Present Tense

[Apologies to everyone, expecially Zelmocaster, for taking so long to get this pulled together.  Has it really been over a week?  I guess Mr. Calendar says so. It’s been a while since I wrote, and having a tough time finding a way into this post….]

Hey, remember a while back when I wrote about seeing Matthew Sweet play at Shank Hall, doing a full album set of “Girlfriend”?  After the show, we saw the members of the Shoes hanging around, not at all surprising to see them show up.  I hope they got a chance to hang with one of their (followers?  Contemporaries?) after.  At the time, they had just released the stellar new album “Ignition” and I wanted to ask if they were going to do any shows, but I didn’t bother them.  I would find out eventually, I was certain.

I did, when I got an email from Zelmorama that said “SHOES!!!!!! I have your ticket!”  And it would be a Friday, so not a school night.

The opening band, Sugar Stems from Milwaukee, were a great, young band.  You know that song from the movie That Thing You Do, “That Thing You Do”?  (heh).  Well, it would have fit right into the setlist.  and the band seemed to be kind of star-struck, opening for power pop legends as they were.

But when Shoes hit the stage with a track from that recent album, I wondered if we had made the right choice; the harmonies were kind of for crap.  WTF, shoes?  I mean, I am not one that insists on note-perfect renditions, but the harmonies on these songs was kind of important, guys.

I needn’t have worried, and I should have cut a little more slack for some guys my age.  It just took a song or so for them to warm up and get back in sync with each other.  I wonder if they were a bit nervous, too?  They hadn’t played out that much recently , and Milwaukee audiences are notoriously savage….

I don’t have much to say beyond that.  They sounded great and had fun, and played like 30 songs, including 2 encores.  So here are some pretty good videos someone got of the show, with decent sound — although I will say that they sounded better from where we were sitting right in front of the sound board.


While talking with the band, they mentioned that they were playing the next night in Evanston, at a bar that was more “intimate”.  Hilariousl because Shank is a 300 person club, and far from cavernous.  Perhaps they were talking about the fervor of the crowd at Shank,  who brought them back for two encores.  We talked to the band after, and got things signed, and I just ordered the biography of the band that will be out in a couple of weeks.

I don’t have any real seque, or story, or point to this post; sometimes music is just about having a good time.  Sometimes it’s just about old friends and new friends, and trying to catch a piece of magic, as was so easy when we were all younger.  So for those keeping score, it was a few beers with a good friend, some new music, some old music, and we all just had a wonderful time.  Didn’t we just!


One response to “Present Tense

  • Zelmo

    That was a great show. I listened to Shoes for the remainder of the week, and even now the earworms infest my brain with catchy pop hooks.

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