The first song, “Everything (Overture),” opens with a lovely slow echoing guitar sound. And then Bathgate and the violinist sing a lovely, slow duet—their voices play off each other very nicely and the lovely repetitive guitar riff is perfect background. The song picks up a bit for the chorus (which is mostly them singing do do dos) and the rousing chorus is a nice contrast to the quieter verses. I really like at the end when the second guitarist switches to the floor tom and adds to the intensity of the song.
He says that “No Silver” is “about living in Michigan and being broke.” The song is faster and a little heavier. There more good harmonies and a nice play between the loud acoustic guitar and the fiddle (this song is much more bluegrassy sounding). When the music drops off and its only drums and fiddle—the song booms.
He introduces “Salt Year” with “Think about the first person you ever had a crush on. so maybe not first crushes but…first lustses”
The slide guitarist messes up on the opening of the song and asks if they can do trainwrecks—his mother will never forgive him. Bathgate says they should leave it in. So they begin again, with that mournful slide guitar and Bathgate’s delicate vocals.
He tells a lengthy story about the final song “Levee.” He was in Maine (he had lobster ice cream for the first time–don’t try it, it’s terrible) and he was on an all night drive with a crying friend. She was inconsolable until the turned a corner and saw a gigantic harvest moon the filled the windshield. What’s odd about the story telling is that he seems to be telling the violinist rather than the audience. But that doesn’t matter because this song is fantastic. It begins with some more great harmony vocals (the violinist has a really great, slightly unusual voice. I loved that after each line, the violinist and the second guitarist play the floor tom with a great pounding rhythm. And the bass/guitar riff between verses is great too.
As the show ends, they reveal that they band brought pie for everyone!
[READ: February 5, 2016] “Climbers”
This story is about writers and the publishing world. But it comes from a wholly unusual angle that I liked a lot
The story begins with Gil raving about the world of Peter Dijkstra. Peter Dijkstra is a Dutch author who spent some time in an asylum. He wrote five novels in Dutch and recently had a novella and some short stories translated into English.
Gil works in publishing and says he would do anything–anything–to get Dijkstra published in the States.
There’s wonderful details like that Gil wears a shirt with a turtle where on a more expensive short an alligator might appear.
Rachel sat in the room with Gil. She was wearing a shirt with a joke from xkcd: “Sudo make me a sandwich.”
Meanwhile, Cissy had actually met Dijkstra in Vienna. He was staying in the place where he had rented a room for a week. They had a nice chat. She wanted to tel this story in the meeting but didn’t.
Across the room is Ralph, Cissy’s agent (he was able to find her a publisher when no one was buying)–although she had not been as successful as Rachel, whom he also published. She tells him that he should totally represent Dijkstra in the States. I enjoyed the joke about Ralph always making “regretful noises” when he comments.
Then we switch POV and scene to meet Dijkstra himself. He is enjoying Germany because everything is so mechanical. He a very conscious about not getting locked up in an asylum again.
It tracks back to Cissy again and we see that she is the one who got the ball rolling on this whole thing. She talked to Rachel who talked to Gil to see about getting Ralph to represent Dijkstra in the US.
Dijkstra has started writing in English, realizing it was the best way to get his credit card debt paid off and to keep him in Marlboros (which he chain smokes). So when he gets an effusive email from Cissy about getting representation in the states, he is keen. She gave him Ralph’s address and he sent him some of what he was working on.
The rest of the next few paragraphs is all about negotiation–what will Dijkstra allow to be seen, what will Ralph be able to do for him. Ralph excitedly says that they could have the next 2666 on their hands (even though most of them haven’t read that big book). Dijkstra seized on the phrase “protective of my work” which made him seem more mysterious and more desirable to Ralph.
When they receive some more of Dijkstra’s manuscripts they are totally taken with it. Gil wants to do anything he can to get these words into the hands of readers–including some patently insane ideas, which I thought were very funny.
I enjoyed the structure and set-up of this story so much that I was a little disappointed that it went where it did–fragmented and with everyone acting crazy (expect Dijkstra, who is on the receiving end of the lunacy). I’m not really sure how I would have liked it to end, but this wasn’t it, exactly. Nevertheless, I loved the language that DeWitt chose and the structure of the story and the sentences. I’d like to read more from her if its anything like this.