I have lost any and all pretenses that I am “with it” when it comes to music. There was a time when I would at least occasionally listen to the radio and hear new songs when they came on. I also used to pay attention when interesting songs were used in commercials, and would use an app like Shazam to figure out the name of that song and the indie band who were making big bucks for licensing their song. Nowadays, I am happiest listening to my audiobooks on the way to and from work, listening to podcasts regularly, and when music is needed, searching for a specific song I know I love on youtube, and playing the music video. So much of what I listen to is at the very least 2 or 3 years old, and often decades older than that.
So sometimes I wonder how I ended up married to someone who is really into music. Someone who finds new bands, and is constantly listening to music and “with it” when someone new in his preferred genres pops up. Who is on top of it when his favorite bands are touring, and has access to a lot of music. Thankfully, despite our differing tastes, we do have some musical favorites in common, especially when you get into the bands and artists who were popular during the time that we were in high school. I think if we didn’t share at least some of those, I would be the one in trouble.
So when a few months back he found out that Ben Folds would be doing a short tour with the band Cake, we both got excited. Him because he loves live music, and me because I know and enjoy both of those artists! B would be about 6 months old at the time, and more than able to be looked after by her Nan or some other babysitter (though in this case, it was Nan. Hi Mom! Thanks again!), and the Boy and I were able to make the trip up to Columbia, MD to visit Merriweather Post Pavilion. Now, nerd that I am, I could go on about Marjorie Merriweather Post for whom it was named, and the Hillwood Estate (and the link to Mar-a-Lago), but that’s a topic for another day and a trip to back to Hillwood. Instead, I’ll share some stuff about the show that I saw.
The opening act was a band called Tall Heights. Sadly, we were late getting to the venue (curse you pre-show dinner line at Chipotle!), so heard very little of their act. Fortunately, we were able to witness their musical skills, since they joined Ben Folds during his portion that started the evening. It may not have been Ben Folds Five, but there were five dudes on stage including Ben, and they played a lot of great music, including much of the early stuff from the 90s, which I was sort of shocked to hear. I mean, I love the songs Brick and Battle of Who Could Care Less, but listening to Folds perform those songs that are more than 20 years old at this point felt like a rare treat. Perhaps it shouldn’t have – the night was full of highlights, and I think I heard all the songs of his that I love most, and didn’t come away disappointed at all. It was greatest hits, and Folds is so engaging that it made everything better. Despite having heard some of the music only one or two times before, I was entranced. Particularly funny was the story behind and performance of Levi Johnston’s Blues, whose chorus was ripped directly from Myspace. Anyways, enjoy a few short clips from this portion of the show.
Next up is Cake. I have a strong memory of hearing Cake for the first time on a family trip to the Adirondacks where my cousin played “The Distance” for us, and it was just SO COOL. The sound was like nothing I’d ever heard, and the inclusion of the vibraslap on nearly all their tracks was kooky in the best possible way. So while there were only a couple songs from that first record I was introduced to that I recognized, I kept hearing them over the years. Songs would pile up, and it turns out that there are a lot of Cake songs that I know and enjoy. So much so that I only found myself wondering what song was playing about 1/4 of the time, and even then I enjoyed the music. Sadly, the band didn’t play “Short Skirt, Long Jacket”, but there was an extended bit with a tree and the guy who won it promising to plant it and add it to the Cake Forest. And with that, enjoy some more clips from the show.
It was a really fun evening. We had beer, ate frozen custard, listened to great music. The traffic getting out of the show was not ideal, but we still managed to get home in about an hour, which is not bad at all for the combination of traffic and distance. The music was excellent, and Ben Folds especially has me interested in seeing what he’s up to as Artistic Advisor to the National Symphony Orchestra. If you have the chance to see either Ben Folds or Cake in concert, I would highly recommend it – neither takes themselves too seriously, and the evening will be a good one. Especially if you get it on a greatest hits night.