books, though he has not read them. This is not, granted, the strongest validation ever. But it will do for today.

Tim said "Bah" about his 21-day form rejection from Fantastic yesterday. Bah. I got 122-day form rejection from Fantastic yesterday. BAH. Sent the story right back out, though, as usual. I hate having stories sitting around not sent out. Then I have to think about them. I already wrote them and edited them. I don't want to have to think about them after that, because I almost never think anything constructive.

Good work done on the Not the Moose Book yesterday. I keep coming up with characters I didn't know were going to exist, only to find that they'll be dead before the end of the first section. This upsets me rather less than it could. The research reading for it is also going well, I suppose; The Nokia Revolution is going slowly, but it has its moments. Like the way the president of the company solved a labor dispute: with a naked footrace with the union president, around his mansion in the winter in Helsinki.

I could make this stuff up. But only barely.

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