It didn’t go as planned.
The preparations began weeks ago. There was a yard that had languished all winter, overran by moles and weeds, that needed tending. There were flowers to pot and there were beer cans from last year’s Backyard Session that needed to get acquainted with a trash can. There was a house to deep clean and there was a playlist in need of making. There was a grocery list, two pages long, and beer to procure. There were invitations to be verbalized to friends and family. It would, it did, and it always does, take time to bring a band here to the Ozarks, off the beaten path and into the woods…
All of this we knew. And all of it we took in stride because, in the end, there would be friends and music in this neck of the woods, and it would be good. Two weeks of nightly yard work and house cleaning, borderline panic attacks and prodding everyone we knew in this here town to make it out, and all of that, no matter how exhausting, was for something.
We booked hotel rooms for the 4 band members weeks ago only to find out a couple of days before the show we only needed one as there were just two Saintsenecans touring so that money went straight down the proverbial pisser. We scoffed at the mistaken Richmond date on the tour poster the manager dispersed to the masses because seriously, there’s no Richmond, Missouri is there? No, surely not. SURELY. We begged friends to blow off family and plans on Easter Sunday to help us make something special a reality and they obliged, squeezing us in between egg hunts with the kids and ham with the family.
When the Allman Brothers were cranked too loudly for me to hear my phone ring just an hour before the band was to arrive as my best friend and I pretended to be domesticated and cook in the kitchen, I didn’t worry. When the band said that they’d been sent to the wrong city, hours and hours from here, and that all those plans that others might have blown off for us was for not, I’ll admit, I panicked. But then. Then something happened. People were called, people were informed, and people started to trickle in. People that I had not invited, not because I did not want to, but simply because they were friends I’d long lost touch with. We convened in the yard, a crowd in my backyard and a crowd in my parent’s front yard across the way, both larger than any this street has seen in a good long while. The panic subsided and the laughing began.
It’s been tough to frame the narrative of the day the band came to the backyard, Spring 2012 Edition, but I’m there now. The process to getting here was equal parts 12 Steps and photo-videographic retrospection : At first, I was powerless. Couldn’t have teleported that band here if I wanted to. But had I those powers, what would we have missed? Hours of drinking a homebrew and conversing with people I had not seen in years, in the midst of a crowd that is typically only lucky enough to gather for special occasions like a hitchin’ of two pals. In the early hours of the day I made a mental list of all the people to which I felt I’d have to make amends, those that penciled us in despite the importance of the day to their families and now I think it’s probably okay. Besides, to act as if the day were a mess would be to deny the fact that the next morning I suffered not from a hangover but instead from sore ribs and cheeks, those muscles worn out from a full day of laughter and smiling.
In the end I’m at a place where there is a sign hanging over the front door and that sign reads “Fuck that, who cares about anything but love and friends and music?”. There is a tendency among music writers to get too wrapped in what we’re doing and it’s so easy to lose sight of why we’re doing it at all. Those of us who feel the songs so much that it occasionally hurts our feelings, those of us that take the music so seriously because of what it has done for us, those of us that insist on devoting our precious time to the mostly thankless endeavor of putting those feelings down and hoping to turn just one person on to something that has done wonders for us, we can get lost. (Jesus, WILL YOU LOOK AT THAT RUN-ON SENTENCE?! Moving on…)
And it’s easy, much more so than one would imagine, to lose those important parts in the hassle of arrival times and attendance and costs. If anything, this past weekend was a lesson: Who gives a shit about that shit? There were friends, there was good food and good beer, there was a sun shining over the Ozarks on that day. There were hearty chuckles, nearly non-stop, and there was warmth, not the meteorological kind, but the heartfelt kind on this street and really, that’s all I was looking for when I decided that attempting to do this sort of thing was worth it. And it is worth it.
It didn’t go as planned, that’s true. It went better.
Saintseneca :: James [mp3]
Saintseneca :: On Or No (Live at Daytrotter) [mp3]
On a personal note, there are thanks. Thanks to Ashley and Waterman, for showing up, for staying late despite responsibilities, for brewing us beer, for liking me at all. Seriously, you two. SERIOUSLY. Thanks to my family for cooking and listening to me go off my rocker about these things for weeks and months before they actually occur, if they ever do at all. Thanks to the neighbors, the residents of this little street, for taking pictures and just showing up. Thanks to Sarah and Jessica for their photographs. And thanks, sincerely, to EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON. who was here, for however long. It warms the cockles of my heart when this shit flies and boy, it flew Sunday.
And thanks to the band. Your perseverance in even making it here was amazing. You were kind and gracious and you sound damn fine live. We’ll be hitting you up next time on tour because, by God, I’m getting keg stands out of the both of you…