! = recommended
* = all-ages
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I’d like to start out with a reminder that "Cupid" rhymes with "stupid," which should give a clear picture as to how I really feel about Valentine’s Day. Or, at the very least, this year's 'holiday' compared to previous years. Am I bitter? Fuck yes, I am. Deal with it.
I had every inclination to drink myself into an alternate universe on Feb. 14, but with In Praise of Folly, The Decemberists, The Prom and Carissa’s Wierd playing at The Crocodile that evening I decided to forgo the alcohol-fueled self-loathing pity party and shoot some photos. I could always drink myself into a loveless stupor the following night, right?
I’d seen In Praise of Folly, The Prom and Carissa’s Wierd the previous week in Anacortes, a short side-trip on the way home from Bellingham to visit an old high-school crush. It may have been the venue (The Department of Safety), it may have been the crowd (all-ages) or it may have been the air of apathy that one hundred high-schoolers seated cross-legged on the floor seems to bring to a LIVE MUSIC SHOW, but I really didn’t enjoy myself. This isn’t a movie. You don’t have to be quiet. And you certainly don’t have to feign a coma through some great sets. Not to take anything away from the Anacortes performances, which, as with the Valentine’s Day show at The Croc, were excellent. I just didn’t get that tingly feeling that you associate with seeing bands for the first time. (That’s right, for me, the first time.)
So. Speaking of tingly feelings — back to Valentine’s Day.
I met igLiz and igDana out front as In Praise of Folly were beginning their set. We guest-listed it into the show and in our different ways, went to work.
The wonderful thing about photographing live music is, well, I get to photograph live music. The drawback is, I don’t really get to enjoy the set as a fan would — aurally. I’m busy focusing on 1/100 of what’s going on. Tiny, intense visual moments — a lead singer’s facial expression, the follow-through on a nasty guitar downstroke, a drummer biting his lip with a rock-and-roll sneer as he pounds the crap out of his kit, smoke from the keyboard player’s cigarette wafting up around his head, perfectly illuminated by a blue stage light. To listeners, they amplify stage presence. To me, they constitute fractions of seconds I’ve either visually captured or missed, picture postcards that no one else takes home with them.
Ask me for intellectual comments on what I thought of the set, and you’ll get a laundry list of visual cues that most audience members don’t catch on to.
You want text, a review of the show? I leave that to igLiz and igDana. I just shoot the photos. You’ll get my thousands of words in the form of colored pixels.
Which, on this Valentine's Day, was a wonderful distraction from feeling a little low, partnerless and in want of female companionship. And, I did get that nice tingly feeling watching them all play this time (especially The Prom and Carissa’s Wierd).
Just in case you were wondering.