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Ballsiest Near-Immediate Walk Out Award:
The knowledge that a founding member of the Velvet fuckin' Underground is playing next door was enough to shake loose a big percentage of the room, who bailed on Low about a half-hour too early. After they'd finished though, there was no reason not to walk the 30 seconds it took to pop in for a bit of John Cale's set. Upon entry, greeted by a 71-year-old guy hammering at a keyboard, with fearsome studio musicians wanking to the high heavens behind him, an ominous row of guitars behind them, each waiting to be wanked upon in turn? Nope.
There are perfect songs from John Cale's solo career. Everything from Paris, 1919 is gorgeous. Vintage Violence is underrated. Any bone thrown to the VU mythology would have been a total thrill. But two minutes standing there, and, I dunno...had to bounce. According to this posted setlist, none of those things happened. Trusting the fight or flight instinct again proves its worth.
Instead, I found myself back around the corner at the Kennedy Theater, watching Alisdair MacLean from The Clientele perform in his gentle folk duo, Amor de Dias. The material from his two records with melancholy Spanish singer Lupe Nunez-Fernandez don't mean as much to me as something from Suburban Light, say, but they were gently great. MacLean mainly played virtuosic, positively floral acoustic guitar while Nunez-Fernandez sang, soft and sad. When he joined her, that voice, like a dirty wave on a British shore; It was a pleasure to be in a small space with it. The only negative thing I have to say is that the lobby staff continued to display cookies that weren't actually still on sale. Which...rude.
The only real choice at around 1 AM was a stop in to the Lincoln Theater to catch the platonic ideal of stoner metal, Sleep, and frequent the platonic ideal of stoner late-night concert going, the pizza slice and cupcake trucks parked outside. The California band are famous in certain circles for their cult-classic 1992 record, Dopesmoker, comprised of one hypnotic hourlong song. That might sound like a high, inaccessible bar to clear for enjoyment, but the band was easy to enjoy. What's so hard to understand about a towering Godzilla guitar riff? You walk in, you bang your head, you move on into the night. You get a cupcake with butter pecan frosting on your way out, but then you totally move on into the night.
Bye, Hopscotch. See you next year, I hope.
Set I Was Saddest to Miss on Thursday:
Having seen local heavyweights like Marnie Stern and Matthew Dear on multiple occasions, my late arrival in Raleigh was most tragic for a missed opportunity to catch Chicago singer/songwriter Angel Olsen, yet again. From the video above, it seems her twang was in fine fettle.
Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeff_klingman.