I saw The Drums at the Bowery Ballroom at the end of a very long Monday. Patrick Cleandenim opened. Here’s the rundown:
7:00 a.m. I wake up, though had not really slept. Narcissus is as far away as possible from me in my bed.
7:45 a.m. I’m drinking coffee in the kitchen when I hear him cough. I bring him a glass of water. He drinks it and tells me he doesn’t feel well.
8:00 a.m. We leave the apartment. I ask him some question on the way to the subway. He answers, “I don’t know.” We continue in silence until we part ways.
9:45 a.m. Something stupid happens at work that bothers me. A lot.
10:15 a.m. Narcissus sends me an email saying that he just can’t do this anymore. He feels it in his heart. He feels it in his guts.
3:30 p.m. A meeting goes well. For the first time, in a long time, I don’t feel useless.
5:30 p.m. Finally write back to Narcissus. I tell him I love him, but that I’ll get over it.
6:30 p.m. Late to class. The teacher points out that I have a habit of rolling my eyes.
9:30 p.m. Arrive at the Bowery Ballroom. Drink it off.
So, there I was. The end of the day, at the end of my rope, and it was only Monday. I had to remind myself that this was just the beginning. Day 1 of many days that stretched out before me. This was opening ceremony.
While I’ve heard the exit music before, I feel that this time is the time to let it be over. It sucks and it hurts, but I’m almost glad. Good grief, some relief. No more of that sinking feeling every time I see him. Or don’t see him. Read the writing on the wall. Pack it up and go. Don’t send postcards.
What’s a girl like me to do now? No clue. But I’ll start by going to the show.
10:00 p.m. Patrick Cleandenim
Imagine that it’s a better time – 1969, maybe. Late July and Neil Armstrong has just walked on the moon. The world is a-flutter with excitement.
You’re on vacation. Somewhere warm like the Bahamas or Hawaii or Mexico. Fuck that live like the natives in a grass huts bullshit – you’re staying at a kitschy-glitzy resort that has buffets 24-hours a day. You spend the day on the sand reading magazines and at night, you go to the resort’s “social” to drink rainbow-colored tropical drinks with paper umbrellas and plastic sword skewered fruit. You’ve worn something flirty, showing a lot of skin. The music starts. It’s Patrick Cleandenim and his 12-piece band.
Cleandenim has a non-assuming presence on stage. There’s no ego out there, almost like he’s just been hired to sing and not the namesake of this act. This isn’t to say that he doesn’t command attention. He’s totally invested and interesting. Tambourine in hand, he’s kind of a cross between Cat Stevens and Michael Stipe; he shouldn’t be a rock-star but he is.
The tunes seem like long lost tracks that you discovered in your mother’s record collection in the attic. They inspire nostalgic of a time you probably weren’t alive to remember, but Cleandenim really does make his own sound out of the funky beats and the guitar riffs, the dizzy-jazzy piano and the smooth grooves. His band is tight – musicianship, at long last, and his lyrics are so light-hearted and sweet and genuine – “I want to dance with you.” Patrick Cleandenim equals lots of fun and made me miss summertime.
11:00 pm The Drums
The Drums. The Drums. The goddamn Drums! Jesus Christo, I was not expecting The Drums to be so good. But they were. They were fucking incredible.
I’ve said this a couple times – The more I listen to The Drums, the more I want to listen to The Drums. There’s something infectious about them. Their latest, Portamento, is just brilliant. It’s been twisting my heartstrings for quite some time now.
This was my first time seeing them live and no one ever told me about the weird and wonderful Jonathan Pierce. He’s Captain Captivating. Really can’t take your eyes off of him. And he’s got the best dance moves –like a happy-go-lucky Ian Curtis.
The show took off and never really stopped. No matter how tortuous and bleak their songs can be, The Drums made each one of them into pop – energized, playful, heart-racing pop. While I would have loved to hear “Searching for Heaven” or “In the Cold,” I didn’t really have much time to miss them. I was too busy dancing. As was everyone else – it was a great crowd.
Anyway, the upbeat stuff provides plenty of moments that strike the painfully deep cords within. It’s all about not understanding what happened and how hard someone is making it to love them, how you’d do anything for them in spite of that – Ah, bless. Listening to The Drums reminds us that we are all under the same curse.
Sharp ending to this one. But, I suppose, endings can be like that.