Sunday, October 25, 2009

Richmond Fontaine and Stendhal syndrome at KSET

Back when I finished high school and started working on my first job my best friend and I used to go out to a club in downtown Zagreb. She liked a guy who frequented there so we hanged there too, conversing and hoping he would make an appearance, even a short one, so she would take one look at him and her mission would be fulfilled for that day. As I gathered she was hopelessly in love with that guy, yet she was not trying to meet him, or to approach him in any way other than watching him from a distance. That was quite uncommon for her as she usually is pretty straightforward about issues of the heart but I allowed for her space, not prying into something she was not ready to divulge.

So, days went by...

One evening we walked into our club and there he was, talking to a friend of ours we were coming to meet. We approached their table and our friend started to introduce us. She only got as far as him saying his name and grasping her hand to shake it when she short circuited... just stood there, opening and closing her mouth without any words coming out, panic-stricken and watery-eyed... overwhelmed. Really overwhelmed.

It was a scene most peculiar and fascinating, scene so unexpected outside of stories that it etched itself to my mind with holographic acuity.

And time went by...


I went to Richmond Fontaine concert on Thursday at KSET. I had that on my itinerary for as long as it was first announced, and wished for it even longer and it was really worth the wait.

Opening act were Eileen Rose and The Holy Wreck and they were warm, energetic and wonderful. Part of Eileen Rose's Holy Wreck crew is Joshua Hedley who just self-released his Green Eyes EP. During the concert he sang cover of Jagger/Richards song "Dead Flowers" so yearningly and beautifully that it defies my description efforts. Now that I have listened through his EP for a few times I can say that all his material is equally good and has that lovely quality that listening to it feels like a personal concert - acoustic and intimate - almost as if you could speak to him in between songs.

And then comes Richmond Fontaine...

...and it was surprise after surprise for me.

It is so weird and so exquisite to be proven wrong in your expectations as there is so little that offers any genuine surprise nowadays. As soon as RF started to play I started to suspect that special treat is afoot.

I really love their music and I hardly ever took their albums from my car last few months (that is where I do most of my music listening now) but they sound entirely different live than on the albums. So much more vibrant, post-rock-ish, almost progressive. Fascinating. Songs were vivified in so much more substantial, firmer and richer musical form that it completely left me in awe. For me it is always magical to see musicians, band members, enter a state of perfect unison and proficiency that their act resembles a collection of puzzles falling into place and that magic was clearly present in this concert.

And it was only during encore that I managed to gather enough composure to remember to record a bit of their act. It is dark, and fuzzy, and as much as I love multifunctionality of my mobile phone - recording in the dark is not one of his strong points - but, here it is; Richmond Fontaine on KSET stage in Zagreb 22/Oct/2009:

The Earth stood still when they were performing their last song of the evening and then they stopped and Dan came off stage and straight to me and said "I've noticed you recording the concert, are you going to upload it to you tube or something?" and this is where the upper, seemingly unconnected part kicks in. For a brief moment all of that holographic memory traits flooded in and I just stood there, panic-stricken and opening my mouth with no words coming out. And then old habit nudged me in the back saying that Time waits for no man (or in this case overwhelmed females) and it is move it or lose it for me now - so I moved and finished our conversation, and met Dan and Willy, and am more pleased now then a pig in a puddle.

And lastly, on completely different note, I've noticed that none of their promo pictures do them justice in regards of their appearance. In person they are really really much more handsome and warm, approachable-looking and nice and it is a great pleasure for me that I had an opportunity to meet them.

Thank you guys for this great concert, and I'm looking forward to next time you come around!

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