Monday, July 27, 2015

I Spent A Few Moments with Titus Andronicus and Beach Slang This Weekend

Live in the Moment

There were lots of moments this weekend. I mean, there are always lots of moments, obviously. Some stuff I heard people say over the weekend, though, made me take a look back to kind of see how moments of sadness, happiness, whatever are so fleeting and how they come together to form... ...well...

There were the moments when I watched from high up in the stands as CoolDaughter #1 looked up at the clock after finishing her races this weekend. How she hung her head after adding seconds on each of her events. How she walked, sullen and hunched, from the cooldown pool back to gather her stuff from the bleachers.

But I also watched her at other times -- from that same spot up in the stands -- as she smiled and laughed with her friends and teammates. During those moments, they all spoke energetically about some things I couldn't hear; and I could see that my oldest daughter is growing into her own person. She seems to be pretty happy.

CoolMom and I shared several moments watching J Mascis and Dinosaur Jr. pummel the crowd outside at The Stone Pony with songs like "Freak Scene" and "Out There." The noise surrounded us as I stood there with my hands on her shoulders and thought back to our early days together, days when we'd listen to Dinosaur Jr. and The Replacements and Pavement and Lemonheads and Yo La Tengo in our tiny apartment or in our little red Tercel. We need to make an effort to have more moments like those.

I had to give up my tickets for Saturday night's Titus Andronicus release show at Shea Stadium. I didn't think that, after the swim meet, I'd be able to make it to Brooklyn in time for the show. I headed to Asbury Lanes instead. I'll have a post -- a few probably -- here soon about all of the wonderful moments I've spent there. On this night, though, there were a few moments of regret as I got reports back from friends at Shea.

Then Beach Slang took the stage at Asbury Lanes. James Alex stopped the band's set about halfway through. Just for a moment. It was their first time at Asbury Lanes as a headliner, and the crowd was singing and screaming every lyric back at them -- "All Fuzzed Out" (which may be a perfect song), "American Girls and French Kisses," "Dirty Cigarettes," "Punk or Lust."

"Whatever happens in your life, whatever you do for a living... ...whether you crunch numbers in a spreadsheet or something else... ...I just hope you get to have a moment like this. I just hope that you get to experience a feeling like this."

After their set, I introduced myself to James as the guy who'd interviewed him over email a few weeks ago. A big sweaty hug and an outpouring of gratitude. Later, he would call one of my pictures one of his favorites ever. That was a nice moment.

Titus Andronicus. I've never professed to be a journalist here. This is a blog. These are, mostly, my personal thoughts and feelings. Sometimes I veer into regurgitating press releases, but I like to think it's only for stuff I really, really like. I really, really like Titus Andronicus. I feel a connection with Patrick Stickles through our common experiences: growing up Catholic in the Jersey 'burbs, being in possession of an ongoing and relentless internal dialogue. "You will always be a loser." "I hate to be awake."

The moment I found out Sunday afternoon that I'd be going to Night 3 of the Titus Andronicus release residency at Shea Stadium was a good one. The moment when Patrick Stickles smiled broadly and hugged me while wearing his CoolDad Music T-shirt was a good one. The moment he turned around on stage, still wearing his CoolDad Music T-shirt was a good one. That moment that Siobhán at the merch table took my hand, so happy to meet me. That was good one, too.

The set itself was full of amazing moments. Songs from The Most Lamentable Tragedy: "No Future Part IV: No Future Triumphant," "Stranded (On My Own)," "Lonely Boy," "Dimed Out," "(S)He Said / (S)He Said," "Fatal Flaw," "Come On, Siobhán." Songs from the band's back catalog: "Upon Viewing Breughel's 'Landscape with the Fall of Icarus,'" "Fear and Loathing in Mahwah, NJ," "To Old Friends and New," "A More Perfect Union," "In A Big City," "In a Small Body." Everything delivered to a packed, sweaty house of friends, family, and fans. I was front and center, taking pictures, getting jostled around, and smiling.

In honor of their upcoming world tour, Titus Andronicus penned "#TMLT Around the World." In premiering the song last night, Stickles discussed the impermanence of moments -- happy and sad. You won't be sad forever, he said; and relish the good times because they're gone too soon. Stickles spent the song's middle section in the crowd, leading a sing along of the song's refrain " [Tumult] Around the World!"

I moved to the back of the room as Stickles began the band's final song(s). "I Tried to Quit Smoking" led wildly, though seamlessly, into a series of covers that ended with "I Saw Her Standing There."

My train pulled into the station at 2:23 AM. I always love the experience of walking home alone through our sleeping neighborhood in the wee hours. Last night it gave me a chance to reflect on all the moments of the weekend and many of the moments since I started CoolDad Music with that piece about Titus Andronicus at The Stone Pony. I've been through a lot since then. Our family has been through a lot. The site has been through a lot. But we're all here where we are today because of the accumulation of the moments in our lives. At this moment, I don't really want to be anywhere else.

Here are a few moments from Titus Andronicus at Shea Stadium:

And Beach Slang at Asbury Lanes:

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