Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sigur Rós at the Filmore in Detroit

The four translators of sound bow
under glowing spheres, floating 
replicas of the planets and stars.
Gracing this one from across the sea with
greetings in their native Icelandic tongue.
Beams radiate in color, my insides illuminate. 
A cello bow saws at a guitar and
this small world of listeners explode
in applause, thank yous for transcendental euphoria.
My skin tingles with hair rising
as my muscles relax.
I hit the wave of awe centered around
the rush from chest to brain, 
from brain to sky and
for a moment I forget the confetti in my hair
and the thousand others being reborn
in the rainbow blizzard.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Survival Essentials

I'm going to start putting up some of the poems I have written. I took a creative poetry writing class last spring and it peaked my interest. It's a lot like writing songs, so I likes it a lots. This one is about my childhood at the Gormans' old house on Cedar Avenue. Imaginations grew wild there.

Survival Essentials

I remember my first decade 
when thinking was an adventure at
our wooden house on Cedar Avenue.
A tree house forewarned our fears
with a misspelled sign reading,

I remember my Ninja Turtle toys in
the sandbox, how that single square of the 
world was a universe to us and 
the little plastic became living people.

At the edge of the yard, honeysuckle bushes
arched together to form a tunnel.
I remember it led to another realm
where we went to live, not to escape.

I remember our tent indoors.
Trusting our flashlight defenses 
because those beams of light scattered
darkness, and bathed the frightening faces
with the comfort of dawn.

I remember how everything existed and nothing mattered.
We lived inside our minds
and the outside world embraced us.
Now I must see adventure in the
future of children and careers. 
To never become trapped by the
indestructible walls of a cubicle. 
To search for honeysuckle tunnels
lining the path that is essential
for my vital systems' survival,
to still believe everything exists and nothing matters.

*Side note* I really want to see the new movie Where The Wild Things Are. By just seeing the commercials, it seems to capture exactly what I'm trying to say in the poem. My belief that holding onto your head and heart from childhood is one of the most important things anyone could possibly do. Also the song "Wake Up" by Arcade Fire in the commercial is oh so glorious. Where The Wild Things Are trailer

Sunday, October 11, 2009

So long Russenorsk...

This was the magic of Russenorsk.

I really miss Russenorsk. They began during our freshman year at OU and I was even part of the jam that brought Tim and Jack together. Our dorm from freshman year, Washington Hall, absorbed their energy and their concerts were the single way that I kept contact with some friends from Washington Hall. Now that Russenorsk is gone, it feels like those friendships will fade as well. Conor Hogan and I were the two biggest fans, and we went to an uncountable amount of shows. There was a core group of people, mostly all from Washington Hall, that were always there with me, pumping our fists in the air and jumping around as we sang every word. 

There was a magic about Russenorsk. They grew with me through college and they represented what Athens was to me. There was a sense of friendship in the music. A feeling of adventure, that no matter how small and unimportant the adventure may be to the rest of the world, it was vital to the me. Their music was kind. It had despair, yet carried a hope. Russenorsk mirrored a lot of what I loved about my favorite author, Kurt Vonnegut. They shared these themes and feelings and messages.  I finished the ending of Slaughter House-5 while sitting on the sand of the Atlantic coast and listening to "Long Winter's Coming" on repeat.

Tim, Jack, and Zach of Russenorsk... I want to thank you for growing with me and giving us all some very wonderful music. The memories of the shows are still strong. The beginning shows when it was only 2 members and you were still trying to figure out what you were doing. The first album release show and how I was amazed at how good the record was. The acoustic show at the donkey when the power went out and we in the crowd kicked in as a room full of backup singers. The countless shows at The Union where you guys made it your home. The second album release and the growth and maturity of "Comforts."

Russenorsk went out in perfect fashion. Bidding farewell with a final show at The Union, they played for about 90 minutes, twice the normal set for a local show. My friend Sam from Cincinnati was finally able to see them live after 3 years of loving their music. They played all of the favorites and we were able to sing along the loudest that our voices would allow. We yelled "No Crash!" as the music stopped for a second and Jack pointed his cello bow out to the crowd. They played their last song, "Long Winter's Coming" and the Athens music giant was falling down, just as the capsules of fire do in the song. I looked over at Conor at this point and could see that he too was going to deeply miss this band. It felt as if a vital part of what the town of Athens and Ohio University were to me was dying prematurely. I had expected them to last until we all graduated at the end of the year, but it didn't work out that way and a hole has been left unfilled. Once the chaos and mayhem of "Long Winter's Coming" came to a halt Tim went to the side of the stage and grabbed his acoustic guitar. Russenorsk had been playing all electric for at least a year. Jack grabbed his cello. Zach grabbed his floor tom. They walked off the stage and into the crowd. Unplugged, they began playing "Science Tells Me" and the crowd sang along. It was pure. Russenorsk was ending , perhaps burying, their music with the people who had loved them so dearly. As "Science Tells Me" ended they went right into "Long Winter's Coming" again.  As the last chorus of the song came, the crowd was off time with their singing. Tim asked for one more time to get it right and we gave it to him. They deserved it. It was beautifully sad.

Thank you Russenorsk for more than you could ever know. I know you appreciated it with everything you had in your hearts. Take a listen to understand what I'm talking about. http://www.myspace.com/russenorskband

Friday, October 9, 2009

Momentary Prophets

Three days ago, on Tuesday I was walking from class and I heard three guys playing music in the grass. In the middle of campus they were playing an upright bass, an acoustic guitar, and what caught my attention the most was a sitar. The sitar player was wearing a sunflower print vest and they all had varying forms of long hair. I like meeting other long haired fellows. There is a friendly unspoken acknowledgment between dudes with long hair. I asked if they minded me sitting and watching and they replied with a, "Please do." Others soon followed and sat down in the grass. There was a kind energy about the musicians and I was eating it up. They said that they were playing a free show at Jackie O's the next night at 10. They called themselves Momentary Prophets.

I went to the show the next night and the stage was filled with instruments of all kinds. A local musician named Bongo Bob was playing with them at this show. They were from Virginia, but it seemed like they knew many of the local people. A sense of friendship was  held by the band and all of the audience. Everyone seemed so happy to be in each other's company and it was very refreshing and warming to be there. As they played the crowd danced and smiled, soaking in the music and good vibes. The music was great and the singing was beautiful. The musicians switched between instruments all the time and all three sang. They played a cover of Led Zeppelin's "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You," but they sang the words for "Black Dog" to the melody of "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You." That was really cool. They jammed on songs, keeping the groove and feeling alive as the lead singer switched from a 12 string acoustic to the sitar. 

They played for close to 3 hours and took a break halfway. They said, "The way we take breaks is we like to come into the crowd and hug as many people as we can. So everyone should try hug as many people in approximately 5 to 8 1/2 minutes as possible. Happiness. Happy people. Happy times. Moments like these keep my optimism alive. As I talked to the band and the other people in the crowd, it made me think we all need to do this extremely simple, yet crucial task of being kind people.

Here is their page if you want to hear what I'm talking about:  http://www.myspace.com/momentaryprophets