December 15, 2009

I knew you all along, John Roderick

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Mississippi Studios is still an intimate venue, even after the big remodel. I was a big fan of the airstream trailer and the white canvas outside where they used to beam flickering black and white movies in the summer. But what I loved most about the small little venue was the cozy red interior that made it feel like you were in North Portland's living room. The little pillows on the chairs and the long red curtains that served as the backdrop to so many musicians over the years. The pillows and the curtains are gone, but it's still cozy and red, albeit a little more spacious.

On a Sunday night not long ago, I went to Mississippi Studios for dinner and talking and music and inspiration. Michael Hebb made dinner for 30 and John Roderick and Kathleen Edwards were there, in conversation and song, celebrating Roderick's newly published book of tweets, Electric Aphorisms.

It was a lovely evening. I found myself pulled into the conversation on stage between Publication Studio's Matthew Stadler, the book's publisher, and Roderick and Edwards. They talked and sang about truth and lies and fans and Twitter and crying and death and murder while I ate winter salad, beef stew with creme fraiche and dinner rolls. The red walls aided the stew in keeping me warm and feeling homey.

Roderick said he had written a song about a public tragedy, one that was displayed over and over on TV. The space shuttle disaster. He talked about how humbled he was when he heard that people at NASA had listened to the song. Then, he started playing the song.

I hadn't heard The Long Winters prior to the week of the dinner - I had heard of them, but never listened to their music. I did no research before I went - I like to discover in person. But the amazing thing was, as he started playing the song, The Commander Thinks Aloud, I recognized it. In fact, it was a song that I loved and had listened to hundreds of times for years on a random CD that I had because it felt emotional and hearty to me, but I never knew who sang it or what it was about. It felt intense and powerful in a sing-your-guts-out kind of way. I love those kind of songs. And when he started playing it, I got all choked up because now it all made sense. And I loved it even more.

I began feeling amorous towards everyone on stage, towards the people around me, as I experienced the moment with them. Of course, they had no idea and I swallowed my emotional reaction. I left in a hurry when it was over, as there was going to be mingling and heaven knows I'm awful at mingling and I didn't want to ruin the spirit of my moment.

It was awesome. And I still love my moment.


Ellen said...

i really loved this post.

Todd said...

Mississippi Studios is awesome. The Long Winters are an awesome band. "The Commander Thinks Aloud" is an awesome song. Kathleen Edwards is REALLY awesome.

This night must have been awesome.

Wish I could've been there to see it too.