It’s been well over a year since my wife and I have gone to a concert. In fact, it was March of 2012 when we went to see Dr. Dog in Indianapolis. It was a great show, and we paid the extra $20 for each of us to get a seat in the old folks section, complete with tables, chairs, and nice gal taking our drink orders. Sorry, but my days of being in the trenches with the rest of the sweating, drunk fans are gone. I’m middle-aged and cranky, yet I still love a live show. My compromise is a seat to sit in and a table in front of me.
So sure, a year and a half ago was the last time I’ve been to a concert. Big deal. Well, it really is a big deal as concerts were a staple of my wife and I’s lives for so long. We’ve been going to concerts together since high school(our first one was Petra on the Notre Dame campus with my uncle and his youth group…it was as bad as you’re envisioning.) After that, we’ve seen Rush, Primus, Joe Satriani, Lollapalooza 93′, Steve Miller Band, Sting, Tesla, Wilco, Spoon, Flaming Lips, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Tori Amos, No Doubt, Neko Case, Andrew Bird, St. Vincent, Deerhoof, Low, A Hawk and a Hacksaw, Dr. Dog, Bon Iver, and many more I can’t think of at this time in the morning. Plus, I’ve seen Smashing Pumpkins, Garbage, Tool,NIN, The Cure, and AC/DC on my own. Lots of these bands we’ve seen multiple times. Basically concerts were our mommy/daddy time. That’s when we got to hang up the mom and dad moniker and just be John and Paige.
Well, the last couple of years we’ve decided it was time to not be so stupid with our money and actually, you know, save money. Have it for a rainy day. Be able to be as close to debt-free as possible. So besides eating out and splurging on way too much vinyl, guitars, shoes, scrapbooking accessories, and God knows what else, we also nixed the random concert. It hasn’t been as painful as I thought it would be. Seeing bills go away and attitudes become better has been a pretty incredible outcome. Christmas isn’t dreaded like it once was. Car insurance and homeowners insurance are paid in one lump sum, as opposed to monthly installments. It’s a good feeling. But there have been a couple concerts I really wanted to see but it just wasn’t feasible; whether it was a money thing or timing thing. Tame Impala, Besnard Lakes, Youth Lagoon…all bands that came within a reasonable driving distance but we didn’t pull the trigger. Tame Impala hurts, I’ll be honest. But come this Sunday, November 3rd all of that hurt will be washed away by a wave of noise and beauty. My wife and I will be hitting the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago to see My Bloody Valentine. MY BLOODY VALENTINE!! I can’t believe it!
I was a late bloomer to Kevin Shields and My Bloody Valentine. I remember one of my really good friends bought Loveless when it came out. We were Juniors in high school at the time. I think he saw their video for “Only Shallow” on 120 Minutes and bought it. I wasn’t that much into them then. I liked some shoegaze bands at the time -Lush and Straitjacket Fits come to mind- but to my ears MBV were really harsh and noisy. I couldn’t hear a discernible melody in the chaos, so I said “meh” and moved on. But several years later -2006 to be exact- I’d heard “Sometimes” on internet radio and I was stopped dead in my tracks. I immediately bought Loveless and proceeded to become a rabid fan of the band. I began researching Kevin Shields and everything he’d done. I’d try and find pictures of his pedal board, read interviews, find out about his recording technique, and of course obsess over the making of his records, in particular Loveless. I would read articles talking about a “remastered” version of all their albums, even as far back as 2008, but nothing ever came of it. Then last year they announced remastered versions of all of My Bloody Valentine’s discography were coming out. Of course I bought them and fell hard for them all over again. The EP collection in particular is quite striking, and a great way to see the progression of the band from Isn’t Anything to their masterpiece.
So 2012 rolled on with whispers of a new My Bloody Valentine album coming out. The follow up to a genre creator was in the works. Soon…soon it will be here. Then on some random Saturday night in February mbv arrived, like some strange and beautiful creature. It was magnificent. A Saturday night of crashing websites, frantic FB posts, and then finally at midnight I bought my copy. I of course ordered the vinyl(which wasn’t going to be available for a couple more weeks)that came with an instant download. I soaked my brain in that album for weeks. It was a triumphant return to form for Mr. Shields and the rest of MBV. No beat missed, no distorted howl out of place. I could move on with my life. Maybe start a new career. Look into that Schnauzer farm, or my son and I could open a father/son Lemonade stand or start a family food truck operation in the greater Lake City area. But no, My Bloody Valentine weren’t done with the wonderful surprises. A US tour! And one that was coming within a 3 hour drive of my home! What a great way to break the ice on the Hubner concert sabbatical!
So, with earplugs in hand and a spot in our stomachs reserved for some Giordano’s stuffed pizza, the wife and I are off to the Windy City Sunday for a date with an Irish-by-way-of-New York raconteur named Kevin Shields and his band of merry noisemakers named My Bloody Valentine. A wizard casting spells with his magic wand named Jazzmaster, Shields shall not disappoint. I’m sure of it.
Either way, my wife and I get a much deserved night out and some of the best stuffed pizza Chi-town has to offer. Look for my review Monday.