All in all it was a good show Wednesday night, as far as the circumstances allowed. It was my first time at the 331 club since they started enforcing the noise regulations last November. I guess the inspectors finally got around to the bar, and cited it because it is located in an area that is not zoned for the live music. They are still allowed to have one microphone for amplified vocals. The bar has been around since the 1940's, so it is trying to get testimony that live musical performance has been a part of the bar since before the city was zoned, so it gets to be grandfathered in somehow.
But for now, they only have one mic. So it was sort of adorable to see Darren share that mic with his guitar. I think there is often a childlike quality to his performance, with his pressed tightly together and his eyes shut, but when he is hunched over, and his chin is almost resting on the guitar it just adds to it. If I wasn't familiar with the situation, or it was my first time, I'd probably be thinking that this guy had no stage presence, and I might even feel kind of uncomfortable because he never looked up. But it wasn't, so I though it was good. I actually don't think he needed to be as close to the mic as he thought he did.
During the third set, a very well dressed (and therefore out-of-place) couple came in and sat right in front of me. Making them the closest people to the stage. And they ordered food, and no one in the front orders food, you sit in a booth in the back, which is where people who aren't there for the music usually sit, but anyway. So they sit there, with their heads together, talk through the songs, and laugh at Darren. Like, tee hee hee, did I hear that right? It was really bothersome. When I left I accidentally got blue sharpie on the side of her Coach purse. I wonder if she'll find that as frustrating as I found her bad etiquette.
He played three sets, twenty-three songs total. Only eight have been previously released. Two of the songs I'd never heard before which is always nice. It's hard to get a song I haven't heard at least once. But I knew the lyrics to the rest, just from seeing him play so often. He almost never plays Ten Thousand Lakes, one of his most popular songs, because it requires a capo and he never has one. If you're lucky he can borrow one from another band that's playing, but he rarely remembers to ask. Last night he told us the reason he needed one was because he wrote that song when he used to smoke a lot, and now he can no longer sing it in that key. Fun fact!
Also I embarrassed myself tremendously. More than I ever have in the past. I try to have one interaction with him per concert because I think it might make me come across as a real person with good qualities, rather than just a stalker who comes to all his shows and then leaves without saying anything. So I stopped him as he was leaving because I wanted to know if he had any idea when the next cd would be out. I mean, last summer he said September, and in September he said in December. He decided not to even estimate anymore, but one song is completely done, and eight are almost done. So that part of the conversation went ok.
Then he went off script. I wasn't prepared for anything else.
He noticed Palmie in my lap, and tapped my wi-fi card and asked what it was. Also, he had been using a palm pilot for his set list all night. I tell him, he seems confused about it. The fact that the bar has wi-fi and I know that could be confusing. Then he asks if I have a good web browser. I say yes, and then I assume that there is going to be a follow up question about what I have, about which I have no clue. And that's when things go terribly wrong. I absolutely hate the phrase "verbal diarrhea", but that's what it was. I volunteer the information that I got it for paying tuition at pharmacy school, so it came with everything on it. Including a program with odd health information like lists of what medications can cause discoloration of urine. I'm getting sick from just recalling this conversation. Yeah, we talked about urine colors. But before he left I got back on track, and told him he should really stick with the September 2006 release date. He laughed pretty hard, and shrugged and said "maybe it's out already". So it ended well.
But I really think I need practice talking to people who aren't the very specific groups of people I talk to regularly. I think I need to learn how to have conversation. Is there a community college class I can take on that?