Harvey Danger isn’t really over yet. They’ve got just under two weeks. This weekend they’ll be in LA, and then back home to Seattle to fade into the grey skies and waters in the sound. But for me, they ended early Sunday morning, on a scummy train platform in Chicago. They had just finished playing for over two hours, and not to mention the hour plus from the early show, and I heard almost every song I ever wanted to hear live (I will never hear “My Human Interactions”, unless I play it). We were exhausted, spent, sore, and I think I was also dangerously dehydrated. We were boys and girls in America.
There were posters, and signatures, and CDs and books, handshakes and thank yous. I remember insisting to Christine that nothing ever ends, and to Todd that he looked like Hunter S. Thompson in those sunglasses. I remember telling Joe (also from Buffalo) about my old HD shirt, and how my grandfather saw it on me one day, and asked me a question. “What does that stand for,” he began, almost out of nowhere (I’m in the old house’s hallway by the liquor cabinet and the large mirror, I remember the tile pattern and the open door; I can see him push up his glasses but I’m not sure if that’s confabulation), “’Heart Damage’?” Joe got a kick out of that, and I still love telling that story.
When I’m even older than I am now (and let me tell you I know I will be, because I’ve seen other people get older than me), and when I have kids, I’ll tell them the story of seeing my last Harvey Danger show.
“It’s important,” I’ll say to the precocious, suddenly more adult child of mine, “to know how music and art can bring people together. Even if it is over a song blared across the airwaves from hundreds of miles away. You forget, with your internet box, and your iChip embedded and broadcasting in the back of your neck (with ear plug receivers in each ear), that when I was your age, we had to travel to get our music.” They’ll roll their eyes at me (hopefully, hopefully), or at least want to, but I’ll continue.
“Sure people walked around supermarkets with headphones connected to iPods, cords dangling across their chests, to the pockets in their hoodies, jeans and bags, but that wasn’t anything like now. Your music is everywhere, and nowhere. Its on and people can’t even tell. You’ve sountracked your life. You can stand in front of your favorite band in the living room, thanks to the HPC*. I had to stand there, in Schuba’s, on my feet all day, sweating with the band, with the 20 or so die hard message board (that’s what we called communities back in my day) members, and hundreds of other fans engaged in the love, the power of live music.” I’ll pray that their interest becomes piqued at this point, and pause for that dramatic effect which never goes out of style.
“It’s the smell of the people around you, the sound of your voice mixing with the band, with the audience, the feeling of rightness in each belted out word, being performed, not just played, and you and the band are engaged in a feedback of conversation that allows all those emotions and senses to mix and for you to experience something with so many other people on a level that they themselves are experiencing—differently for sure—but similarly enough to say yes, ‘I’ve been there’. And in saying that, know that it is an indisputable and true assertion.” I’ve got a faraway look in my eyes now, and I think I’ve completely lost them on this point. And I can’t even begin to predict their reaction; this product of an increasingly virtual world. I really hope its understanding. I also hope that we can hug, or even hi-five, or maybe see a show together. If they still hold those downtown, in the future.
*Holographic Projection Center