I originally overlooked Sufjan Stevens. I read about him on the web. A guy in work recommended him. I saw his name on the tickets site. I wasn't interested, so I didn't go. Then I got the Illinoise album. I grew to like the Illinoise album. I got tickets to the November show.
I left work and got some food with Emma. We arrived at the Olympia at a reasonable hour. We initially stood centre stage, quite a bit back. We then moved to a front right position, just behind the second bar. It was closer and less obstructed, but almost in front of the PA. St Vincent (Annie Clark)
was playing support when we arrived. A nice voice with a big clever black Epiphone guitar. Some foot stomping too. Very effective foot stomping. She had a guitar-trick with a piece of paper. I used to do it when I was teenager - except I used something oddly different to paper. I saw her twice before on Brooklyn Vegan
, but certainty of recognition escaped me at The Olympia.
Annie left. Sufjan came on to set up some things. No-one seemed to really notice.
The band came on a while later. Butterfly wings were worn by all, masks by some. It was pretty. Quite trippy. I think there was a ten piece band. Five brass, drums, guitar, bass, one Annie and one Sufjan. Lots of instruments, little bell things, small banjos, small mellow acoustic guitars, an old Harmony electric at the back, a Celesta
, and a drummer with a penchant for percussion. The dummer had one tiny piano.
Sound was good. Loud, and very dynamic - dry and intense when quiet. I think the guitarists were turning down their volume pots to keep things clean. The brass sounded great, but it seems that brass always sounds great. Everyone looked very happy - in a postmodern school-recital kind of way.
The show was long. Emma went for fizzy drinks near the end. The girl beside me carelessly bumped me with her behind. I assume she was unpleasantly drunk. Some guys talked during the quiet bits until they were shussed. The crowd felt strange in places. Some laughed at the wrong times, everyone robbed the inflatable Santa Claus and Superman figures. I wanted people to share and play with them. I guess the crowd felt strange in places...
Eventually they finished. They finished with "Chicago" - everyone's favourite song. I favour it too, but other songs caught me more. Perhaps "Metropolis" was the one that I'm trying to recall. My memory can't be trusted with these details...
I also had a ticket for "I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness" at Whelan's.
It was wasted. I bought it without paying attention to when Sufjan was playing.