Monday, March 12, 2012

the day we went to see the head and the heart.

i am going to start this out by saying a few things.

1. i have many, many things to do. blogging is not one of them.
2. this cannot wait. this blog post cannot wait.
3. i cannot believe i am writing this blog post. i truly cannot. because this makes it real.

that being said, yesterday, jacob (the boyfriend not the best friend) and i went to see the band the head and the heart.

they are so beautiful.

i don't know if you've heard of them. you probably haven't. that's okay. they're not widely known. none of the bands i listen to are. they are indie folk rock. their only girl sings harmony and plays the violin. they have two male lead singers, and the blond one likes to wear ugly sweaters.

jacob and i went to go see them live last night in pontiac michigan.

i got the tickets for fifteen dollars each online way back in some random month like november, and they finally came mailed to my dorm room around christmas. i did not open the envelope. i tucked it away in a secret special place. while i waited anxiously for last night to arrive, i felt even more obnoxiously in love with the head and the heart, and by the time that last night rolled around, "rivers and roads" wound up in my top 25 most played songs on my ipod, which is saying something.

all through the morning i could not contain my excitement. i sat in the library yesterday afternoon practically peeing my pants. then jacob and i grabbed our to-go lunches to eat in the car on the two hour drive to pontiac, i grabbed the tickets, and we set off into the glorious sunshine to the sketchy city of pontiac.

tickets! excitement!
after being parked in by my brother's fraternity brothers, we set off on the two hour drive to pontiac. my CD player broke over spring break, so we hooked up my ipod to jacob's awkward portable speakers, and we listened to the head and the heart's only album while i tried to eat a sandwich on drive. the chocolate milk we had got warm a little bit too fast, and i was very happy with the vitamin water that i had brought, even if i almost impaled my throat on the straw. jacob took awkward pictures of scenery, and the music changed to bon iver. we anticipated a "sharp right turn" for nearly ten miles before it actually presented itself, and no, it wasn't that sharp of a turn.

outside the venue!
pontiac, my dear reader, is decently sketchy. the venue that we were at, the crofoot, was perfectly acceptable, but we were next to a rather large night club called "elektric" and there was an emery concert there at the same time. two lines awaited us. we picked the line of college aged hipsters and avoided the line of gothic punks with pink hair. we stood behind a couple that looked about our age that introduced themselves as dan and staci. they were a big part of the concert scene, from MSU, and had actually heard of alma. we spent a good hour talking to them about bands, concerts, food, and other interesting things. jacob then pointed out two hipster looking guys with matching shoes walking across the street to a cafe. one took a picture of the line with his ipad. they're important. remember them.

(it's also important to note that nearly everybody talked about after this point is a hipster. the concert was a congregation of three hundred hipster college students, except the couple in their fifties that shouted "yeah! we love these concerts like we're young!" i've decided i want to be them when i have children.)

our concert tickets said that the show started at seven. i had to pee. really badly. so i danced the pee dance up and down and took scenic pictures of downtown. at seven we were finally let into the crofoot, and i promptly went to the bathroom after buying a purple head and the heart shirt for twenty bucks. i almost broke a girl's nose opening the bathroom door, and as soon as i was done doing my business, the line of ladies with full bladders was curling out of the bathroom. i got there at a good time. we then made our way to the very front of the venue and stood directly at the edge of the stage and... waited until eight. but the background music was billy joel, and dan and i sang along. it was then that we met the old hipster couple with gray hair.

the opening band was a band from west virginia called the black girls. the lead guitarist looked like a cross between a kid i knew in middle school and daniel radcliffe. the lead singer had uncommonly tight pants, awkward glasses, and danced with his feet together. he screeched more than he sang, and halfway through their first song, jacob shouted, "THEY'RE THE MATCHING SHOE GUYS!" and so they were. the bassist stood about three feet away from me, was wearing awkward sweatpants, had long hair and a baseball cap, and simply stood there bumping up and down and pouting. he thought it was pretty cool. i thought he was rather grody. i decided that if he cut his hair, showered, and put on a sweater vest, he would look pretty fine.

a note before i continue. this was my first time at a real concert, and here i was, standing three feet away from the introduction band and two feet away from their speakers. i did not realize that a thumping bass and drum could be felt in your shins and in your throat. it was a good half hour before i could talk, and when i could, i couldn't hear my own voice.

the second intro band was from portland, oregon (surprise surprise to a crowd of three hundred hipster kids) and they had a chick bassist who played the upright like a fiend. the lead guitarist, who was once again right in front of me, was a sketchy looking dude with some weird earrings, tattooes, and played the slide guitar with really loud effects. the lead singer looked quaint enough, but when he started singing, he absolutely wailed. the sound balance wasn't that great, and i could mostly hear the awful guitar effects and the guy practically screaming into the microphone. during their last song, which was about ten minutes long, he became extremely distressed, threw down his acoustic guitar on the stage, ripped a cymbal of the drum set, threw that on his guitar, picked up another guitar, and then played that guitar so violently he broke three of the six strings.

awkward waiting photos at the crofoot!
photobombed by other hipster girl in the
they then came to the front of the stage and stood literally five inches away from my face and sang an acoustic song with only an acoustic guitar. no mics, no anything, and they were beautiful now that i could actually hear them. the drummer danced, stepped on my hand, and then showered me in his sweat. the lead singer swung his guitar violently and almost whacked me in the face. when they left the stage, all we had to do was wait for the head and the heart and take awkwardly excited pictures while they did sound checks and set up their instruments. i was seriously about to have a seizure from sheer excitement.

and then they got on stage. the head and the heart.

i don't think i can adequately put their performance into words. their album is flawless, and it is the only album where i have enjoyed every single song. their harmonies are to die for. they are incredibly talented. and they were better live than they were recorded.

the next hour and a half was a blur of screaming, trying to take pictures without a flash, and singing along to every single song. they played new songs from their upcoming album. they sang and sang and played and played and danced around the stage. they joked about how after the show they were down for partying it up at elektric next door with anybody who wanted to join them. they were flawless. they were beautiful.

he fist bumped me. it was so awesome.
they were literally five feet away from me.

when they played rivers and roads, i was crying and singing so badly i couldn't almost do either of them effectively. when they left after rivers and roads, we cheered and screamed until they came back and played three more songs. during lost in my mind, the other two bands came on stage and danced around and it was a huge dance party. i just kept pressing myself closer and closer to the stage until i was practically on it.

at the very end of the concert, the blond lead singer bent down to give fist bumps. we fist bumped. i was so excited i got dizzy. and almost wet myself.

when the concert was over and i had regained a bit of my hearing, i sat up on stage and we attempted to get a set list that was taped to the stage. some other hipster snatched the one that jacob was trying to get, but dan and staci managed to get one. stacitook a good picture of it and then she kindly gave it to us. i folded it up, took it home, and taped it to my desk in my dorm. the girls next to us stole the lead singer's beer. so much creepier than stealing a set list.

it took a long time to get out of the pot-holed broken-beer-bottled parking lot, and it was a long, tiring drive home. it was blasphemy to listen to the head and the heart on the way back, so we shouted at each other in our deafness and listened to band of horses and yawned and talked about how it had been the most awesome experience ever. we had their set list. we had been fist bumped by the lead singer. we had seen the head and the heart live for only fifteen bucks. and we had shirts to take home. staci and dan from MSU were now our facebook friends.

campus arrival: approximately two am.

monday morning class wake-up call: approximately eight twenty-four am.

back to the real world.

but yesterday, sunday march eleventh, 2012, was the day that we saw the head and the heart live in pontiac, michigan, and it was truly an experience that changed my life.

now here are some pictures for your general entertainment.

driving to pontiac!

lovely downtown pontiac.
we were literally this close! ah!

i tried to post the videos that i took. i took one of their opening set, "cats and dogs" (which of course, was terrifically fabulous).

the other video is "lost in my mind", in which the other bands came on stage and started to dance around awkwardly. you can hear me singing obnoxiously, and i was so deaf by that point i'm not sure what key i'm singing it. the rest of the crowd couldn't sing either, but really, me screaming "HOW'S THAT BRICK LAYIN' COMIN', HOW YOUR ENGINE RUNNIN'" in a very scary toneless key is rather terrifying.

here is a video of rivers and roads. so you can listen to the head and the heart. :)


  1. was there too. it was a religious experience which was fitting. it was Sunday. I had to coax my hubs to take me. He just gave me a quizzical look when I begged to go after "River and Roads" was the final song on the final episode of "Chuck"...I went to their website and saw they were going to be in Pontiac and the whining to go ensued. Since I don't ask to do that kind of stuff too often, he relented and I ordered the tickets. I too had been treasuring the tickets until I could finally use them to obtain musical nirvana. We drove from Midland, so I can relate to the journey as well. I had to be up for work at 6...ugh. Every time I felt like complaining today though all I could do was smile while I remembered just how worth it the whole thing was. I think it added 5 years to my life.
    OK, here is the kicker. I am 53. No, I didn't meet you...but there were a small, yet very wise, group of us who were there that appreciate pure musical genius when they hear it. My husband even decided he liked it :)
    Thanks for blogging on this. Even though I don't know you I'm glad we shared this experience. Peace and love :)

  2. That sounds like so much fun! Glad you had a good time :) The pictures of you and your boyfriend made me laugh for a significant period of time.

    ps: I like the sound of this band! I'm going to have to give it a try.

  3. they are so absolutely wonderful, you won't regret it! :)

  4. Hey, I saw them last week, too!! SO. MUCH. FLANNEL!!

  5. Josiah is the blonde singer! Haha he's a sweetie! I just love them so much! I've seen them 2 times in concert and if you stick around ten minutes after the concert you can get pictures and meet them and talk about useless things! Jon (the other lead singer) asked me for a pen last time we saw them!! :-)