Bobby and I caught the Metro into town and had a delicious dinner at Rosa Mexicano before the show. The 9:30 Club will always be forever epic in my mind because, when my sister and I first became interested in rock music, it seemed that all the good bands played there. My sister even won tickets once in a radio-station giveaway to see the band Garbage, but my mom refused to drive anywhere more than about ten minutes from home, so we weren't allowed to go. I finally got to go for the first time a few years ago to see Scythian. It's a club. A pretty dark and slightly dingy one! But it's the 9:30 Club, that source of so much mystique and longing from my adolescence.
It was not this packed for Xavier! Which is fine by me, misanthrope that I am (sorry Xavier). It was like this for Scythian, who are from DC and so have a lot of local fans. Bobby and I found a space on the balcony to stage left. We had a great view and didn't have to endure the crush that can ensue on the main floor. (During Scythian, a drunken young man near me insisted on jumping up and down repeatedly on my foot. That kind of shit makes me murderous. Rawr.)
The opening act, Ash Grunwald, was awesome. Bobby and I agreed this morning that he is probably the best opening act we've seen. Most of the time, I'm fairly embarrassed for the opening act, who has to play through people clearly milling around and engaged in everything but paying attention to her/him/them, but Ash--who plays as a one-man band--grabbed the crowd's attention and kept it until the energy level of his set was equivalent to that generated by some headliners I've seen. Also Australian, he plays rock with a strong blues component and said he loves playing in the U.S. because we get it--it was invented here! We did indeed get it--he was awesome!
Xavier played for almost two hours. He was exactly what I expected him to be: barefoot, earthy, intense. The first time Bobby played his music for me, it was love at first listen, and he is the kind of artist who gets on stage with his band and just riffs. And his music is beautiful and eclectic and energetic; I danced my ass off! His band--a bass guitar player and a drummer--were phenomenal. He would sometimes stand aside and let one or the other solo. He ended the encore with "Spirit Bird," my favorite of his songs. He played that one alone, with just a guitar. The song is a cry for support of the rights of Aboriginal people to their lands and culture; for as energetic as the club had been up to that point, you could have heard a pin drop when he played that song. It was gorgeous and heart-rending.
He played for two hours, which took us up to 11:35, and the Metro stops running at midnight! And we had to change trains to get home! So that was a mad dash to the Metro station--I was grateful for all those hours on the elliptical!--but after a light run and several sprints up escalators, we made both of our trains. (I could go on about the DC Metro. It is very extensive for a U.S. public transport system but sucks in pretty much every other way.) We made it home to Manchester at around 1:30 AM and fell into bed just before 2.
6:15 came very early this morning, and there was no avoiding it, as I am taking an intensive course this week to meet the reading requirement for my next level of certification, and I had to be to the class by 8. Uggggh. That was rough. I was worried that I would fall asleep in class and embarrass myself but, luckily, the instructor kept us busy enough that this didn't happen. I was grateful to come home and take a nap, however.
Okay, so I'll end with some Xavier for your listening pleasure. First up is "Spirit Bird":
And in a completely different vein is the intensely rhythmic and high-energy "Fortune Teller." This was the first of his songs that I fell in love with. I bellydance like mad to this song. (There's an image for you to have in mind as you listen to it!)
And because he rocked so hard, even though I'm just getting into his music, here's Ash Grunwald too.
This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!