Although I’ve known that bands do soundchecks for years, I never really knew what they were–did they play full songs? A bunch of songs? Don’t they just go “check, check, check?” Do they just jam (like I’m lead to believe Phish does). Are they really checking sounds at these thing? If so, why does every soundcheck I’ve heard sound so good? How long do they last? Do they play for real or just mess around?
Well, this soundcheck is 3 songs and lasts about 20 minutes. The band seems to have a little trouble getting started. There’s a couple of re-starts for “Tras” but then they rock out. And they sound great. Battles plays complex music (math rock). I’m always impressed when bands like this play their stuff so well live. I don’t know why I’m impressed by that, it’s what they should do, but I still am. After “Tras,” they play “Tonto” and after a little drum fill, they play “Atlas.” I have no idea what’s going on vocally with “Atlas” but I love it.
Battles is probably a band best seen live, but audio is good too. The band played a show at the Crocodile Club but a few KEXP listeners were allowed to come to the soundcheck. I couldn’t find this recording on KEXP (I downloaded from their podcast list) but it’s also available on Hiding Behind the Shed–a music blog that I’m going to have to check out more.
[READ: November 27, 2012] “Christmas Party”
Sometimes, It’s really nice to read a very simple story–a story that doesn’t have a lot of plot, just a lot of internal development.
The unusual thing (to me) about this story is that I assumed the characters were a lot older than they turned out to be. Perhaps I just read the name Harold as an older man’s name. Funny how that works out.
So Harold Bilodeau’s wife left him a few years ago. It was a fairly clean break. He bought out her half of their property and she moved in with a new man, Bud, on the other side of town. Everything is amicable. Everybody in town knows everything anyway, so there’s not much judgment.
Except that the town knew more than we did until the narrator revealed exactly why Harold’s wife left him. She was sleeping with Bud for several months. At the very least, the bartender downtown knew that (she was supposed to call his wife when Harold left the bar). But the bartender revealed the secret to Harold and that set everything in motion.
But still it was fairly amicable. They encountered each other downtown and the frost eventually went away. He was happy that she was happy. They didn’t invite him to their housewarming (Bud is a contractor and built her a beauty of a house) and Harold was a little curious about that but he decided it was easier for everybody that he didn’t have to decline. But now they have invited him to their Christmas party. And he spends much of the story mulling over whether or not to go.
He decides to go but he realizes that while she and her new husband (and their adopted baby) have moved on, he hasn’t. There’s a wonderful scene in which he watches Bud put the star on top of the tree and thinks bad thoughts. But then as the story reaches its end, Harold starts to lose it a bit. I feared that the story was going to go in a crazy direction, but Banks doesn’t let the story get away from him. Rather, the story resumes its look at an awkward situation and how you have to handle it in a small town.
As I said, not much happens in the story, but it’s a very effective one. This is the kind of story I would have hated in high school but which I totally enjoyed now.