Thursday, April 7, 2011

Getting Together with The New Pornographers

When I went to see The New Pornographers last year, I had one goal in mind. I would stand next to keyboardist Kathryn Calder and her kicking pipes.

To do this, I showed up at Seattle's Showbox at the Market early. Really early. I thought the show started at seven pm, so I figured if I got there at five, it would leave time enough to get front and off center in front of her keyboard.

The show actually didn't start until nine.

But this meant I was the super first person in line. Like that guy who showed up to the Springsteen show I went to at 3pm Sunday when the show was 8pm Monday. We'd both get massive respect from the superfans (but not really) and get our pick of spots right where we wanted it (him, Bruce, me, Kathryn).

When the doors opened, I rushed the stage and got right next to a keyboard of some sort. People filed in at a much more leisurely pace after me. The first opening band comes on and is thoroughly adequate. Their adequate-oscity is shown in how only half the floor is full. However, people have taken all the spots touching the stage.

The next opening act comes out, and they're much better, they've got an interesting style and a pretty strong lead guitarist. Due to their goodness (and their proximity to the start of the Pornographers), the floor is now completely full up. If I wanted to move, stage dive, perform piracy or breathe, I couldn't.

They finish and the roadies start setting up for The New Pornographers. They swap out drum sets, tune up different guitars and on the other side of the stage... push out a new set of keys. It's at this point I realize I'm not standing in front of a keyboard. Oh no, that's a synthesizer. I'd like to take this time to point out, I didn't actually time travel to the '80s, but it was damned equivalent.

When the band comes on, my fears are confirmed, and I'm sequestered away from Kathryn, banished to the Neko Case side of the stage. I content myself with the fact that the Pornographers put on an awesome show and I have a great time at it. Also making things easier, I decide after the show, I'm going to hang out outside of the venue and wait until the band comes. And then, then I will get a picture with Kathryn.

When the show ends, everyone files outside of the Showbox. A couple fans mill around, eating hot dogs and waiting for the band. After a half hour, I'm the only one remaining. But also after a half hour, I realize the band must have taken some other exit outside of the place.

Bass player John Collins
(please note, not a woman)
Defeated, I head to my car. I had parked about five blocks away, so it's a bit of a journey to get there. On my walk, I tell myself “OK, Kevin, you can drive by the front of the theater before hitting the freeway. If you see them, get out, get you picture and go. If not, oh well, that's expected.”

At this point, I must describe John Collins, the bass player in The New Pornographers. He's a big guy, probably about 6'4”. somewhere north of 200 pounds and has a huge Grizzly Adams beard.

As I drive by the Showbox, I look over and think I see him. “That's the bass player!” I exclaim as I pull over to the side of the road and park. I get out of my car and cross the street and start walking along the sidewalk towards him.

When I get up close to him, I realize that's not John Collins, but one of the ugliest women I've ever seen. However, I don't want to just turn around and head back to my car, because that might offend this man/woman, since she'd know I had confused her for a bass player in an indie superband, and she might be offended (don't worry, it doesn't make sense to me either).

Instead, I walk 40 feet past. I figure this distance is enough to ease off suspicion (don't worry, it doesn't make sense to me either). I then turn around, and the first thing I see is Neko Case. My vision then adjusts, and I realize that the entire band is walking towards me.

I burst up to them and tell them I thoroughly enjoyed the show, and can I get a picture with Kathryn.

They laugh, but did I succeed in my goal? Did I get a picture with her? Well, to quote a line from the band itself... “Success, hurrah.”

Hurrah, indeed.

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