Seconds from flight...
Really, I don't even know where to begin with this one because, typical me, emotions are running high. But in the best way possible.
It's hard to believe but it's been nearly nine months since the last time Arts & Leisure last played. Or maybe it's been more than nine months--who knows, it's been long enough to incubate a human child so, essentially, it's been a lifetime.
The last show was at this art gallery on Del Paso Boulevard. Or maybe it was that Knockoffs show at Old Ironsides. Honestly, I can't remember because it's been that long. And, also, because so much has happened and changed in the time since.
Before that last show the band was on something of a roll. They'd just released an awesome album (sure I'm biased, but I'm not the only one who thought so). They made a fun video and they even got a song on a TV show.
Of course, the biggest adventure up to that point had been the band's mini tour of the U.K. and Belgium, for which I got to tag along as the merch girl--maybe my favorite job ever in the history of jobs. No joke.
So many shows, so many pubs, so many castles, so many good times, so many new friends. So much potential for new adventures.
Not too long after our return from Europe and those last two Sacramento shows however, the band's drummer Tim White was in a really serious accident.
I'm not going to go into all the details here. It's not my story to tell and, besides, so many of you know it anyway.
What I will say, however, is that it shook all of us to the core. The absolute, goddamned core.
Suddenly the music and adventures didn't matter quite so much. Nothing does when you realize you could have lost someone you care deeply about (and I'm writing about this solely from my perspective; I would not dare to presume how it made anyone else feel--although it's fairly safe to say that, for some people, this was all worse in a way that I hope to never ever experience first-hand).
Albums, tours, reviews, TV shows. None of that really matters when you're forced to confront your own mortality and very sense of self with the cold, hard facts of life and its cruel indifferences to those things that you hold so very, very dear.
For a while after the accident I didn't want to go out much. Rather, I just wanted to stay holed up in my safe bubble with my closest friends. Everything else felt too tricky and I felt too much of an emotional mess to deal with much of anything. Worry, exhaustion and a million other feelings all at once can do that to you.
But here we are nine months(ish) later and Arts & Leisure is getting ready to play its first show in what rightly feels like forever.
I'm so excited for this that I can barely stand it. Sure I just said all that stuff about how facing mortality makes you feel like nothing else matters but c'mon, let's get real: It's going to feel really good to stand there and watch the band play again. A tiny shifting of the cosmos as the universe balances itself just ever so slightly in favor of the "before" in this 'before and after' story.
Which is all just a really long and convoluted way of me telling you that the show is this Thursday, May 22 at Witch Room (1815 19th Street). The Mechanical Bride, the Zebras, Imaginary Pants (featuring Rose Melberg!) and Monnone Alone also play. The doors open at 7 p.m. with a deejay set via Scott Miller (from the English Singles) and Roger Carpio and the live music starts promptly at 8 p.m. The whole thing is 18-and-over and costs $6 at the door.
I plan to enjoy the hell out of this show. I plan to drink beer and celebrate and sing along. There may be a hangover involved (but no driving under the influence of course, because: obviously).
Hope to see at least a few of you there. because if this post is ultimately about anything, it's about how much I love the friends who make up my life.
*Top, really good photo, by Juju Faith.
**Other, really blurry photo by me (slightly drunk probably) at Patine in Antwerp, Belgium.