About the show:
All Get Out’s been in my Cosmic Top 5 for at least five years now, but I’ve only ever seen them once before, opening at Bottom of the Hill. They put on a jaw dropper, so I booked tickets for their first headliner the day they were announced. Cafe du Nord’s a bit tight for a gig like this—it’s too small for bands as raucous as they book, which makes for seriously intimate shows and seriously ear-splitting shows.
The played a diverse and high-intensity set, circling back to The Season more than I expected. I knew singer Nathan Hussey would end the show with a slow song, I just didn’t know which one: Empty Nest, Wait List, or Let Me Go?
As it turned out, none of the above. Instead, he concluded with a Willy Nelson-esque slow burn from his solo album. His final words before exiting the stage were, “Who do you think I am? Because something you’ve learned is the least of your concern. Tell me, who do you think I am?” Then he hopped off the stage, ready to chat with his newly disarmed fans.
This is well-worn theme for Hussey, whose lyrics often veer into his problematic relationship with fans, Christianity, and the South. (Which, given his closeness to Georgia’s Manchester Orchestra, may have a distinct overlap). I was reminded of my last encounter with him, when I asked him if he believed in God or not.*
To which he answered, of course, “What do you think?”
* Yeah, yeah, I know. I have an unhealthy curiosity with the topic and I was drunk. Sue me. But you listen to Me and My Lovers, then Empty Nest and tell me you’re not curious.
Required Reading: Nobody Likes A Quitter
The Summer Day
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
The speaker is Death
There was a merchant in Bagdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions and in a little while the servant came back, white and trembling, and said, Master, just now when I was in the marketplace I was jostled by a woman in the crowd and when I turned I saw it was Death that jostled me. She looked at me and made a threatening gesture, now, lend me your horse, and I will ride away from this city and avoid my fate. I will go to Samarra and there Death will not find me. The merchant lent him his horse, and the servant mounted it, and he dug his spurs in its flanks and as fast as the horse could gallop he went. Then the merchant went down to the marketplace and he saw me standing in the crowd and he came to me and said, Why did you make a threating getsture to my servant when you saw him this morning? That was not a threatening gesture, I said, it was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Bagdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.
(as retold by W. Somerset Maugham )
“You won’t understand what I mean now, but someday you will: the only trick of friendship, I think, is to find people who are better than you are—not smarter, not cooler, but kinder, and more generous, and more forgiving—and then to appreciate them for what they can teach you, and to try to listen to them when they tell you something about yourself, no matter how bad—or good—it might be, and to trust them, which is the hardest thing of all.”
— Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life
This is a beautiful book, but a devastating read. Proceed with caution, feint of heart.