music monday: updated fulfillment

A while back, I presented a track list for a five-year-old mixtape, one comprised of artists and bands I had, to that point, experienced live as well as ones missed. Rather self-conscious of how questionable my taste in music was then, the mix I present today is an updated of the 'fulfillment' aspect of that prior offering. As explained below, I waited for years to see some groups live, enduring lost and missed opportunities, having to be content with the latest studio release and my own imagination. I am quite thankful for those years having passed.


"Venus in Furs" - Devotchka
This was one of two bands included on this mix that I saw at the now-defunct Kraftbrau in Kalamazoo, Michigan, a small bar/microbrewery/live music venue wholly appropriate for the performance given. The track beginning this mix was one of the newer (and spookier) songs played that night and, given my appreciation for the Velvet Underground, I appreciated the take.

"Squalor Victoria" - the National
This was one of three bands included on this mix that I saw at the stellar Crofoot Ballroom in Pontiac, Michigan. Having had Boxer on the turntable for many months, it was with great anticipation that my girlfriend and I attended the National's performance. What I found most surprising was Matt Berninger's intensity toward the end of this song. The veins popping out on his forehead and neck were visible even from the balcony as he screamed the song's title, staggering about the stage as if possessed.

"Deep Blue Sea" - Grizzly Bear
Daniel Rossen prefaced this song in concert with a few shy words about how his father never saw the ocean, which inspired Rossen to perform and record it for him. And while the performance of "Deep Blue Sea" did not conclude in a fashion similar to how the studio recording ends, the overall show did.

"Batcat" - Mogwai
Ever since I heard "Christmas Steps" on a three-disc compilation celebrating ten years of Matador Records, I've had a burning desire to experience Mogwai live. Not many bands have such emotional and physical impact upon me, and without lyrics no less. They did not disappoint when performing at the Crofoot earlier this year, including a good offering of new and old songs, though not "Christmas Steps." Still, I am a little closer to dying happy.

"Eddie Vedder" - Local H
Scott Lucas looked at me with bewilderment when I explained that I had been waiting to see Local H live since As Good As Dead. "What took you so long?" he asked. I don't recall my response, but the reasons over the years are myriad, including lack of money, time and transportation. No longer lacking in those areas is perhaps one of the greater perks of getting older.

"I Am Goodbye" - Bonnie 'Prince' Billy
While not a live recording, this track is an accurate capture of Will Oldham and friends' performance a couple months back at the Crofoot. Even older, more morose tunes had an upbeat injection, often with Oldham banging his left foot on the floor as he leaned forward to croon into the microphone.

"Let's Not Pretend (To Be New Men)" - Crooked Fingers
Though my preference is for the live, piano version, this remains a favorite, and I recall badgering Eric Bachmann after a solo show about when it would see a studio recording and release.

"John Allyn Smith Sails" - Okkervil River
Whenever I hear this track, I cannot help but think of how the drummer mouthed the entire opening as Will Sheff sang alone. How tension in the song built was evident in the movements of every band member, including the Wrens' Charles Bissell, who was on his toes until the break into "Sloop John B."