Arlo Parks released her second album, My Soft Machine, today. It’s the follow-up to her widely acclaimed 2021 debut album, Collapsed in Sunbeams. There is definitely no sophomore slump going on here. The album is full of rich textured mellow beats. I feel like she’s doing something completely different than other artists are doing right now, and I’m here for it. It’s hard to believe that she is only 22 years old.
I’m very much hoping that whenever she has a North American tour to support this album that I’ll be able to see her. Right now she’s touring Europe and Australia and has no North American dates, but presumably they’ll come in the fall. Fingers crossed.
I feel like I’m doing you a bit of a disservice by sharing the song “Devotion” because sonically it’s an outlier and not very representative of the sounds on the rest of the album, but it’s also my favorite song on the album so I’m going with it for better or worse. Listen to it and then go dig into the rest of the album and see what else she has to offer.
Things have been a little quiet around this blog space because I’ve been on vacation for the past week and a half. So that’s what a lot of this week’s delights post is going to be about. We took our annual trip to a beach in South Carolina. We’ve been going to Hilton Head for the past several years. We wound up extending our trip by 3 days instead of going for just our normal week. Since our cat Scout died a few months ago and we didn’t have to worry about leaving a sick cat for 10 days, I decided that we should go for longer so that I could use the remaining 3 vacation days I had to use before the end of June. My husband can work from anywhere, so he could just work from down there while I got some extra time at the beach. Otherwise I would have just wound up wasting it sitting on my couch at home. It would have been nicer if the weather was a little warmer. The same cold front that made Baltimore rainy and in the 50s the whole time we were gone made it about 10 degrees cooler than normal and very windy at the beach. That still meant it was in the 70s, but with a cold wind it wasn’t great sitting on the beach weather. I still got my beach walks in, and spent some time sitting and reading on the beach just clothed in leggings and a fleece instead of a bathing suit.
My carry on size suitcase is surprisingly roomy, and I like how much I can manage to squeeze into while I’m packing
On the Sunday we were there it was crazy windy such that it was impossible to be out on the beach even thought it was decently warm and sunny unless you wanted your skin sand blasted off. The resort didn’t even set out their chairs and umbrellas, and I didn’t even see any beach walkers. It’s the one day I didn’t get any beach time in at all. Since it was a lousy beach day, we decided to go check out Old Town Bluffton. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend giving up a day at the beach for it, but if you’re in Hilton Head for some reason and aren’t much of a beach person or it’s just a not great beach day, Old Town Bluffton is a nice place to walk around. The really historic area has lots of cool old houses and churches and a nice waterfront. There’s lots of art galleries and a few restaurants. Then there’s a newer area that has lots of restaurants and boutique shops. It was a pleasant place to wander around for a few hours.
One night we were sitting outside on our balcony overlooking the ocean and all of a sudden there was a giant fireball shooting through the sky. I thought maybe we were seeing a really large meteor or something, but after texting with friends about it one of my friends pointed out that it was actually some SpaceX rocket launching. I had no idea that was happening or that we would be able to see it from where we were, but the times lined up exactly so I’m sure that was it. It was very cool and unexpected. I’m glad I walked outside at that exact moment and saw it.
We always play mini golf one day when we’re at the beach. We usually do the Pirate Golf, but we tried out a new course this year. It had real water traps all over the course. It was much harder than Pirate Golf, but the important thing is that I beat my husband. Though he did get a hole in one and win a frisbee.
The resort that we normally stay at has the best washing station for getting sand off of you when coming in from the beach that I have ever encountered. It’s perfect. There’s a bench where you can set your bags on so they don’t get all wet and sandy by setting them on the boardwalk while you rinse off yourself and other stuff. They have tall showers if you want to wash off your whole body, low shower heads if you want to just wash off your feet, and also a hose with a spray nozzle that you can use to easily wash off your chairs and other beach paraphernalia. Most importantly all of the shower stuff is positioned in the middle of the boardwalk over a grate so that the water and sand can fall into the dunes underneath instead of creating a pool of sand and water that you somehow have to stand in while you’re trying to clean yourself off like happens at most of the beach washing stations I’ve been at. Kudos to whoever designed this one. A+
The first year we went to Hilton Head my husband found a restaurant called A Lowcountry Backyard Restaurant. It quickly became one of our favorites. There is an inside, but you really want to eat in the titular backyard. It’s this really great courtyard area, and they usually have some live music. The music is played at the perfect level where you can hear it, but it doesn’t drown out your conversations with the people you’re eating with and no one has to yell to be heard, which is what I too often find when there is live music in restaurants. They claim to have the number 3 shrimp and grits in the whole world. I won’t dispute them because that’s what I always get, and they are delicious. This year I swear to god that the words shrimp and grits barely finished leaving my mouth and my food appeared on the table. I don’t think that I’ve ever ordered fast food that got to me that quickly. I was like is this someone else’s food? The waitress was even confused when she walked back by and saw it in front of me already without my husband having his food. His followed not that long after, but it was very crazy how fast mine came out. Then, the waitress misremembered what I ordered for dessert and brought me key lime pie instead of banana pudding, so we got to take a free piece of pie home too. I was actually sad that dinner finished so quickly because it was a really pleasant night to sit out and enjoy some music, but once we were done I didn’t feel like we should linger since there’s always a line. If you do ever eat there go early or be prepared to wait for an hour or more.
And now your musical delights. We usually don’t watch that much tv when we’re at the beach. We spend a lot of time just hanging out on our balcony enjoying the ocean sounds. It was thunderstorming on Saturday night, so we were sitting inside our villa and wound up putting on the live stream of the Stagecoach festival. I very much enjoyed watching Mary Chapin Carpenter’s set and Morgan Wade’s set. Morgan Wade did this great medley of 80s songs that started with the Outfield’s “Your Love”, which is a song I love. I don’t see a video of that particular performance online though there do seem to be some videos from other concerts.
I heard “All I Have to Give” by the Backstreet Boys on the radio while we were in Hilton Head. I feel like it’s a Backstreet Boys song I haven’t heard in a long time, but it’s a great song.
Buckle in. I’ve got a lot of delights for you this week.
I had an upper endoscopy last Monday to try and find out what has been causing my relentless reflux issues. It originally wasn’t scheduled until 2:30, so I figured I wouldn’t really get to eat until around dinner time. For some reason they called that morning and asked me to be there at 10 instead. So I was home in time for lunch, and didn’t have to feel starving all day. It unfortunately didn’t shed much light on anything, but at least for right now all that acid hasn’t done any damage to my esophagus. So that’s good news at least.
I’ve had a very busy stretch of days. I think this is the most things I’ve done in a row since pre-pandemic. And even then 6 days in a row of activities was not the norm. I was already too old and too tired for that back in 2020. I kicked things off on Wednesday night going to see Lucius with Danielle Ponder at Rams Head Live.
Thursday night was a surprise baby shower for some friends from church. They were indeed surprised, and it was a lovely night to be outside and hang out with friends.
Friday night a group of us went out to dinner to belatedly celebrate a friend’s birthday. It’s nice that the weather is warming up again so that I can go out to eat at restaurants again, and I appreciate friends who make sure to make outdoor reservations so that I can join them. I’ve missed out on a lot of friend gatherings over the winter, so it’s nice to be able to be a part of things in a somewhat normal way again for a little while.
Saturday my husband and I drove down to the DC area to have dinner with friends who live down there and to celebrate one of their birthdays. We technically ate dinner in Maryland, but just over the line because we must have parked in DC as when we started driving home our GPS welcomed us to Maryland, so we must have crossed over the line at some point. The weather was rainy and thunderstormy all day, so we were very much keeping an eye on the weather to see if we needed to shift our plans. Luckily the weather wound up cooperating, and it was a lovely night to eat dinner outside. I was also very excited when we got dessert and they told me that the apple hand pie on the menu had been replaced by a strawberry shortcake with cardamom ice cream. I love cardamom and was immediately sold. It was delicious.
Sunday night we had tickets to see Hadestown as part of season tickets to the local touring Broadway shows. Hadestown was actually the last show I saw on Broadway before COVID happened. I had very much enjoyed it then, and I had seen it with the original cast and wasn’t sure how well the touring cast was going to be able to live up to it. They did a pretty darn good job. I was particularly worried about Hades because I didn’t see how anyone could come close to living up to Patrick Page. He wasn’t as good, but I will say that the actor whose name I unfortunately don’t know did a pretty good job. He had a similarly deep, booming voice which I think was key.
For my final night of sociability, I have book club tonight. We read the book Remarkably Bright Creatures, which I loved. It’s really type of book we tried so hard to find to read during the last 5-7 years when everything has just felt terrible all the time in the real world but that we so very rarely were able to find. Something that feels light and clever, but that isn’t just complete fluff that leaves us nothing to discuss.
It was also a beautiful morning for our first outdoor church service of the season. I’m sure it will get cold again before we really settle into summer weather and we’ll have a few mornings when we’re shivering with the breeze off the harbor. Yesterday was absolutely perfect though.
Speaking of church I was sitting near a couple of pregnant women yesterday, and a little girl who is probably around 3 and half came up and was looking at their baby bumps, so one of them asked if she wanted to say hi to the baby. The little girl then gave her baby bump an elbow bump. It was adorable. I’m like you can tell this kid has been raised during a pandemic.
I don’t know why it delighted me so much, but it did. A couple blocks away from church while I was stopped at a light one of the guys on our worship team zoomed by me on one of those electric scooters that are left all over the city for you to rent.
One of my friends on Instagram kept posting stories about how she was already doomed to be humiliated by her Spotify Wrapped at the end of the year, so eventually I DM’ed her and said I must know what you’ve been listening to. So she she told me she better not be in the top 1% of Shaggy listeners. I responded with this joke, which I am inordinately proud of. “You: It wasn’t me. Spotify: Caught you red handed.”
Ross Gay has written a sequel to The Book of Delights, which is what got me into doing these delights posts in the first place. It’s called The Book of (More) Delights, go figure. I got a galley copy of it and am in the middle of reading it. In one of the delights in the book he shares that due to his original book people send him lots of mail in which they recount their own delights. One of them shared about their friends cat whose names is OREO Speedwagon, which was also a delight to him, and something he thought we should also know as to bring us delight. It did indeed delight me, and now I feel compelled to extend the delight to you.
We have a craft table at work that is covered in brown butcher paper that people draw and write on all the time. This morning I spotted that someone drew a heart on the table and inside of it said, “A proud dad brought his accepted daughter here for a visit.” I thought it was super sweet, and it put a smile on my face.
And now for your musical delights. First up the song “Nina Cried Power” by Hozier featuring Mavis Staples. I adore this song. I heard it this week for the first time in a while, and it made me very happy. Seeing them perform it together live is still one of my favorite Newport Folk Festival moments, and it takes a lot to make it towards the top of that list because there are so many darn amazing things I’ve seen over the past decade there. I was also delighted to discover that Mavis Staples is featured on a song on the new Abraham Alexander record, which I did not realize until I put my new vinyl on while I was doing the dishes and all of a sudden Mavis was singing to me.
And also the song “Heavenly Day” by Patty Griffin. I don’t have anything to say about. It’s just a song I love and heard this week.
This week’s delights are heavy on the music. Some weeks are like that.
Things are in bloom in Baltimore and everything is very pretty. Sherwood Gardens, which is known for its tulips, is pretty much in full bloom. It’s about a mile walk from my office, so I walked over on my lunch break a couple of times last week. Monday there were some tulip beds in bloom, but after a few days of really warm weather things had really exploded by Thursday. For some reason the tulip beds never all bloom at the same time, and it seems variable which ones come up first. Also, by the time all the tulips are up usually the daffodils, hyacinths, and cherry blossoms are gone. This year there seemed to be more overlap than normal, so it was a great time to see some pretty flowers.
Also speaking of cherry trees, my favorite cherry trees are now in bloom as well. The kwanzan cherry trees always bloom later than everything else, but they have these gorgeous full pink blooms that I love. I honestly don’t know enough about trees to be able to accurately identify all the different flowering trees we have around here, but there are a lot. It’s one of the things I love about where I live even if all the pollen is making me want to scratch my eyes out.
The new Broadway show Shucked had its opening night this past week. They invited Tariq, “the corn kid” to the show which is just awesome. So there’s some very cute video of him on the red carpet and giving his review after the show.
I’ve been making my way through the tv show Bluey despite the fact that I am a childless adult, and it is aimed at like five year olds. In a moment of serendipity I happened to put on an episode on Easter that was about Easter, so that was kind of fun even though any episode where Bingo is sad breaks my heart and Bingo was very sad in this one because she thought the Easter bunny forgot about her.
The Jason Isbell documentary, Running With Our Eyes Closed, premiered on HBO on Friday night. The filmmaker set out to make a documentary about him recording the album Reunions, and wound up getting a lot more in the process as COVID hit in the middle of the filming and Jason and his wife and sometimes band mate Amanda Shires hit a very rocky point in their marriage, which they do not shy away from in this film. They had been very open about it during all the press when the album came out, but it’s kind of different to actually watch it playing out on film than it is to just hear them tell about it. It’s shockingly raw and honest. There’s one point where Amanda is reading an email that she wrote to Jason about what was going on, and she’s literally physically shaking because she’s so upset. I do wish that I hadn’t learned that Amanda hates listening to the song “Cover Me Up”. I’ll never be able to hear it the same way again. I had always thought of it as this sort of great love song of them making it through his addiction, and him getting sober because he realized what a good thing he was going to mess up if he didn’t. I gather that’s how he sort of thought about it too, and then seems to find out during all of this that she actually hates it because it brings up a lot of bad memories for her. He still plays it at every show, so I guess they’ve worked through that at least enough. It’s definitely not going to be the same next time I see him play it live though. Since the documentary was shot in late 2019 and early 2020, their daughter Mercy was only 4 at the time. It was fun to see her so cute and teeny tiny again. I thought it was a great film, but as a huge fan I am not an objective observer. I don’t know how interesting it would be to anyone who is not already a Jason Isbell fan or just someone who is so into music documentaries they’ll watch one about anything.
I bought a used copy of the Peter Gabriel album So at a record bazaar a couple weeks ago. For reasons this weekend was the first time I actually got to put it on and listen to it. Man that is such a good album. Not really a bad song it, though I’ve never been the hugest fan of the song “Sledgehammer” even though it’s probably Peter Gabriel’s biggest hit.
And speaking of great music, I heard the song “Break It Down” by Tears for Fears on the radio. It’s such a good song and not one that people ever really seem to reference in relation to that band.
WXPN has a segment called “90s at 9”. Last week they were playing a bunch of songs that for some reason made me think they should be playing a Paula Cole song, and then they did. I very much appreciate that it was the song “Me” instead of one of the two Paula Cole songs that you actually know.
I’ve been enjoying the song “Joiner” by Blondshell for several months now, but finally decided to write about it today because the self-titled album that it’s on came out today. Blondshell is the band name for indie rock artist Sabrina Teitelbaum. This is her debut album under that monkier, though I gather she had a previous project called BAUM that I am unfamiliar with. The album is guitar rock driven, but not in the pop-punk way that is pretty much the only guitar you hear on mainstream radio these days. The video features a woman listening to a discman, to which I had anti-nostalgia if that’s a thing. What a horrible piece of technology that was. Thank goodness mp3s came along and saved us from it. Anyway, if you miss pure rock music go check out the new album by Blondshell.
I really like the band Dawes and have seen them in concert a number of times, but I wasn’t going to go see them this time around because their closest concert on this tour was in DC on a Sunday night. I hate going to DC for concerts on school nights because it means I’m getting home well after my bedtime and am always exhausted the next day. However, back in December the radio station WRNR was doing a contest to win tickets to the show. I entered it and won. Luckily they sent me my tickets before their frequency got snatched out from under them and they disappeared. I think they might still be operating as an online only radio station, but I haven’t really investigated since they stopped appearing on my car’s radio. So I’m not 100% sure if that was just in the immediate aftermath or it’s going to be a longterm thing.
Anyway, the result of all that was that I did in fact trek down to DC to see the concert on a Sunday night. Given my experience driving to DC the previous day, we allowed ourselves plenty of time to get there and of course had no traffic issues and got there in a normal amount of time which put us at the venue almost an hour early. Can’t win. This is why I hate driving to DC.
This was my first time at the Warner Theatre. Every other time I’ve seen a show listed there that I would want to see it’s been on a weeknight, and I’ve never felt compelled enough to go to deal with that. It’s a very ornate old historic theatre that’s very beautiful. Our seats were up in the middle of the balcony, so not the greatest, but I could still see really well because unlike the dumb Hippodrome in Baltimore these seats were actually offset from the seats in the row in front so you were looking between people’s heads instead of directly at the back of the person sitting in front of you. So I still had a good view of the stage the whole time.
As Dawes is wont to do, it was an Evening with Dawes show meaning there was no opening act. They played two sets themselves with a short break in the middle. I’ve seen several of their shows that have been that way. I bought tickets to see Mary Chapin Carpenter at Wolf Trap later this year and they added Dawes as the opening act. I’m very perplexed by this combination of artists as even though I really like both of them, I don’t necessarily think that they appeal to the same audience in general. Anyway, I was joking that I’m not sure how they’ll ever play for the short amount of time opening acts get since I’m used to seeing them play for 2 and a half hours at a time as they did last night.
I was actually expecting that one half of the night would be them pretty much playing through their new album, Misadventures of Doomscroller. They actually played far fewer songs from that album than I was anticipating, but happily one of the songs they did play was “It Comes in Waves”, which is my favorite song off that album. They played a good mix of music from across their catalog. They’ve post a couple of the other set lists from previous shows that I’ve seen and it does seem like they’re mixing it up a lot from night to night. Sadly the show before mine they played two of my favorite songs “Roll with the Punches” and “Feed the Fire” that we didn’t get during this show. But even at 2 and a half hours it’s unlikely you’ll get to hear all your favorites, so I was happy with what we got.
I did like that Taylor Goldsmith, the lead singer, started the second half of the show doing a couple of solo acoustic songs, which is something I had never seen before. The first one, “St. Augustine” is sort of an ode to his childhood and then he played a new one that’s not on an album called “Little Ones” that he wrote for his kids that he has with his wife Mandy Moore. Yes, that Mandy Moore.
All in all it was a great night of music, and I’m glad I did wind up getting to see them one final time before their bass player Wylie leaves the band. I’ll be curious to see what the lineup is later this summer when I see them open for Mary Chapin Carpenter.
No one probably needs me to tell you about P!nk, but she has a new album out today. If you like P!nk, you should like it. It’s full of songs that sound like your typical P!nk songs, but it also features songs where she collaborates with a lot of Americana artists including The Lumineers, Chris Stapleton, and First Aid Kit. It’s not the first time she’s dipped her toe into this area of music. She did a folk album with Dallas Green of City and Colour under the moniker You + Me about a decade ago. She’s also doing some sort of touring this spring with Brandi Carlile. In my mind this all lending credence to my friend’s theory that P!nk will be at the Newport Folk Festival this year. When suggested it, I was like wha? Why would you think that, but then the more I thought about it I was like well maybe the idea is not so outlandish. This album is adding more fuel to the fire that I think she could actually be right. We’ll see. They’ve only announced three of the artists so far. Anyway, here she is with a band that I am certainly hoping will make another appearance at the festival this year.
Last night was my first time back to the Ottobar since COVID. It was also my first truly standing room only indoor concert experience. It was the one I was most reluctant to return to. I love the Ottobar. It is a great place to see a show, but it is a super dive club. It’s old. It’s tiny. The ceilings are very low. Aside from the fact that they leave the back door where you go in open all the time, there is probably next to no ventilation. Aside from the fact that there are fewer people there than a larger club so statistics are slightly on your side, it’s really a COVID field day in there. But I finally decided to take a chance and brave it in my N95 mask. I had a few anxious moments, but I feel like they were more just my typical anxiety of I hate being smushed in a crowd of people and I wish these strangers would stop touching me. I’m glad I went though, and I hopefully didn’t bring any COVID home with me.
Lindsey Jordon, aka Snail Mail, is from Ellicott City, Maryland a suburb of Baltimore. So of course she still has lots of ties to this area even though I believe she now lives in New York and her musical career has reached a much larger national stage. So she put together a five night run at the Ottobar called Snail Mail’s Valentine’s Fest. When tickets went on sale I don’t think there was any indication of who would be joining her across the five nights. At some point they put out a poster that listed all the bands, but there was no indication of who would be playing which night. If you follow me on social media that’s why I kept referring to the openers as “surprise” openers, since you had some clue who it might be. I was there on the final night, so it was pretty clear by that point I was going to see Waxahatchee.
I was very excited to have Waxahatchee on night, but I was also super bummed that I missed Soccer Mommy on night 2. I had plans to see Soccer Mommy at Ottobar thrwarted twice by COVID, and I apparently don’t want to see her bad enough to drive down to DC to see her next month. I’ve also seen Waxahatchee two other times in recent years, so I would have preferred Soccer Mommy. Oh well. I made a calculated decision to go with night 5 even though it was a Tuesday, instead of the Saturday show because of the Maggie Rogers concert on Monday. These are still the complicated COVID calculations I make in my head. I was like if I go to Ottobar on Saturday and catch COVID there, then I will miss out on Maggie. But if I go on night 5 after Maggie then I will probably get both in even if I do catch COVID at one of the shows.
Before Waxahatchee though, there was also another opener who I hated. She was not the absolute worse opener I have ever seen, but she was pretty up there in my rankings. I know Lindsey Jordan has a lot of punk and pop punk influences, so it’s not entirely surprising that she would have someone more on the punk end as an opener, but that was very much not for me. The artist was MJ Dunphy and to my mind it was essentially her up on stage sort of scream groaning lyrics into a mic with a musical backing track except for the one song where she played a guitar. I did not enjoy and was very happy when her set was over.
Katie Crutchfield, aka Waxahatchee did a solo set without the rest of her backing band. She was just had Brad Cook, music producer and musician, on guitar with her. Even though I have seen Waxahatchee recently this was actually a very different set. I would say the set was comprised of about 50% new music, 30% Waxahatchee songs, and 20% Plains songs (her recent musical collaboration with Jess Williamson). I really wanted to try and make it to one of the Plains shows. I don’t remember why I couldn’t make that happen, so I was very happy to get to hear a couple of those songs live. I’m sure some people were bummed that she played a ton of new stuff, but I was pleased. A small club like the Ottobar is the perfect place to try that stuff out. She did surprisingly very clearly flub the lyrics to “Lilacs”, which some asshole in the audience felt the need to yell out to her after she was done. It was very clear that she screwed it up, she knows it, we all know. No need for you to point it out jerk,
I had been very excited when I got to the Ottobar. I didn’t actually mean to get there quite as early as I did. I was flying solo because my friend who was supposed to go with me wasn’t feeling well, and I couldn’t find anyone who wanted her ticket. Ottobar is super close to my house though. It’s just over a mile away. If it felt at all safe to do so late at night, I could totally walk if I wanted. Anyway, since the drive is like five minutes I got there at 7:40 which surprisingly was still plenty of time to snag a spot on one of the risers. There are two steps down from the back bar area where you come in to the main part of the club in front of the stage. Instead of just putting two stairs there they sort of built them out and ran them around the corner and all the way down the wall of the club so that there are sort of two elevated platforms you can stand on. Since I’m super short and have a hard time seeing at standing room only shows, I always try to snag a spot on one of them because then I can actually see over the crowd. So I was excited to have a spot there until Snail Mail came out and I realized they had set Linsey Jordan’s mic up in such a way that a pillar was blocking pretty much my entire view of her any time she was singing or speaking intot he mic, which was about 85% of the time. Oh well. Best laid plans and all that.
She did a nice mix of stuff from her two albums and EP. Katie Crutchfield came out and sang “Ben Franklin” with her since she does the backing vocals on the actual recording of that song. Lindsey was saying they have a “Katie button” they use to fill in thos vocals when they don’t actually have Katie Crutchfield there to sing them. Apparently the drummer didn’t actually know it was Katie’s vocals and was like wait what that’s Katie, when he found out she would singing the song with them that night. It was a very unpolished show compared to what I often see, but that’s what made it fun. Katie came back out again to sing the final song, which was a cover of The Killers’ “When We Were Young”. It definitely ranks up there with my favorite concert covers of all time.
In fact I recorded it. I never do that. I never, ever record full songs at shows. I will do a few clips from one or two my favorite songs and that’s it. I don’t want to bother the people around me and make them stare at my phone, and I also prefer to live in the moment and experience things not from behind a screen. I did this one because I knew I wanted a copy of it, and I could do it while subverting my other reasons for not recording. I was standing in front of a wall so there was no one behind me to bother. Also, by that point in the night a lot of people had left because it was very late on a work/school night. So no one was next to me either. I was able to hold my phone off to the side and record while also watching it not through my phone. I posted it to my YouTube, so you too can enjoy. The sound quality isn’t great. I promise it sounded better in the room. You can also tell I never do this since it didn’t occur to me to turn my phone horizontal because I’m so used to shooting things to post to my Instagram stories. I refuse to post to Reels and share from there though because I don’t want to agree to let other people do stuff to my videos, which you now have to do. I don’t know why I draw the line there, but I’m an old curmudgeon who doesn’t want people to be able to do stuff with my content outside of my control. See also one of the many reasons I don’t TikTok. Anyway, here it is if you want a listen.
Last night I trekked down to DC to see Maggie Rogers at The Anthem. Unless it is one of their rare fully seated shows, I will forever and always only spring for the VIP box seats at that venue. No standing in the ridiculously long line to get in with 6,000 other people or then being smushed on the floor not being able to see anything in the standing room only section. I am old and tired and my body is broken. I will take a seat if I can have one because luckily I can afford it. Anyway, when I bought my ticket there was a single seat in the front row of the second level boxes available. If I wanted two seats together I had to buy one in the back row of a box on the third level. I decided I preferred the better seat over dragging my husband down with me. I’m sure he preferred my choice too.
Turns out I really was sitting in the we’re old and tired box. I could see a lot of the people in the other boxes were standing even though they had seats. Not my box. We used those seats we paid for. I probably would have liked to get up and dance a little, but my still screwed up foot would not have appreciated it especially since I am going to a standing room only show tonight and will be on it for hours. Plus, since I was in the first row I didn’t want to be the person who stood up an forced everyone behind me to stand up so they could see since none of them clearly interested in standing on their own free will. I still did some chair dancing and had a grand old time. It was also fun just to be able to look out over the crowd and see their collective movements.
Del Water Gap was the opener. Maggie Rogers was actually in Del Water Gap for a hot second when she was a literal teenager. Now Samuel Holden Jaffe holds the moniker as a solo artist. He did have a band with him, but he definitely kept referring to Del Water Gap as him and not a band, and he never introduced the people playing with him. Other than knowing that Maggie used to play in the band when she was first starting out, I didn’t know much about it. I know I heard a song or two from when they played together off her album Notes from the Archive: Recordings 2011-2016, but I definitely don’t think I had ever heard any of his more recent stuff. I liked some of the songs more than others, but he put on a good performance and got the crowd into it. He did also come back out later and sing one of their songs during Maggie’s set.
Maggie Rogers grew up in Easton, Maryland so whenever she plays the Baltimore/DC area she refers to it as a hometown show. She did say that there were lots of old friends including her middle school math teacher along with most importantly her mom. I always think it’s fun to be at a “hometown” show for artists. This show was pretty much at the beginning of the new Feral Joy tour. She had three nights in Boston before this, but that’s it. The production values have gone way up since the last time I saw her. More money means more stuff. There was a lot more fancy lighting stuff and a big projection screen behind her that there was a camera guy on stage projecting onto. The screen was only in use during certain songs. I have said many times before and will say it again, that I don’t give a whit about any of that. At a certain point I feel like bands begin relying on that to wow the audience instead of their actual performance (*cough* U2 *cough*). That was not at all the case here. I felt like it just augmented the performance and wasn’t the focus of it, which is how it should be in my opinion.
It was a great high energy show with a good mix of new songs, old songs, slow and fast songs and a little bit of storytelling, which I always like. Based on what she was saying on social media ahead of the show, I knew she was going to play the entirety of the new album, but only some songs off of Heard It in a Past Life. It’s inevitable that some of your favorite songs start dropping out of the set list once artists have multiple albums to pull from. I just really wanted to hear “Back in My Body”, and was happy it made the cut. It’s my favorite song from that album, and it was my favorite song of the night. It was always a great show.
I don’t really have much to report on the delights front this week. I am temporarily sidelined from my daily walks because I screwed up my foot, so I’m trying to be good and rest it for a couple of weeks. I hate not exercising, but better to get it under control now rather than injuring it worse and dragging it out longer. I realize that a lot of my delights come from things I observe on my walks, so without walks I’m a little short.
It was nice to have a three day weekend. All weekends should be three day weekends.
My favorite podcast, Make Me Smart came back from their winter break last week. It was nice to have some new episodes after they were off for almost a month.
January 11 was the two year anniversary of my #FlamingoADay project on Instagram. Back in January of 2021 I needed a little motivation to go out into the cold and dark to take walks, so I decided to start posting a photo a day of the flamingos I found in my neighborhood because there are a lot. I figured I would be able to do it for a couple of months, long enough to get me to spring. Little did I know that I would be able to post photos for just over two years. I posted my last flamingo today. There were several other times I thought I was running out of flamingos to post and more would always show up, especially when a decorating holiday like Halloween or Christmas came around. I even found 3 more new ones literally on the afternoon that I had already posted what I told people was my final post. I finished posting those photos today, and now I am officially out of flamingo photos. It was a fun little project that made me walk around streets in my neighborhood that I probably never would have bothered to walk on. And it seemed to bring joy to people. I’m going to miss it.
Gentlemen, take a seat. Ladies, let’s talk bras. For years and years I’ve been getting Facebook ads for Third Love bras. I absolutely do not trust any products I’m being advertised on social media, so I always just sort of ignored them. Plus they are more money than I generally want to spend on bras. Given I wear them more than almost any other clothing that I own, I probably shouldn’t be so chintzy, but why does a tiny piece of cloth cost so much? Anyway, I have rarely found bras that I feel like fit me well. The straps are always falling down, or they are just slightly too small, or slightly too big. Third Love finally got me to give them a try with a sale and selling me on their 1/2 sizes. I thought might as well give it a try. I can return them if they don’t fit. Turns out the 1/2 size was the key to my problem. They fit like everyone says a bra should. They clasp for me on the last hook. The cup covers my whole breast. The little piece of cloth between my breasts actually rests of my chest. The straps don’t fall down. I am not super in love with the fluted look of the straps on the t-shirt bra, which is what I bought. But no one else really sees them but me and my husband, and I can guarantee he does not care and would have no idea what I was talking about. So I should probably start throwing out some of my old ratty bras and upgrading them when I can snag these bras on sale.
And now for your musical delights
My husband got me a gift certificate to a local record store for Christmas so I can feed my new vinyl hobby. I’ve been enjoying finding cheap copies of old albums from the 70s and 80s. I popped over there after church last Sunday and managed to add a couple of Lionel Richie albums, a Steve Winwood album, a Loggins and Messina album, and an Expose album to my collection for not very much money. I feel like Expose weirdly got lost in the 80s and rarely shows up even in 80s music mixes despite having a double platinum album that had 4 top 10 hits including one that went to number one. I had the Exposure album on cassette as a child and loved it. I’m happy to have it again on vinyl this time.
My husband and I have been watching an old BBC show called the Detectorists. I’ll have more to say about the show whenever I write my next TV Diary post, but today I have the theme song for you because I have very much been enjoying hearing it every episode.