Gentle Reader, I am not terribly familiar with much modern music. Raised on Opera, Swing, and some very early Rock-and-Roll, I used to be completely ignorant regarding anything from the seventies until the early aughts. Still, I’ve been working on rectifying that over the years, and have developed a taste for a lot of modern styles. This is fortunate, because my cousin, George, has been playing in, writing songs for, and managing bands for the last age and a half – and if I hadn’t been working on familiarizing myself with modern music, I wouldn’t be able to appreciate his stellar talents. An album cover from his most recent band:
It was with pleasure that Maman and I were finally able to accept an invitation to one of his shows, up in Seattle. I can’t recall the name of the venue, but it was in a converted warehouse in a part of town with an unsavory reputation – naturally. We were to take the ferry to Seattle, where we’d catch a lift with my Aunt Carole and Uncle Larry – the June and Ward Cleaver of the family. Very kind people, and very loving, but very conventional. The lot of us were to meet Auntie Lall at the show – she’s George’s mother; if you don’t recall, she is trés bohemienne, living a lifestyle suitable for dark moralistic tales. Maman and I? We get along famously with both branches of the family tree, and like to think that we fall somewhere in between. Nonetheless, having both sides together in a venue like that was due to be an absolute train wreck, and I’d be lying if I said we didn’t think it would be… entertaining, shall we say?
Uncle Larry, who is driving, follows the directions of his G.P.S. to the letter, and we arrive at the address for the venue – the door appears to be boarded up, though. Taking a quick look around, I cautiously announce that we’re probably meant to wander down the alley to get to the door. I am correct, as the bouncer/doorman gestures at us. Taking a look around, I begin to think that Carole and Larry’s church clothes may be out of place. Of course, Maman is dressed for a garden party, and I’m dressed – well, like this:
So perhaps I can’t really say anything about any one else’s outfits. The other patrons were a curious combination of rave kids, rock and rollers, and metal heads. It was quite a curious compilation. Typically, around Carole and Larry, I’m on my best behavior, but then again, around Auntie Lall I’m at my most extreme. As we all stood there, uncomfortable, leery, I sighed heavily and whirled around on one exquisite boot heel. “Excuse me, sir,” I asked the bouncer, “Where the hell’s the bar?” He grinned, pointing across the rapidly filling dancefloor/moshpit, at a rickety staircase. “Right. Thanks.” I turned back to the relations, and said “Let’s go,” before striding purposefully through the crowd. I was in need of a social lubricant before the situation because any more awkward; Maman was right behind me; with a shrug, Carole and Larry followed through this:
I went up to fetch the drinks while the relations found seating. Naturally, that’s where I ran into Auntie Lall. She bought the round and an additional shot – which I only took at her insistence. “Live a little, honey, it’s on me,” she said. When we rejoined the others, Aunt Carole asked if we would be able to see the show better from downstairs. It was very brave of her, I must say, but I was glad when Lall chortled and said “Oh, no, darling! I never mingle with the riff-raff. George won’t be on for an hour, anyway.”
Well, after a number of drinks – my aunt is very generous – she and I popped out for a cigarette. When I turned towards the dance floor to head towards the door, Lall caught my elbow and steered me backstage. “Hang on, lovey, just wait a moment – I’ll go find your cousin,” and with that, Lall was out of sight. I never did get that smoke, though, because before she found me, I was politely escorted back to the front of house – my cries of “but I’m with the band!” going unheeded. I scampered back up stairs, just in time to discover why Lall had been taking so long – George and his band were up.
After George’s set was over, Lall wandered back to us, and asked if we were ready to “get the hell out of there, loves.” At this point, all of us were – delightful though his set was, the show had been rough on all of us. We were led backstage again, en masse, to congratulate my cousin. He admitted that the show went pretty well, but wasn’t as impressed with himself as we were. As we exited the stage door to the night air, we went our separate ways.