Thursday, May 11, 2006

Weekend Events and Observations

I knew going in that this past weekend would be a busy one, and I was not disappointed. It was a pretty good one, for the most part, although all the good stuff also came with irritations.

On Friday Brandi's friend Cricket was in town from Texas. The three of us had plans to go out to see Neon Black at Nate and Wally's that night, but we got slightly derailed before we made it there. First off, before we left, Cricket went to say hi to a friend who lives across the street from us. Said friend ended up telling her a long story, so we headed out a little later than we had planned. We started off at BW3 so we could get some food before commencing drinking, and the place was packed with people watching Game 6 of the Cavs-Wizards series. The upside of this was that I got to watch the end of the game myself; the downside was that it took forever to get served. It was after 11:30 by the time I finished eating, and the show started at 10:00. I ended up leaving Brandi and Cricket at BW3 and venturing over to the show by myself.

The show was a pretty good time until later in the evening. I was stoked when I got there because the place was packed, due to the convergence of Neon Black, Cinco de Mayo, and graduation weekend. I got a drink and started rocking out, and Brandi and Cricket joined me a short time later. They both found people they knew, and we were all having a good time. Then some guy up front decides to start being a douche, playing air drums and just flailing around in general. He was stepping on feet, spilling drinks, and knocking people over, and he did it for the rest of the night. I'm not sure how he managed to finish the night without getting punched in the head (including by me), especially after he sprayed beer all over everyone. Eventually we had to move from the front of the stage to the side, where it was better to be elbowed and jostled by people trying to get into and out of the bar than to keep getting slammed into by that moron.

On Saturday I was extremely excited to wake up and look out the window to see that our downstairs neighbors were in the process of moving out. They managed to live in the apartment beneath ours for nine full months without me ever meeting either one of them, but living above them for so long was sufficient for me to know that they are the two loudest human beings on the face of the planet. It sounded like they were constantly slamming each other repeatedly into the walls, to say nothing of the yelling and the loud music, which at least were only occasional. The pounding just never stopped. No matter how late I went to bed, they were still pounding, and no matter how early I got up, they were already pounding. I actually like it when there's some noise occasionally, even well into the night--that's one reason why I like living in a college town--but it definitely got old after so long.

That afternoon was Brandi's bridal shower in her hometown, and we planned to go to a concert in Cleveland afterwards. That worked out, since her hometown is nearly halfway to Cleveland from Bowling Green anyway. Of course, once we were about halfway to her hometown, we realized we had forgotten the concert tickets. We had to keep going or else she would have been late for her own shower, so I ended up driving to Bowling Green and back again to pick up the tickets during the shower. That was fine, seeing as how I really didn't have anything else to do during that time anyway.

I actually did end up spending a little bit of time at the shower before I left and after coming back from BG, since some of the attendees were my family and friends as well. A photo album containing numerous pictures of me throughout my childhood (compiled by Aunt Lou) was being passed around, to the great amusement of everyone. There were also a couple of gifts for me, and the cake was outstanding.

While the shower was going on, my dad and Brandi's dad went out for a round of golf. Our families spent a little bit of time together before and after the shower, and really seemed to have a pretty good time together. That was a pleasant surprise--not that they get along, but that everyone actively enjoyed it as much as it seemed. That makes me feel pretty good about the whole thing.

From there, tickets finally in hand, we headed for the House of Blues in downtown Cleveland to see Edwin McCain (again). The concert started at 8:00, and we got there around 7:15. No problem, except that the doors opened at 7:00, meaning that we didn't get our customary spot right up against the stage. We managed to squeeze in fairly close, just a few "rows" back, but it just wasn't the same. We definitely got a different perspective, but it was hard to get as into the show as usual, at least at first.

Still, it was a good show. The first opening act was Will Bowen, a local singer who also played the last time we saw Edwin in Cleveland. He's a really talented musician, but his songwriting leaves something to be desired. All of his songs are about the girl that got away--individually, they're good songs, but they start to sound the same after he's played three or four. He's pretty young, though, so I think that's something he'll be able to improve upon with time.

The second opener was Mieka Pauley. I saw her perform as an opener for Edwin at Bogart's in Cincinnati a few years ago, so I was stoked to see her again. I liked her stuff a whole lot then, and she's gotten even better in the meantime. First off, she has an incredible voice. Beyond that, her lyrics are great, and just has a good sound. She has a couple of EPs available on iTunes, and you can also check out quite a few of her songs for free on her website.

After those two performed, Edwin and the band came out to play. They were awesome, as usual. One thing I really like about seeing them live is that they don't overload their set with new stuff. They definitely played some songs from their new album, but not to the exclusion of everything else. Also, everyone in the band is an incredible musician in their own right, and they all get a chance to step out in the spotlight for at least a moment during each show. The two guitarists in particular--Larry Chaney and Pete Riley--I would put up against just about anyone else.

Of course, being away from the front of the stage, it was a little hard sometimes to see everything that was going on up there. The girl in front of me had enormous fluffy hair. She stayed out of my line of sight for the most part, but every now and then the crowd would shift and I'd have a really hard time seeing anything for a few minutes. And while I generally like the ubiquity of digital cameras, cameraphones, etc., there are times when they get really annoying. The people holding them up in front of me were blocking the view, and the girl using them behind me kept jostling and bonking me in the head with her elbows. That got old pretty quick, let me tell you. And while I can understand taking a few pictures here and there, I think trying to document the entire event detracts from the ability to enjoy it. I just think it's too hard to listen to the music and be a part of the crowd and live in the moment if you're so focused on taking a bunch of pictures or videotaping or whatever. Maybe that's just me.

After the concert we had to come back to Bowling Green, as Brandi had some stuff to do on Sunday. I was wired enough after the concert that I didn't mind the drive. I actually like making drives like that at night, because traffic is so much lighter. The turnpike is a breeze most of the time anyway, but late at night is even better. We were home by 2:00 and crashed out shortly thereafter.

With Friday and Saturday being so busy, it was a relief to spend Sunday the way Sundays are supposed to be spent. I watched sports, played video games, and took a nap. That evening, Brandi and I went out for some awesome Mexican food. It's really amazing how much better chips and salsa from a restaurant taste than bagged chips and jarred salsa from a store. I could live on that for a good long time without getting sick of it, I think.

This coming weekend should be somewhat less busy, although there's definitely stuff going on. My cousin Mike is getting married soon (two weeks before Brandi and I do), and this Saturday is his bachelor party. Involved will be a trip to Cincy for a Reds game, a visit to Hooters on the way back, and who knows what else. The rest of the weekend, thankfully, should be a chance to relax before things get really crazy starting next week.

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