Thursday, July 08, 2004

Nothing Isn’t Nothing, Nothing’s Something That’s Important To Me 

On Wednesday night we went to Manchester to watch the wonderful Ben Kweller play a concert.
“He’s so tiny!” exclaimed three girls independently of each other as he took to the stage, one of them being Girlfriend.
Regardless of his minisculinity, and maybe even because of it, he certainly made a hell of a lot of noise. I love it when bands realise that their job is not just to play the songs. Real showmen understand that their mission is to entertain and put on a performance. Ben Kweller and his band certainly did that alright - they like so totally rocked, man.

More often than not, the bands we go to see in Manchester tend to be at one of the University venues. The car knows it’s own way there by now, which allows me to take a little nap en route, but the Night And Day is a new one for us, and it took several circuits of the town before it finally found somewhere suitable for itself to park. Then we ambled along to the venue, to be sure we’d know where to find it, before grabbing something to eat.
Ben himself was pacing up and down outside the door, making what seemed to be an Important Music Business Phone Call, and it reminded me that I must ring Dave, my imaginary music publisher, sometime soon to talk Important Imaginary Music Business stuff with him. I played it cool and resisted the urge to go up to him and say “Hey - you’re Ben Kweller!” He didn’t notice our presence, so all told I think everyone handled the situation with dignity and no small amount of coolness.
A similar thing happened before Snow Patrol’s recent Manchester gig, and look at them now. See my point? Well, exactly.

We ate at a restaurant with a giant window open onto Picadilly Gardens, and the council had put on a rather good swirling litter exhibition for us to enjoy. At one point a gust of wind deposited a great prize of litter onto our table - an empty Hula Hoops packet, pages from a newspaper, flyers, leaves - it felt like you were really interacting with the performance, and the place had an engaging and vibrant “street” quality which other restaurants struggle to attain but often fall short of.

The concert was an utterly brilliant sweat soaked affair, and then we listened to Mark Radcliffe chatting to John Cooper Clarke for the hour’s drive home, while my bloodstream snapped, crackled and bopped from the copious amounts of cranberry flavoured energy drink I was consuming to keep myself awake.
Marvellous. Who could ask for more?

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