I usually take notes when I go to see a show—little things here and there that I don’t want to forget or that make me laugh. I went to see Albuquerque’s The Grave of Nobody’s Darling at El Paseo on Sept. 4 and made the following astute observations.
9 pm: I’ve heard good things about The Grave of Nobody’s Darling. Caught the last 40 seconds of a song at Corazón a few weeks ago, and I think they’re gothic Americana or something. I need to investigate.
9:28 pm: OK, five bucks for three bands seems more than fair, and some of these bands had to drive to get here. One should never mind supporting musicians.
9:34 pm: Got the stink eye from the bartender because all I want is a Coke. Give me break, dude! I have to drive and I just had dental work today. This means painkillers, and I don’t feel like dying in my sleep.
9:41 pm: Notice weird girl I had horribly awkward date with last year. Don’t make eye contact—it could cost me my very life!
9:48 pm: OK, The Grave of Nobody’s Darling has managed to impress me considerably in about two seconds, but Americana isn’t a fair description. I might call it indie-country-rock with just a touch of a Chris Isaak-ish surf-rock sound. Singer-guitarist Jessica Billey takes her cues from Lucinda Williams, but still has a solid voice. There’s some less-than-inspired lyricism (something about Kentucky and missing someone—hardly original), but I am willing to overlook this because the music has bridged some serious genre gaps.
9:52 pm: Bill Palmer of Hundred Year Flood is here to watch the show, and points out the pedal steel guitar player to me. It’s electronic music genius Bud Melvin, and his mustache precedes him. The sounds coming from his instrument at times resemble backup vocals and are almost Radiohead-y. Holy shit! Melvin just pulled a banjo out of nowhere and is picking that thing like he’s lightning-fingered Earl Scruggs or something.
10:06 pm: Bassist Clifford Grindstaff is noodling on the bass, but it’s somehow not pissing me off. Clearly, this band is magical.
10:09 pm: I know where I recognize that drummer from! It’s been driving me nuts, but I’ve got it: It’s Jason Aspeslet from Stephanie Hatfield & Hot Mess. Dude gets around, I guess. He holds his sticks so delicately but lays a solid beat. I fancy myself a rhythm savant, and he has yet to speed up or slow down a song. He’s clever and creative, but sneakily so.
10:12 pm: This drunk guy yelling unintelligible gibberish at the band is nobody’s friend. As cool as the asshole that heckles the band is, it’s all I can do not to punch his head off.
10:25 pm: The band finishes its set to less-than-enthusiastic applause. It must feel really great to be background noise. Call me crazy, but I think people should at least pay attention to a band they just paid money to see. Is it hard to clap? No. And it makes a world of difference. But rest assured, The Grave of Nobody’s Darling: I was paying attention and I’ve got the notes to prove it.
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