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2007-02-22 - 10:50 a.m.

Still have the stamp on my right hand from the show last night. We saw the Lemonheads. The Oranges Band opened for them and then this other band from Philly called Vietnam. Vietnam was loud. When they got to an especially loud song, all guitars and heavy bass and thunder, Dickie yelled, "This must be the Tet Offensive!" I wasn't there for that--I was still teaching at that point--but his girlfriend told me about it later and I needed to get it down.

So, the Lemonheads. I'm not sure what to say. I was never a huge fan but liked them fine enough. I think the Lemonheads are one of those bands that it's really hard to be a huge fan of. I don't think anyone's getting Lemonheads tattoos, is what I'm saying. I bought their Car Button Cloth album. I liked the song about how he lied about liking hiking and camping. They played two or three classics, two or three new ones, and then two or three really popular classics. He played the Gram Parsons song "Streets of Baltimore," though. And then, after about forty minutes, they were in the middle of the "I don't wanna not get stoned" song and Evan Dando stopped playing. He nodded to the bass player, who stopped. Dando unlooped his guitar and set it on the stand. The drummer stopped. Then they left the stage. The bass player waved at someone and smiled sheepishly, apologetically, maybe. I'd never seen that before, not in the middle of a song like that. I don't know if he just melted down or what. I kind of felt sorry for him, that he felt that was the only way to do it. I don't feel like crucifying the guy, because I don't know what was bothering him (the sound was fine, etc.) and it could have been something legitimate, but it was a pretty disrespectful way to go, homeburger.

I'm reading "Billy Bathgate" by E.L. Doctorow now and it's just great. It's so energetic and charges ahead and has a smart, young narrator (which seems to be a pretty common strategy, all things considered). It's the first I've read of his. Anytime I get excited about a book or an album, especially one that's been around for at least a few years, this funny thing happens. I get fifty or a hundred pages into a book and I stay up late reading or playing the album too loud in my headphones and then I go online to read what other people say about it or ask around and in return you get sort of a blank look or an "oh, yeah, sure." And it's that clash of something you're discovering that's so fresh and full up with life contrasted with the tiny blip it's registereing out there, everywhere else. It's a little disappointing and also unbelievable. It's like watching a meteor shower, shouting about it, and your girlfriend saying, "I think I'll just watch TV." The feeling is of wanting to shake people by the shoulders, of shouting, of preaching. I wonder if that's how evangelical religious folks feel when they've first been saved or converted or when they first start believing. They've got to be in the same family.

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