Kris and I had a great time for Valentine's Day. We joined Cari and Chris for dinner (the first time we've gone out with them in years -- nice to do something with them again) and then we caught the Indigo Girls' CD Preview at the Aladdin Theater in southeast Portland.
The Aladdin is an old movie house with an Arabian motif. Sometime in the late 80s or early 90s it became a porn house and its future seemed bleak. Recently, however, its been converted into a small venue for concerts. The Indigo Girls, though not a household name, would generally require a larger venue, but this particular tour is simply to promote their new CD, Become You, which will be released on March 12th.
I first heard the Indigo Girls during the summer of 1989. I was driving from Salem to Portland to see Amy Ratzlaf, who had just returned from a year studying in Germany. A folk-rock song came on the radio, driving and lyrical and catchy as hell, and I turned it up to listen. I loved it. The DJ said the song was by some band called the Indigo Girls; the song was "Closer to Fine" (which became the Indigo Girls' signature tune). I stopped in Tualatin to pick up the tape, popped it in the stereo, and I've been listening to them ever since.
That fall we went to see them perform in the Pine Street Theater in Portland, general admission with no seating in a hot, dark bandbox. They rocked. Amy was a hurricane, breaking guitar strings, bellering her vocals. Emily was serene. They were fire and ice. It was awesome.
The next time they were in town, they played at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. I went to stand in line for tickets, but there was no line. I was first. We got to sit front row, just left of center, the best seats I've ever had for a concert. Again it was just Amy and Emily alone on stage with their guitars. It was awesome.
Over the years, the Indigo Girls have been a constant part of our lives. Kris loves them more than I do. She prefers Emily's songs: they're quieter, more melodic, more tender. I prefer Amy's songs: they're aggressive, stark, filled with masculine imagery. We agree that the duo is best when they play together, though, when they mix the strengths of each.
The last two Indigo Girls albums have been much different than their earlier work. The music has been raw and thrashy. The Girls play with a band. We still like it, and there are some great songs on these two albums, but we long for the sounds of a decade ago. The new album seems to be a return to the earlier sound; it's much less produced and emphasizes the partnership between the two performers. The songs are well-crafted. I particularly like the title track, "Become You".
As we age, Kris and I find concerts less appealing than they were when we were in college. The reward is not worth the time, money, and effort. The Indigo Girls are an exception: their live performances are engaging, better than their albums. And the largely lesbian audience is always entertaining and enlightening.
On this day at foldedspace.org
2005 — Ideal Schedule As part of my quest for a pastoral lifestyle, I may be in danger of pining for an ideal schedule which is anything but.
2004 — You're Invited! Kris and I are holding Chicken Noodle Fest on March 13th. Everyone is invited. Drop us a line to let us know you'll come.
2003 — Light Our assignment last week was to photograph light. Specifically, to look at the impact of light on our subject.