Bonnie Raitt with Lucinda Williams at Pier Six Pavilion

Saturday night we saw Bonnie Raitt with Lucinda Williams at Pier Six Pavilion. The show still indicated that we needed to have vaccine verification. They also said that when we were there a few weeks ago to see the War on Drugs, but no one asked to see our card so I kind of figured that it was just outdated information from before everywhere dropped all their restrictions. Luckily we brought them just in case because they did in fact check this time, though it was completely pointless because they didn’t check IDs along with them, so you literally could have shown them anybody’s vaccine card. As COVID cautious as I am, even I think having a vaccine requirement at an outdoor venue is silly at this point.

We grabbed the same exact spot at the front of the lawn that we had for The War on Drugs concert, which is a great spot. Great sight lines to the stage, no one in front of you, and cause of the positioning of a pillar no one wants to sit right next to you either because then they wouldn’t be able to see. Some guy did sit down next to me on the opposite on the small retaining wall that holds the lawn in and talked to me the whole time. He wasn’t a bad guy to talk to, but also I really didn’t need him chatting me up the entire concert.

Lucinda Williams was opening. I was a little bummed because half of this tour Bonnie Raitt had Mavis Staples opening for her and the other half was Lucinda Williams. I wish we had gotten Mavis, but oh well. I did not realize that Lucinda Williams had a stroke back in November of 2020. She can sing fine, but she still has a lot of problems with movement. She had to have someone walk her on and off the stage and needless to say she can’t play guitar anymore. I appreciate that she’s still out there trying to do her thing as best she can. Her band was great definitely filled in for her that respect. I don’t really know Lucinda Williams music very well. I mostly just know the song “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road”. I just don’t think I like her voice that much even though her music is generally in my wheelhouse, and obviously she’s not much of a stage presence these days. So not a terrible set, but definitely not my favorite opening act ever.

Bonnie Raitt was great. She started off with a couple of songs off of her new album, which I happen to like. She’s still out there making good music. I was surprised she only played two songs from it, but I’m sure it pleased the crowd who were probably all there for the old stuff given that we were pretty much the youngest people I saw there save for one or two other groups of people. She played a good mix of songs from across her career. She of course played “Angel from Montgomery” and dedicated it to John Prine. She said she wasn’t sure she was going to be able to sing it on this tour, but instead it was cathartic. Speaking of people no longer in their performance prime, she definitely had to adjust “I Can’t Make You Love Me”. She can’t hit those high notes anymore, so she started much lower and at some points when the original song goes up she went down instead. It’s inevitable with older performers. Just a reminder that we’re all getting old and no longer in our hey days, but it’s not to say that the performance was bad at all. It was a really good set though that flew right by. I was shocked when she was done and I realized that she had in fact been playing for 90 minutes. It went by in the blink of an eye. I definitely wish she could have played longer, but noise ordinances yada, yada. I was happy to see her again, and we had another perfect night for an outdoor concert. I hope that trend continues.

New Music Friday: What I Want and Handle Me by MUNA

When I was looking up what new albums came out today I was actually surprised to see this self-titled MUNA album on the list because I quite honestly thought it already came out. “Silk Chiffon”, the lead single has been out in the world since last September and I suppose I might have been thinking the album came out back in March when the single “Anything But Me” came out. Anyway, this album is in fact out today on Saddest Factory Records, Phoebe Bridgers label. I really like the whole album. It ranges from dance club tracks like “What I Want” to the much more subdued tracks like “Handle Me”. I’m sharing both of those songs here today to give you a sense of the scope of the music on the album.

Last Week Delight

  • Perfect birthday weekend. This past Saturday was my birthday and I had a lot of plans for the weekend. I went to see Jason Isbell, Sheryl Crow, and Waxahatchee at Wolf Trap on Friday. I went to the Orioles game with a bunch of friends on Saturday. Then on Sunday I went to Merriweather Post Pavilion to see Tears for Fears and Garbage in concert. It was a weekend full of normal seeming things. Like this would have been the exact weekend I would have planned even without a pandemic. Aside from throwing on a mask to go to the bathroom at the venues, it felt completely normal to me. I know everyone else is living like the pandemic is over, but I’m not because it isn’t. It felt good to have a weekend that didn’t feel like it was planned around the pandemic for a change. Also, I could not have asked for more perfect weather. I was expecting it to be in the 90s with 100% humidity like it usually is by this time of year in Baltimore, but it was instead in the high 70s/low 80s with low humidity. A delightful weekend all around.
  • Birthday jumbotron. As I just mentioned I went to the Os game on Saturday for my birthday. You can submit someone’s name to be on the jumbotron for their birthday during the game. I would never submit it for myself, but one of my friends surprised me and submitted my name. And I luckily didn’t miss it because I literally had just returned from the bathroom right when they put it up.
  • Bramble London Fog cake. I love a local Baltimore bakery called Bramble Bakery. They used to sell at the farmer’s market we go to every Saturday, but then they opened a store front last year and quit selling at the market. Their store front is a 20-25 minute drive from my house, so I have never been because there are places in my neighborhood I can walk to, and I’m lazy. They posted on their social media last Tuesday that they were selling some mini London Fog cakes at the Hamilton/Lauraville farmer’s market, which is just down the road from their storefront. It was chocolate cake with salted caramel between the layers and an earl grey tea buttercream. I adore earl grey and this cake sounded amazing. Since I was off work I drove over and got one. It was as amazing as I imagined and totally worth the drive. I still haven’t been to their storefront though.
  • Speaking of cake, my husband with a little prodding from one of my friends got me a red velvet cake from Enchanted Cakes and Cupcakes. It’s actually on the same road as Bramble, but farther north and even longer to get to from my house. I had a slice of this cake there the Christmas before last because I went there to buy some hot chocolate bombs for my niece and nephew because they have a wide variety of flavors. I bought a slice of cake while I was there and have been thinking about it since. Despite me telling my husband that I always want cake on my birthday but don’t want to be the one to bake it or secure it, he never remembers. I was going to buy my own cake, but couldn’t pull the trigger on the cost and mentioned it to a friend, who told my husband to get it for me. Also, the cake says it serves 6-8 people on their websites, so I was expecting it to be smaller than it is. We’ve been eating it for Saturday and I took it to book club last night. At least 12 slices have been eaten and there’s over a quarter of the cake left still. I don’t know what size slices they expect people to eat. I guess we got our money’s worth.
  • Guy walking with his cat. I was out for a walk the other day and I saw a guy talking a walk and his cat was just trotting along beside him no leash or anything. I have no idea how he got the cat to do that. My cat would never.

And now for your musical delights for the week. Buckle in. There are quite a few.

  • When one of my friends got married she complained that her Tennessee relatives got the DJ to play the song “Rocky Top” because she hates it and didn’t think to put it on their do not play list. I happen to love that song. When she told me she couldn’t come to my birthday baseball game because she was going to Tennessee for her cousin’s wedding, I told her I would only accept it if she sent me a video of her dancing to “Rocky Top”, which was inevitably going to be played. Because she’s an awesome friend she did indeed take a video of herself dancing to the song and apparently had to run up a hill to get to the dance floor when she heard it starting. I would share it, but she would probably murder me so you’ll just have to imagine. What a good birthday present.
  • The thirteen year old that is going to be chasing the high she experienced at the Tears for Fears concert for the rest of her life. Read my post on the Tears for Fears concert for the full story.
  • I have written on this blog before about Nandi Bushell and Dave Grohl. It made me really happy that she is going to play at part of the tribute concert the Foo Fighters are doing for Taylor Hawkins.
  • I went to the dentists on Friday morning and the dental hygienist and I were chatting about my plans to go to a concert at Wolf Trap that night. She said she only ever went down there to see The Indigo Girls because that’s as close as they usually get. And I was like oh you know they’re opening for Brandi Carlile at Merriweather Post Pavilion in August, right? She did not and got all excited. She was like how did I not know this? I have to go buy tickets. I’m always happy to share my concert knowledge. Hopefully she got her tickets and will enjoy the show. I myself am looking forward to it.
  • Chvrches livestream from Bonnaroo. I had tickets to see Chvrches at both the Anthem and the 9:30 Club in the past 6 months both of which I just wound up eating because I’m still not ready to go back to indoor concerts and since they were artists pre-sale tickets I couldn’t resell them. I was at least happy that I could watch their set from Bonnaroo on Hulu on Saturday night (or most of it anyway since Hulu’s schedule was all screwed up with the start time listed earlier than the set actually started and then they still ended it at their listed time, so we missed the last few songs). I have zero interest in ever going to something like Bonnaroo or Coachella so I’m happy that a lot of these things are live streamed now and I can just enjoy them from the comfort of my own home instead of sweating to death in a field with a bunch of drunk and high people that I then have to camp next to as well. No thanks.
  • When I was a little kid my parents had some compilation cassette of the sort that they used to sell at gas stations and places like Big Lots. We had several of them in my house. There was one in particular that my sister and I used to listen to a lot. One of the songs on it was “Hitchin’ a Ride” by Vanity Fare. We had these tv trays that had as base that popped off from the top and you could fold the base open and form a sort of metal rectangle with it, which we would stand inside and pretend it was our car while we “drove” it around the basement listening to this song. I heard it on the radio this past week, and it made me think of that childhood memory.

Tears for Fears with Garbage at Merriweather Post Pavilion

Last night I went to see Garbage and Tears for Fears at Merriweather Post Pavilion. It was a real 90s throwback in a lot of ways except of course the fact that had it been the actual 90s I highly doubt these two bands would have been on the same bill together. Now they both tap into old people nostalgia all lumped together. I say it’s a 90s throwback concert because it was like the olden days when I first started going to concerts where you would have a single opening act that played for an hour and then the headliner would play for about 2 hours. Now bills are jammed full of multiple acts and even if there are only 2, they start later and it’s rare for the headliner to play for longer than 90 minutes.

It was Father’s Day and I think there were a good number of people in the crowd who were there as a father’s day present as there seemed to be lots of families with kids of all ages from babies to adults. Most of the audience as is to be expected were people approximately my age or older unless they were clearly there with people of that age group. There was one group of three twentysomethings that showed up for Tears for Fears and sat near us and I was like how did you get here?

There was a family inside the pit right up against the rail with two little girls one 13 and one 8. You may wonder how I know this, but it’s because the 13 year old was crazy excited and singing along to every song. The camera people kept panning to her during both sets, and at one point Curt from Tears for Fears talked to her and said I have to know how old you are and said that she’s been down here singing the words to every song, even the ones off the new album and said it was making his night. Then he asked how old her little sister was and apparently their father must have also said his age because he was like I don’t care that you’re 54 sir. But obviously you are raising your children right. Right before the end of the concert he asked her name and again told her that she made his night. What an exciting concert experience for that kid. I love that she’s going to have that story to tell for the rest of her life.

I was less enthused about the tween aged child in front of me who stood and clapped off beat over her head for almost the entire Tears for Fears set. At one point her parents pulled her down and were talking to her and then when she got back up she was just doing more rhythmic arm movements, so I thought maybe they had asked her to stop clapping. I was fine with the arm movements. It was really the off-beat clapping that was annoying me especially during slow songs that did not need anyone clapping along to them. Alas, that did not last long and she went back to the clapping. As a fellow rhythmically challenged human I’m not trying to denigrate that as much as say if you can’t clap on the beat then don’t spend two hours at a concert doing it non-stop. Someone needs to teach that kid how to channel her enthusiasm for the music into some dancing in place. Other than that it was a great night though.

Garbage was the opening band. Shirley Manson was so excited. She was like this is the best night. Things don’t get any better than this if you’re me. The weather is perfect and not the 100 degree heat we’ve been playing in. She said she couldn’t believe how many people came out to see them open. I would say the majority of the crowd was there for their set. I only saw a few people wander through our space in the lawn that were clearly looking for a place to sit right before Tears for Fears played. She said they haven’t played a crowd that big (~19,000 people) in this area since the HFStival back in 1995. HFStival being a big music festival in these parts back in the day that was attached to the radio station WHFS that has been defunct for almost 2 decades now. I’ve seen Garbage play a couple of times around these parts and they were playing in clubs that hold about 1,200 people so this was obviously a huge jump in crowd size as she said.

They were great. Shirley Manson is still the coolest in my opinion. She’s like the person I always secretly wanted and still secretly want to be even though I’m like 100% opposite of her. They of course played all their hit songs along with some other stuff. I had completely forgotten that they had a Bond song until she said they never play it, but that they were going to do it and we should enjoy it because they’re not going to do it again for a long time. They are still such a fun band to see live.

This was my first time seeing Tears for Fears live. I was too young to have seen them back in their hay day. They broke up just about the time that I was going to my first concerts. They have been back together off and on since 2004 and I guess have done some touring in that time, but never around these parts. Last night they said that the last time they played a concert in Maryland was 1990. So it’s not really like I’ve had much opportunity to see them. It would be easy to write them off as a legacy act, but they’re actually still writing new music. This tour is supporting their new album The Tipping Point, which came out earlier this year. It’s actually really good. They played a bunch of stuff off of it along with all of the hits that people came to hear, so I think everyone left happy. I was happy to get both because I do really like the new music as well as their old stuff. Though honestly I could have left happy after the third song when they played “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”. It’s by far my favorite Tears for Fears songs and quite honestly one of my favorite songs ever. I fell in love with it as a little kid when it came out and have never stopped loving it. I’m very happy I finally got to hear it live. All in all a great show.

Jason Isbell and Sheryl Crow at Wolf Trap

On Friday night we went to Wolf Trap to see my first concert there of the season and thankfully not the last. It was super hot during the day, but once the sun went down it was a very pleasant evening to sit outside and enjoy some live music. I always enjoy sitting on the lawn and enjoying a picnic there. Though it was a sold out show and we wound up setting our chairs up on the concrete just behind the lawn because the lawn was jam packed full. A family even set up behind where we were. I do have to question why the mom in that family thought tater tots are a good picnic food. Seems to me they would just be cold and soggy. She was listing off all the things she brought to the kids, and I was like tater tots?

Waxahatchee was opening. Her set was really short since Jason Isbell and Sheryl Crow were co-headlining. She only had 30 minutes to play. It was an enjoyable little set though. I don’t have much to say about it.

This was a quick tour these three acts did together. I think it was something like only 6 dates. As is often the custom when artists co-headline they seemed to be trading off who went first and who went second. We had Sheryl Crow up first with Jason Isbell doing the final set. I have never been a huge Sheryl Crow fan. There are a handful of songs that I do actually really like, but most of them are just there apparently invading my brain against my will. I have never owned a Sheryl Crow album nor do I ever really seek out her music. Though I do have one of her songs, “I Shall Believe”, on my Amazing Songs Spotify Playlist. Sadly she did not play that song, though I didn’t really expect her to. My point with all this is to say that despite never really seeking her out on my own I knew pretty much every word to every song during that entire hour and fifteen minute set. I vaguely recognized a song from the Cars soundtrack that she apparently sings. I did not at all know some new song she made for the Showtime documentary about her that recently aired. But other than that I pretty much knew everything much to my surprise. I guess she had way more hit songs that were impossible to escape than I realized. She is a good performer, and I did enjoy her set. I’m still not going to go seek out her music though.

I’m always happy to be at a Jason Isbell concert. I love his music so much. It wasn’t one of the better sets of his that I’ve seen though. It felt very short. With them co-headlining and Wolf Trap having a hard out, they only had an hour and fifteen minutes each as I mentioned, which seemed very short and then he didn’t even really use it to its fullest. Sheryl just played straight through her full time. He did take the time at the end to do the whole dumb encore thing which ate up time and then they didn’t play all the way to 11. I feel like had they skipped the encore and played their full time they could have fit 2 more songs in there.

I was pleased that his wife, Amanda Shires, was there playing in the band. Literally the first thing I do every time I see him live is look to see if she’s there. She plays fiddle on all his albums, but as she has her own musical career she only sometimes tours with him. So they have all the songs re-orchestrated to play without the fiddle, but I much prefer it when she’s there. Apparently it was a special treat that she was there that night as she wasn’t supposed to be. He said she showed up and surprised him the night before in a rented Chrysler that he thought was the Uber Eats driver when she was first pulling up. I was also happy that he played “Goddamn Lonely Love”. It’s a song from back in his Drive-By-Truckers days, and although he usually throws one or two Truckers songs into his sets, he never plays this one live. During one of their Iso-lounging concerts that they did online at the beginning of the pandemic, Amanda told him that it was her favorite song that he’s ever written and he commented that he never plays it because it’s too depressing. I didn’t go too far back, but I did look up the most recent week of his setlists to see if it was something they had in regular rotation right now and doesn’t seem like it, so whether or not it’s true I’m going to believe that he added it to the set for her since she showed up to surprise him.

Overall a very enjoyable night of live music. I’m happy to be able to get to go to some concerts again that it’s still outdoor concert season. I don’t know when I’ll ever feel ready to go back to crowded indoor concerts. It’s super depressing to think about since obviously you know how much I love live music, and I’ve already sat out so much shows in the past year. I’m just going to try and enjoy the ones I can enjoy now in a much less risky environment.

New Music Friday: Mulholland Dr. by Bartees Strange

Until this morning I did not think I liked Bartees Strange. I did not care at all for the single that I heard off his previous album, so I never listened to anymore of his music. The first single, “Heavy Heart”, off his new album, Farm to Table, that came out today was something I liked better but still wasn’t anything that made me think wow I was completely wrong about how I feel about this artist’s music and I should really check out his other stuff. Well, now I am here to tell you that I was wrong about Bartees Strange because I really adore this new album. I still haven’t had a chance now to go actually listen to his full album to see if I like it as well, but I will. So thank you to NPR Music for playing a clip from “Mulholland Dr.” on your New Music Friday podcast this morning and alerting me to the fact that I might be missing out on something.

Bartees Strange is an interesting guy. He grew up in Oklahoma. He played football, but his mom was an opera singer so he also went to opera camp. He worked for the Obama administration as a spokesman for the FCC. He eventually quit that job and moved to New York to have a job that would give him more time to play music on the side and then eventually gave in and made music a full time gig. It was obviously a good move for him and for music lovers. I obviously can’t compare this to the first album that I haven’t fully listened to yet, but he for sure does not have a sophomore slump on his hands with this new album.

“Mulholland Dr.” is not my favorite song from the new album, but since it is the song that finally made me sit up and take notice, it is the one I’m sharing here. The sort of twinkly keyboardy sounds near the beginning of the song totally remind me of “I Don’t Live Here Anymore” by The War on Drugs. For all I know they’re both using the same loop. I don’t know because I don’t actually know anything about music, I just really like it. Sounds very similar if not the same to me. It’s what first drew me into the song because I’ve already shared how much I adore “I Don’t Live Here Anymore”. I’m very glad I finally got out of my own way and gave Bartees Strange a chance.

New Music Friday: Hear My Dear by the Tedeschi Trucks Band

I halfway adore the Tedeschi Trucks Band. Like the stuff I love I really love, but I don’t love everything. At their heart they are a jam band, and that is just not my thing. I don’t need a live performance of a song to be 20 minutes long. I also just don’t love every song as they can vary stylistically. However, I am 100% all in on Susan Tedeschi’s voice and their kind of twangy guitar rock. When she sings the song and it’s that sound on the album version, not three times as long version you’d get line I could not love it more. Last Friday they put out part 1 of what is going to be a 4 part film and album series based on some Persian tale of star crossed lovers. The album series is called I am the Moon and the first part is Crescent.

I don’t know about all of that. I haven’t even listened to the lyrics of the whole thing closely enough to understand the story it’s telling. I just know that I really like the song “Hear My Dear” because it encompasses all of the things that I said above that I love. My feelings about the album overall pretty much mirror my feelings about the bands entire corpus. Love the Susan fronted stuff. Don’t love the stuff she’s not the lead vocalist on. The 12 minute song is way too long. It kind of just wraps everything up in one 5 song package. So I guess I’ll just keep loving the songs I love and leaving the songs I don’t and reminding myself that no matter how strongly I feel about the songs I do love, I really don’t want to see them live again because too much jam.

Last Week Delight

Another week. More delights.

  • Perfect weather. Everything seems more delightful when the weather is gorgeous. This weekend was absolutely perfect. Warm weather in the high 70’s and low 80’s with low humidity. It’s the kind of weather that we usually only get for a few days a year in Maryland. The humidity is bound to kick into high gear any day now. If I could order this weather all summer long I would.
  • Soft shell crabs. I live in Maryland, so of course I like crabs. I love soft shell crab season when restaurant specials start featuring soft shell crab sandwiches and other dishes. It only lasts for a few weeks, so I like to take advantage of it when I can. I was stalking the Food Market for when soft shell crab would show up on their menu because a few years ago I had the most amazing soft shell crab dish there. Last year soft shell crab season happened before I was comfortable eating at restaurants even outside and they refused to sell that special as takeout, so I missed out. You would think my delight would be getting to eat that dish again, but alas you would be wrong. They switched it up this year and made some green curry dish that is not my thing. So I literally spent my lunch break on Thursday perusing online restaurant menus trying to find somewhere that would for sure serve me soft shell crab. I finally found a special listed at Silver Queen Cafe, so we went out to dinner and sat outside in the lovely weather and I got to have soft shell crab. It was not as good as that Food Market dish, but it was still delicious and fulfilled my requirement for the year.
  • Last week in my delights post I wrote about poetry and mentioned that I didn’t think I’d ever owned a book of poetry. I went to pick up a book club book at the library on Friday and they convinced me to sign up for the summer reading program. I got a free t-shirt and got to pick out a free book to keep from a selection they had. One of the choices was Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman. So now I do own a book a book of poetry.
  • Four square. I loved playing four square in gym when I was a kid. I was walking down the sidewalk the other day and saw in the blocks naturally created in the way the sidewalk is formed that some kids had written 1, 2, 3, 4 in the blocks like they were setting up a game of four square. I have no evidence that’s actually what was happening there, but it looked like a four square court to me and I’m just going to believe that is what was happening there because it makes me happy.
  • I was listening to the May 31st Listen to Sassy podcast episode on my walk last week. There is no way for me to adequately explain to you what they were talking about in any way that you would understand. You’ll just have to go listen for yourself, but they had a discussion that involved muffins and then one about eye drops that directly called back to the muffins that had me laughing so hard I was crying and was having a hard time walking because I was doubled over in laughter. Anyone driving by me probably thought I was insane.
  • And now for your musical delight. It’s the fact that Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” has gotten crazy popular, even more popular than during its original run thanks to it being featured in Stranger Things. Currently it’s charting at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100. It only reached 30 back in 1985. I have always loved that song. I have a Spotify playlist called Amazing Songs that is songs that have stood the test of time for me and “Running Up That Hill” is one of the first ones I ever put on it. It delights me that a whole new audience has found the song and that everyone’s excitement about it means I get to hear it more often.

American Teenager by Ethel Cain

Once again there was a lot of new music to choose from this week. There was another new song off of Maggie Rogers’ forthcoming album, the a new Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs song that’s the first off what is going to be their first album in nine years, and more I haven’t even gotten to listen to yet. I’m actually going to go back a couple of weeks to an album that came out on May 18, Preacher’s Daughter by Ethel Cain. I started seeing Ethel Cain’s name pop up in a lot of music news recently and then someone shared one of her songs on NPR Music’s best songs of May episode, and I had to find out more. Ethel Cain, which is just the artist’s performance name, is a young trans woman originally from the Florida panhandle who now lives in rural Alabama. It’s very clear that she has a vision for her work and wants to create things her own way, and I’m very intrigued by it all. If you want to know more you can read a dozen different articles about her, but I recommend this New York Times profile.

Musically she seems to be getting compared a lot to Lana Del Rey, which I can sort of see. Though apparently she herself is not a fan of that comparison. I do like in the article that they mention she grew up only listening to Christian music and really started exploring other things after hearing a Florence + the Machine song in the closing credits of a movie. I can definitely feel that influence. Vocally I think she also sounds a lot like Maggie Rogers. There’s this same sort of warbling timbre I hear in both of their voices. This is definitely not a pop album in any way that modern pop exists. “American Teenager”, which is the song I’m sharing, is the closest you’re going to get to pop on it both in style and in length. At over 4 minutes it is long for a modern day pop song as they rarely go beyond 3 minutes these days thanks to the streaming economy. Most of the other songs on this album clock in at twice that at 8 or 9 minutes. There’s a lot to explore here and I look forward to spending a lot more time with this album.

The War on Drugs at Pier Six Pavilion

Last summer I wound up skipping a lot of concerts that I had tickets to that I didn’t wind up going to because after Delta showed up and it was clear that COVID was not actually gone and my doctor warned me about being very careful not to get it I was too paranoid to go to any of them. Data after the fact seemed to support that it would have been a reasonable thing to do. I’m not actually sure how with the new Omicron variants are making that data hold up for crowded spaces even if they’re outside with how much more transmissible it is, but I also know that it has to lessen the risk and I will go insane if I just lock myself away in my house forever. I was hoping to get back to some indoor concerts too with the way things are I don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon, but I’m not going to sit out my outdoor concerts this summer. (I’m so bummed that I’m going to miss Chvrches again next week. I had tickets to see them in DC right after Thanksgiving when OG Omicron was going crazy and didn’t go. Then they announced they were coming back again after only 6 months which is unheard of to a venue I like much better and I thought it was a sign that we were going to get another summer reprieve, and I was going to get to make up for missing out on the first show. Apparently it was just a sign that I’m too hopeful and willing to get kicked down over and over again.)

So all that being said I went to my first outdoor concert of the season last night to see The War on Drugs at Pier Six Pavilion. It’s a nice little outdoor venue in the Inner Harbor in Baltimore. It was the perfect night for an outdoor concert too. It was also a nice low key reintroduction to concerts for me because unlike everything else I’m going to this one was not close to sold out. I bought lawn seats so that we had control over where were sitting and where in relation to other people with the ability to move if we wanted. Since the show wasn’t sold and the back of the pavilion was particularly empty a lot of people from the lawn went in and grabbed seats because there was no one policing it like at Merriweather and Wolf Trap where you have to show your tickets 50 times to get to your seats. That left the lawn very uncrowded. We had a spot right in the front of the lawn and there wasn’t anyone within 10 feet of us in any direction. I brought a mask but didn’t wear it until we were walking out in the crowd. I’m pretty sure I won’t have nearly that much space at any other show, so this was a nice dipping my toe in experience.

If you’re not familiar with The War on Drugs they’re originally from Philly, but I think they live in LA now. Their album I Don’t Live Here Anymore was my favorite album of 2021. I’ve been a fan for a long time, but this is the first time that I’ve actually been able to see them live because as their lead singer said last night even though we’re from just up the road in Philly we never play down here. It’s sadly true for lots of bands because Baltimore falls within the radius clauses for lots of DC And Philly venues and since those are bigger markets the bands just play there and skip Baltimore.

They’re basically a good old guitar based rock band the likes of which you don’t see too much these days. I love their music, in particular all the guitar sounds. Their songs do tend to have some long instrumental breaks, but they’re contained which in my mind makes them different from jam bands that will take a 5 minute song and turn it into a 25 minute song live. Their songs live were still their songs even if there are stretches that are only instrumental. I appreciate my husband letting me drag him along because I knew he would really not care for this concert. It made me laugh to myself a little because stereotypically if you told someone that one us was being dragged to this concert against their will people would guess that it was me rather than my old, white guy husband.

It was an enjoyable show. They didn’t have an opening act so they had plenty of time to play with and didn’t go on until almost 30 minutes late, which I was annoyed at. I get annoyed at rock and rollers acting like stereotypical rock and rollers, particularly because I’m not used to it. Between festivals and individual shows that are packed to the gills with multiple acts, concerts these days are generally very regimented with strict set times. It’s rare that acts don’t go on when they’re supposed to. They did play for a good two hours though, which is rare because of a lot of shows having not just one, but two opening acts in this day and age. It was perfect chill music to sit outside and listen to on a gorgeous summer night with a couple of songs worth getting up to dance to. It did make me realize that this is the only way I would really ever want to see them live again. They are not a band I would want to stand around in a crowded club or arena and see. They’re definitely a chill out on the lawn and enjoy the vibe band for me. It was a nice way to get back into a full fledged concert season. Looking forward to several shows in a few weeks over my birthday weekend.