on monday night i got a call from laurie, sometime around midnight. 'did i wake up you?' she asked, holding back her excitement. 'no,' i lied. 'ijustcamefromthemostamazingconcerteveritwassocoolandigotomeetthebandandtheyweresocoolandiplayedmyukeleleforthemanditwasamazing!' she burst forth. still bringing myself back into standard coherence, i asked what amazing concert this was. 'a group called guster', she said. i'll be darned. i had tickets to go to that show in a few days myself. i was considering giving the tickets to some friends who liked them, but earlier that i night i talked with a girl at fhe who was going to the concert, and with laurie's beaming recommendation, i'd be crazy not to go. and she told me that the opening band was really truly deeply amazing, too, and that i was supposed to talk to them afterward. sure.
as i mentioned, i invited kristing to come with me, since she has heard of 'guster'. she's also a ton of fun to do things with, so she seemed like the right choice. i don't go to a lot of concerts, and certainly not a lot of smaller indie shows like this. with the venue being some little place out in the rougher side of salt lake, i was a little curious what the crowd would be like. i didn't feel like breathing a lot of smoke of any sort that evening. as we walked up to get in line, i was happy to see that 'guster' seems to attract nice, normal people; regular people. and i'm guessing at least a third of them were byu students: friendly, polite, talkative, and regularly bathed. the place holds about a thousand people, which meant that anywhere was a good place to stand. we met up with allison [my other friend from monday night] and her friend steve, for whom guster was his favorite band. as we were talking and generally getting excited just for the concert environment, even if most of our group didn't know much about the band, it occurred to me that this was about the same size as the venue as which i was going to see 'they might be giants' in two days; here we were near the back and yet were still 30' from the stage at most. so see 'john and john' like this would be nigh unto incredible.
but that was a few days away, still.
apart from a song on the radio, i'd never heard a song by guster, but as long as i was at the concert and hadn't had to pay for our tickets, i decided to get me a guster shirt. so i did. as we were walking back to our spot in the masses, the opening band was setting up on stage. they looked like missionaries--five guy all in matching white shirts and black pants and each with a different colored tie: yellow, red, grey, green, and blue.
i've often wondered what it's like for married people to look back on their moment when they first met their husband/wife; maybe they knew things would never be the same, or maybe they didn't realize then what it would lead to.
either way, that is how i look back on the first time that i heard 'tally hall'.
five guys in ties up on the stage, they began by talking into the mic with a bullhorn, which sounded really cool as the percussionist in the grey tie beat a rhytm. green keyboardist and blue bass joined in and so the red guy began a bnl-esque whiteboy rap. i was entranced. i'd never heard anything like it. they all chimed in for the chorus, 'we're in the mini-mall, working the carnival, we like to play it all, welcome to tally hall'.
and, suddenly, tally hall was my home.
they did whiteboy rap. they played ballads, alt. rock; their sound seemed to continually change. like the barenaked ladies meets mid-era beatles, yet it didn't sound imitated at all. during a slow song they told us all to grab your sweetheart or your friend or your manfriend and dance; kristin and i gently swayed. at one point they pulled out some tiki trums and sang a faux-african song about bananas that involved both excited yelping and quite whistling. for one of their last songs, the yellow tie guy was singing very quickly through the bullhorn again and the whole thing was rocking when he suddenly stopped, looked perplexed, and turned to the red tie, confessing, 'i forgot the words'. with a little nudging he was back on track, and a few moments later jumped down into the audience and began making his way through the crowd as he sang.
unfortunately, their set eventually came to a close. i was sad. i didn't want them to ever stop. nor did i want to hear guster, no matter how good they may be. i just wanted two more hours of tally hall.
i made my way back to the t-shirt area, regretting my earlier choice. still, it never hurts to ask. 'can i return this guster shirt?' very surprisingly, the lady was willing to take it back and gave me my money [i wore it over my other shirt, so there was no significant trace of me having ever worn it]. i took two steps to my left and asked the dude working the tally hall booth for a shirt. and wore it with pride through the rest of the night.
guster did come on, and they were fine [though, in my opinion, tally hall severely outshone them]. they're scruffy alt. accoustic rockers, laid back and cool. the room was full of fans, and it was fun to see a lot of couples in their 20s-early30s who knew all the words. i didn't know the words, but danced and bopped along with the music, singing along to choruses ['chori'?] as best as i could pick them up--learning 'fa fa fa' was easy enough, though at one point i got a mouthful of kristin's hair as she was dancing and was very grateful that my date was hygiene-conscious. we took pictures, sent text messages to each other about how cool this was, and had a good old-fashioned thorough blast.
being that this is a small indie show, the band members were hanging around afterwards to talk, chat, and shoot the breeze. laurie had given me specific instructions to talk with them, as two days before she had played her ukelele for them after their show in arizona. i made my way through the crowd and talked with joe, the red tie. 'when you were in arizona a few days ago, did you meet a girl who played her ukelele for you?' 'oh yeah, laurie!' replied joe. 'i love that girl.' well, laurie would be thrilled to hear that. i then used this 'in' to talk him into a few pictures with our group. i should also use this as a forum to apologize to the dozen people who stood and waited while the four of us gathered around the 'hot sexy one' [as allison described him] and took three different pictures: thank you for your patience; we sincerely appreciate it.
earlier that evening i had loaned kristin some money so that she could buy herself a guster shirt [which she later got autographed--by tally hall, if the pictures are right]. between her shirt and my shirt, i was left with two $2 bills and a text message from laurie saying i should really buy the tally hall cd. in another act that, in retrospect, may have worn joe's kindness thin [though there was no evidence of it], i showed that i had bought a shirt, was a friend of laurie's, and had only two $2 bills but really wanted a cd. he saw that i was of a true heart and, out of sight to the crowd, passed the money down to andrew [green tie] and handed me a copy of 'marvin's marvelous mechanical museum'. i asked him to sign it; he signed his name and wrote, 'you are jeff- lucky team'.
no idea what it meant but thought it was awesome.
i went off to find the yellow tie, rob. he was my favorite from when i first saw him on stage. whereas joe was dark and handsome with long tossled hair, rob had glasses and a bland haircut. i felt an affinity with him. i again played the laurie card, and he again remembered her. i told him how much i loved the show and asked how the tie colors were chosen. initially they matched their instruments, but now they all have black instruments, so they're just the colors. cool. i had him sign my cd and got a few pictures.
as long as i had come this far, i decided to get the remaining signatures of ross, andrew, and zubin. kristin, allison and steve ran off to get some pictures with the guster guys as i sat and just enjoyed the awesomeness of the whole situation. lastly, kristin wanted a picture with all five guys, so we asked a couple of them and they agreed. we had three of them standing around waiting while the other two were talking with some other people. they called for them, told them to hurry up, and finally walked over and picked up the two and carried them back to us. kristin got her picture.
we played their cd as we drove home.
and the cd was in my car when i drove to salt lake this morning. i was prepping a camera today and they had just installed a stereo for us. so i went out to the car, grabbed the cd, and played it as many times as i dared without severely annoying anyone else around me.
i listened to it a total of eight times today and am absolutely in love with it. so i came to the conclusion that i need to send them to other six dollars, so that i will have paid full price for this cd.
epilogue: i felt like i was one of seven people who know of tally hall, and want to go forth as a missionary, telling everyone i can to buy their music. i suspect they'll be like the barenaked ladies, slowly growing a solid following then one day suddenly making it big. and so it surprised me a little to find that they're already on itunes. actually, that wasn't so bad as seeing the 150+ posts about their cd. it's like meeting an amazing girl--i want others to know they're amazing, i just want it understood that i was here first and like them most.
so, if you've made it to the end and have a dollar or two to spare, please consider downloading one or two of their songs.
i suggest starting with: 'good day', tally hall', or 'the ruler of everything' if you want their original, eclectic sound.
and if you do, please comment here what you think.