I know, I know – I just devoted an entire post to these guys, but after last night, I decided that they’re more than deserving of another.
The husband and I made the trek to Philly last night for the Bellfuries’ show. I’d been inquiring/imploring/harassing them via social media about coming back to the area, and they finally obliged in the form of an opening slot for Tiger Army. Who I’d never even heard of prior to this. But who cares, man, the Bellfuries are back!
Another funny observation about my live music renaissance – for as many shows as I’ve been to over the last two years (and I know that, for some, my number is laughably low, but I think it’s pretty respectable considering I live nowhere near a city), there’s only a handful of venues I’ve been to more than once. It seems like I’m always finding my way to someplace I’ve heard of but have never had the opportunity to go to. Last night was one of those instances. I knew of the TLA, but had never been there before. Hell, the last time I was on South Street, I was in eighth grade (and I have to report that Condom Kingdom is still there after all these years. I don’t know if that’s reassuring or sad). So I killed a ton of birds with that one stone – I got to see the sights, have a cheesesteak, check off another venue, and catch those cool cats again.
The band members again proved how awesome they are by taking a few minutes to chat before the show (and even though I’m sure they were probably thinking, “Oh. Her again,” they hid it well). Of course I managed to grab a spot at the barrier, sliding in next to two girls and saying that I wouldn’t be in the way, that I was only there for the openers. They laughed gaily, like I’d just cracked the world’s funniest joke. When I reassured them that, no, really, I was there for the Bellfuries, they seemed mildly shocked. A fellow standing near us chimed in that he too was there just for the Bellfuries, and they were quite obviously (and humorously) flabbergasted. Although according to the husband, who had stationed himself at a seat in the back, it seemed like quite a few people were there exclusively for them…he said that, after their set, a rather large amount of people took their leave.
A band called the Pine Hill Haints (who I’d never heard of before either) were the first openers. They play a brand of rockabilly-tinged folk music that was so unique, it grabbed my attention immediately. But then, any band that includes a washboard, an accordion, and a washtub bass (among others) as their instruments has to be entertaining. They were good fun.
And finally, after a nine-month wait, these guys took the stage in front of me again.
Some people, when they find out that you’re driving two hours (one way) to see a show that’s only going to last forty-five minutes, shake their heads, roll their eyes, laugh, call you crazy. “Why on earth would you invest that much energy and time and money in something that’s over quicker than a TV show?” they want to know, incredulous. I’ll tell you. It’s because of that moment when the band first takes the stage, picks up their instruments, counts off, and begins to play. In that moment, your heart becomes too big for your chest, so big that it just might burst. The happiness you feel borders on euphoria. You can’t help it: you scream, you clap, you grin a helpless, goofy grin. That feeling, that overwhelming happiness, lasts the duration, the entire forty-five minutes. And then, when it’s over, that near-euphoria stays with you, even through the crushing disappointment of the moment having passed. And while you know you’ll experience it again one day, that doesn’t stop you from wanting desperately to relive it right at that very moment.
When was the last time a TV show made you feel like that?
I spent the entire forty-five minutes that way, unable to keep from smiling and singing along, doing my exuberant little bounce that could roughly be called dancing, my heart so full I could have cried. As much as I love listening to their albums at home, the recorded versions don’t hold a candle to their live performances. Songs that are in regular rotation on my iPod become so much bigger, so much more. Those boys produced a wall of sound that was so mighty, it practically blew my hair off my shoulders. And even though I didn’t take my attention off the stage the entire time they were up there, I knew that they’d won their audience – the claps and cheers had started scattered and sporadic but grew to a roar by the end. When their set was over and I made my way back to where the husband was sitting, I noticed that their merchandise table was mobbed and was glad to see it.
So if you’re gonna ask if it was worth the four-hour round trip drive, the hassle of rush hour in Philly, the indigestion from the greasy cheesesteak, the sore feet and throat and hands from dancing and screaming and clapping…yes. Yes, it was.
Is it too early to start asking them when they’ll be back again?