Things I did/saw at Monday night’s Elephant Six Holiday Surprise Tour:
• Waited in the rain, making my newly shorn haircut resemble that of Top Gun-era Tom Cruise, post flight simulation training.
• Saw Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeff Mangum walk by me on the steps while waiting to get into the show. He was wearing a red flannel. I, freaking out inside my mind, turned to my wife and said, “Dude, I feel like I’m seeing Kurt Cobain right now” (and not because of the red flannel).
• Watched massively bearded Neutral Milk Hotel/Gerbils member Scott Spillane give my wife a gigantic hug. Then they talked about this night. This is what Scott looks like, and it is awesome:
• Surveyed the room and realized that most of the people in the audience were ten or eleven years old when Neutral Milk Hotel’s In the Aeroplane Over the Sea and the Olivia Tremor Control’s Black Foliage: Animation Music came out. Realized that I am fucking old.
• Attempted to see the borderline-insane short film Major Organ and the Adding Machine, starring members of the Elephant Six collective, and, strangely enough, some of their kids. I couldn’t really make out the plot, but i think it had something to do with eating records, taking Polaroids, having massive beards, and taking a shit load of drugs. Here, watch the trailer:
• Then watched as members of Elf Power, Olivia Tremor Control, the Gerbils, Circulatory System, Neutral Milk Hotel, the Music Tapes and more completely tore down the house, playing a nearly three-hour revue of material from basically any band that formed in Athens, GA between the years of 1990 and 1996. This is what it looked like most of the time (yes, that’s a clarinet, and behind them is a giant, 7-foot metronome):
• Noted that the new trend in indie rock should be drummers playing on the floor. It helps if there are two drum sets, actually, and if they are set up turned to the side so both drummers can play face to face. It also helps if one of those drummers is Scott Spillane, and the other one is this dude, the drummer from Elf Power, who is fucking unreal.
• At the end of the show, got what I came for: Following a tear-jerking performance of NMH’s “The Fool” by Spillane and others (yes, I actually cried a bit), I was then completely floored as the usually reclusive Jeff Mangum — who appeared a few times on stage, each time with a massive eruption of cheers from the audience, to yell shit and tackle people — treated us all to an in-crowd performance of Aeroplane b-side “Engine,” accompanied by all-around weirdo and E6 ringleader Julian Koster on the saw. In return, the whole crowd circled Jeff, and sang right along with him. It was nothing short of amazing, and probably one of the single greatest live-music moments that I have ever seen in my life.
• Ended the night shouting “triple steak!” in honor of Taco Bell’s new Triple Steak Burrito. I did not, however, get to eat one. — Ryan Allen
— Pics By: Megan McIsaac