Saturday, April 23, 2011

Detroit, Darling, You.

Lately this is my experience outside of Cleveland: these gray rainy places are growing tentacles and groping at me as I speed on past. But not in the shiny collectible way they were before, all fun and games. Instead in this sincere desperate shoving pressing grope, like the cities want to crawl on me and inside me and just snuggle up all round in my warm intestines. Yeah, that's what it's like, it's like a cat stuck outside in April. Millvale and Toledo and Akron and Detroit and Youngstown. Strays that I've been feeding and now they're expecting the next step. And maybe that's right, maybe I'm meant to be moving down the circles of decay, find new wet gritty corners. Maybe I notice the groping and grasping because I'm so ready to fall in love with something new I'm falling in love with everything.

Also I think it's funny how many people I've known in my life with the last name Jones, and they've all been decent sorts. Wendy and Nate and Sarah. So this is what happened. Sarah got these tickets for the Pixies in Detroit, and Perren couldn't go, so I went because it takes nothing, literally nothing, to convince me to go to Detroit. I fucking love Detroit. It's so goddamn blue and gray, all of it, always. So we made this mad rush, and got there in plenty of time, and talked about stuff and made plans. We go over the Great Sailboat Bridge, and I'm all like Sarah, watch and tell me if you see Michigan get flatter, and she does! Cause it does it immediately. I'm getting a little obsessed with this idea of state borders, that the whole terrain changes so drastically along these little thin lines I had believed were basically arbitrary. And of course if I had thought that through all the way, I would have long ago realized the subtleties of them not being arbitrary at all, but that was a theme this night, the realizations of obvious but not necessarily important things. Point is, I can tell when I'm in Ohio, or Pennsylvania, or Michigan, or Indiana. The trees are all different, the low bushes too. In Michigan for instance, along the border and into the city are all these little thick dark pointy trees, that give the place the look of an orchard. It's real lake country, not just part of it like Ohio, but all of it. It's marshy and northerly. The color scheme is cargo ship.

She failed to mention that this was the Doolittle Anniversary Tour, and they were going to play the entire album, like in entirety. Once she mentioned that, my chest just sort of jumped and seized up and stayed that way, which is what happens when I get excited of course, and that's the feeling I go searching for every day. Being really excited and filled with anticipation is the absolute best most addictive feeling, and I wonder if that's why I don't watch horror movies because it's the same physical reaction as being scared right? Only without wanting to think about it over and over again for days.

I thought I had been the Fox theater before when Belle and Sebastian came, but now I wonder, because this theater is so very shiny and decked out, I feel sure I would have remembered that. But that show was a long time ago, and we had a whole group that had been sitting on the van floor for hours, and we were young and way less comfortable in our skins, so far less prone to look around and notice things like hidden windows. Turned out the seats Sarah got were Row A, which wasn't orchestra pit but right before it, and we were basically 6 rows from the stage in a packed theater of 5,000. That's a power rush itself. Though I do wonder about who spends 150 on a seat when you can be the 6th row for 60? Where's the real difference there? These guys in front of us kept turning around and waving imperiously at the peasants. I would have thrown a beer at them in a more productive life. I had quite enough beer soaking into my leather boots though, running like a little hillside creek down the seats to pool at the railing. The show was so good, I didn't care, and didn't even notice till we left.

First it was some B Sides, then all of Doolittle, and then like three sets of encores that were basically an entire other concert. The whole place full of 30 year olds and forty year olds screaming and laughing, something you don't get to see enough of in the real world. People had dressed up for the nineties. All gathered together in huge groups of friends they had known since high school, having planned this night in advance the carpooling and the calling off work and stuff. The young ones, who could usually be found isolated and aloof in corners on their phones, stood out like sore self aware thumbs.

I think I would have taped every minute of that show, except I consciously kept telling myself to put the fucking camera down asshole. BUT IT WAS SO GOOD. Like, these clips don't even begin to do it justice, because I had planned to tape these songs, and I Love You was the crowning moment of the night but it was too late, I was already into it. U-Mass too. I did record Debaser, it's on my youtube if you wanna watch, but the it's not as good a recording. But it does sort of show you that jump of OH THE ALBUM'S BEGINNING.

After the show, I waited in the lobby while Sarah braved the merch table for 30 minutes. A guy who was either crazy or drunk walked by me, could have been either really. Didn't look crazy, but then he stopped and turned around and got really up in my face and said very seriously "I'm a poet and I have two published books and you, you have the bluest eyes. Your eyes are just swimmable." See, that first part of the sentence? Definitely crazy right? And he didn't leave. He just stood there looking at me, and giving me his number, and talking in his sort of sane drunken charmingly fracture way that I did actually like against my best judgement. Which was fun, but at one point he asked if he could touch my chin, and I was like sure. He cupped my chin in his hand, and lifted it up just a bit to look me in the eyes. "It's not just that they're blue, they're also almond shaped, they have this dip. Oh that dip! And your eyebrows, you have the most complete eyebrows. And a little pug nose. You're so beautiful." Then he just went back to talking about nonsense, and would stop again and stare again and then run off to his friends and then run back. It was the most flattering drunk attention from a stranger I've ever had, but it crazy. He asked if he could kiss my neck and I said uh uh, no, I've been sick, I'm covered in sick, and then he asked if we'd come have a drink at the casino and I declined cause we had to go back to Cleveland, but you know what drunk or crazy man? You were cute enough. If I didn't have to work, I would have stayed and had a drink. I did give him my number. I said to myself, at the very least some crazy guy can entertain me on the phone every once in a while. I'm back into talking on the phone these days, not texting or emailing, but like talking for a while. I missed that a lot it turns out.

The lesson here is I am the world's biggest sucker for compliments. There has never been a girl more willing to listen to what you like about me than me.

After Michigan tried to kiss me, Ohio tried to drown us in thunder and glass as we slid our way home, over the sailboat bridge and past the chemical plants with American flags painted on their sides, and billboard for strip clubs and dark lit scrap yards with mysterious flames and miles and miles of wet wet road.

More photos from the concert here.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing this. I really wanted to go see the Pixies on this Doolittle tour when they came to Mpls but am ashamed to admit that I'd have had to go alone, and my self esteem isn't strong enough for that anymore.

    God I love Doolittle. And I love when drunk poets pay attention to me, which is only in my dreams.

    PS - All the good poets are drunks.

  2. Thanks... for seeing the Pixies and seeing them in my hometown... I would have shired you around town and showed you some of the sights...

    ...and yes, it would have been worth it to me had you told me last year that you were coming for the Pixie show and I would have had to wait to move to Nebraska to have met you...

  3. I. am. so. jealous. Seriously, I'm boiling. But I'm also kind of ecstatically happy for you, because you got to be part of magic. Thanks for sharing it!

  4. i wish i had known about this. I got to see them when i was 14 at music hall opening for love & rockets. at the time Doolittle was their most recent album. To see it in its entirety is an amazing thing

  5. I feel sure that if I could just go to this show every week, I would be a completely different and better person.

    Now Mogwai is really going to have to impress me :)

  6. I know this post wasn't about Cleveland, per se, but it sort of made me homesick for those gray, gray days that come in off the lake and stick around for nine months out of the year.

  7. See, I like those days too. My sister thinks I'm crazy.

  8. Damn. I had no idea the Pixies were playing Detroit--I might have tried to get there. I saw them open for Love and Rockets at the Fox Theater in 1989 (yes, I'm ancient). I actually wasn't even into the Pixies yet at the time and only saw the last half of their set, but Kim Deal was the highlight on "Into the White."

    Sounds like a fun night. Every time I went to Detroit in college to see a show someone on the street either tried to sell me drugs or tried to buy drugs from me. I need to get back there again sometime.


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