There’s a music journalist I like, and he once said something along the lines of this: the feeling after a concert is what you should feel like after church. You should feel exalted, refreshed, and inspired, ready to take on the world. There’s nothing else comparable to that feeling.
Still riding that high from last night.
Jack’s Mannequin played the Chicago House of Blues last night with Jukebox the Ghost and Allen Stone. I’m a bona fide concert junkie, but I don’t think I’ve seen anyone play as many times as I’ve seen Andrew McMahon and his piano. This was my sixth (!!!) Jack’s Mannequin show, and that’s not counting Something Corporate.
My cousin Corinne, who is a junior in college, took the train from STL yesterday to spend a whirlwind 24 hours with me. It was a fair amount of walking and a lot of time on the El, but it was the most fun I’ve had in weeks, from onion rings in a Celtic pub to the show itself. I’ve seen Jack’s play twice with Corinne, once at The Pageant, once at The Touhill, so I’m glad I could spend the night with someone I love and someone who appreciates JM as much as I do. I only hope she can come back to visit me again soon — preferably with warmer weather.
The opener was a Seattle-based hipster named Allen Stone. When he walked out on stage, I thought for a minute he was dressed as Professor Trelawney, what with his long, flowing sweaters and coke-bottle glasses. He had a hell of a voice, but as he warbled and grooved to the weird, funky sounds of his band, Corinne turned to me and said, “It kind of looks like he’s having a seizure.” And it really did. He had a habit of twisting his arms and letting his legs collapse into weird angles. He preached a lot about how uptight soul music is nowadays and how his soul is “a little bit greasy.” Let’s just say his soul wasn’t the only thing that looked like it could use a shower.
One of the reasons I was so hellbent on getting to this show was the opener: Jukebox the Ghost. They’re a talented trio from D.C., and I’ve never had a chance to see them play live, so this was something to check off my bucket list. And good god, do they put on a great show. It amazes me that three people can pull off such a performance. They moved from the light effervescence (that’s really the only word I can use to describe it) of “Hold It In” to a wild, crashing version of “Static.” Both Tommy and Ben have such distinct voices, and their harmonies mesh so well. After Jack’s played, Corinne and I hung around the merch table and I, a bit starstruck, shook their hands and told them what an amazing show it was and how I’d wanted to see them live for such a long time and etc., etc. They were so sweet and so genuinely modest and as I turned to leave, Ben grabbed my hand and said, “Wait, what’s your name?” I told him I was Devan and he grinned and said he was Ben and said he was so glad I came and that it was so nice to meet me and I just blushed and thanked him again profusely and walked out into the cold Chicago air more than a bit giddy.
And of course, of course, there was Jack’s. Six times and I still love every moment of it. Some people are just born to play music, and Mr. Andrew McMahon is one of them. As a sold-out crowd yelled, “Fuck yeah, we can live like this!” at the top of their lungs, the sound floated up to the rafters and filled the entire hall.
As we walked out, Corinne said, “As always, he puts on a hell of a show.” Couldn’t agree more. All I know is that I needed last night. When Andrew launched into that opening harmonica solo to close out the show with “La La Lie,” I was smiling wider than I have in month. I’m in this strange city, stressed and sad and sick, but last night was a bit of a reminder that there are wonderful things in this world. This is what going to church should feel like.