Last night J and I went to Cat's Cradle, a music venue in Carrboro, to see the Silver Jews. They're on their first tour ever and last night was apparently their fifth show, causing lead singer David Berman to mention a couple times, "This is number five," and then tell us that he "didn't feel comfortable" because of the size of the room, which is actually not very big. It was adorable. The Silver Jews is a band that sounds kinda like the most rockin', sometimes emotional guitar music you've ever heard crossed with...people who can't sing too well. People who are maybe trying not to sing too well. But it's beautiful. If you don't believe me, don't ask my friend Tom, because he hates them. This is the sound Tom Owens makes when J and I put the Silver Jews in the CD player:
He calls them the Silver Chickens for no good reason except, I suppose, he thinks they deserve that.
For those of you out there who like this band, you know what I'm talking about and how great this concert was. It wasn't like the band's performance was even top notch or anything. It was more like we were in the company of heroes. Heroes of rock.
Before the show started, and after we'd bumped elbows with a few friends with similar excellent taste in music and chatted with them for a while, J and I were standing in the back of the building near the bar sipping some PBRs because that's an incredibly hip thing to do when you're at any kind of indy show. I actually think it's required.
J looked over at a nearby couch and saw Bob Nastanovich sitting there drinking a beer and watching the UVA game.
"That's Bob Nastanovich," he said. "He's watching his team."
I know that most of you probably don't know who this guy is, nor will you care when I tell you. Bob Nastanovich was a member of the great, now dissolved, band Pavement. He's a drummer/manager for the Silver Jews, which is why he was there last night. Pavement featured singer/songwriter Stephen Malkmus and an assortment of totally kickass guys who prospered in the 90s. If you were at a college party and you liked Pavement, Goddamnit, you were cool. Especially if you whipped out some knowledge regarding "Wowee Zowee" or any of their other early albums.
Bob Nastanovich, he didn't really do much in Pavement. He kinda danced around, and was the guy who answers "I know him and he does," after Malkmus questions, "What about the voice of Geddy Lee, how did it get so high? I wonder if he speaks like an ordinary guy?" ("I know him and he does") in the song "Stereo" which got mainstream radio play, people.
This doesn't make it any less incredible that he was just sitting on the couch hanging out and all the hip concert goers who totally knew who he was weren't even approaching him. So J, who normally flees from situations like this - never encourages them - told me I should go talk to him. I think it was the PBRs because at a concert in Raleigh once I threatened to go talk to Caitlin Cary of Tres Chicas/Ryan Adams fame and I think the boy considered getting in the car and leaving me there. Really. He gets nervous.
Since J knows way more about music and bands than I do, I wanted to figure out exactly who I'd be dealing with and so I asked the only question that mattered: "Was that guy in the "Carrot Rope" video?"
The song "Carrot Rope" is on the Pavement album Terror Twilight, and is a happy, catchy tune that doesn't really make much sense. I've always liked it, but then I saw the video which is perhaps the best video in the history of music video production. Honestly - you can dislike the Silver Jews, and even Pavement, but don't go disliking the music video for "Carrot Rope." That's not acceptable.
The video features the five members of Pavement, in raincoats, standing in front of a blue tarp on a sunny day, dancing and singing the song. That's all. But as they're dancing and singing, they're fooling around, walking on their hands, laughing, being cute and by the end of the thing you're pretty sure you want to marry them all.
My friend Jennifer was visiting me once when we happened upon this video. It's one of many on a DVD J has about the band. We proceeded to watch it 12 million times until we were able to perform Stephen Malkmus's moves right on cue with him. We watched it a lot of times. Too many? Maybe.
The point is I wanted to know if this guy Bob Nastanovich was in the video and J told me, excitedly, "Yeah, he was!"
After that it only took a few more minutes of encouragement before I got up the nerve to go over there. And it turned out that this guy is so genuinely nice that I'm happy I did. Before I could even gush about how much I loved Pavement he had asked me what I did for a living, where I'd gone to school, how I ended up moving to North Carolina, all the while shaking my hand and saying how nice it was that I'd come over to talk. I was thinking, "Jesus, you were in Pavement and you want to hear about where I went to school? Well, ok!"
This was a highlight of the evening, but the evening as a whole was a great one. When we went home J and I promptly put in the Pavement DVD. Soon after we retired to get in some good hours of sleep before morning. I'm tired today, nonetheless, but it doesn't matter because I met someone who was in Pavement, and I know...I know...some people like four-part harmonies or the dulcet tones of a country ballad, and that all has it's place, but give me a little cacophony and five guys in raincoats any day.