The last time I was at the Belly Up I high fived a hipster. The results were fascinating and hilarious; I came out after the show to see my “victim” sitting on a ledge outside being consoled by his girlfriend.
“It was a good show though, right baby?” she said with a hopeful and worried tone.
He responded with his head hung low, “Yeah it was okay…I just can’t believe that guy high fived me.”
I had apparently ruined the guy’s life. I spent the car ride home making obnoxious phone calls at 1am telling my friends the story of the wounded hipster. Why the hell did I high five him anyways? The moment had come right after Built to Spill finished an extended version of “Randy Described Eternity” and I was in heaven. It was one of those concert moments that I live for; it felt like there was no way anybody in the audience could have been on any level other than the one I was on: pure stupid bliss.
I turned around to share some love with my fellow concertgoers and I guess I ruined his night when my hand connected with his in mid-air. That type of person, the type that lets whatever their current idea of cool is get in the way of having a genuinely good time, that’s a douchebag right there. That’s the kind of guy who makes me want to throw away all my cardigans and sweet-ass old Western-style shirts forever.
Had I gotten the urge to throw up a high five at any of the people around me at the Avett Brothers show Sunday at the Belly Up, I think it would have been greeted with a hearty and welcoming slap of a hand and a goofy ass smile in tow. The amount of love the audience showed the Avetts was insane. I felt pretty bad for The Magnolia Electric Company, who opened with a set of modest, rich, and straightforward alt-country. The audience was respectful but ultimately underwhelmed, which became apparent as the place went ape shit for the Avetts’ arrival on stage. Wow. Really, San Diego? I didn’t know you had it in you. I was under the impression from your radio stations that all you really loved listening to was Social Distortion, Bob Marley, Sublime, and Linkin Park.
I was happily surprised, and so proud to be part of an audience that showed such love to this group of vibrant, happy, sincere, and hyper young men. I wish going to shows in San Diego was always like this, but sadly it’s not. I’ve seen Andrew Bird play to a group of noisy and disrespectful teenagers. I’ve seen a fight break out at a Flaming Lips show. I once sat stunned as one of my favorite musicians, Glen Phillips, got heckled by a bunch of dead-behind-the-eyes, stupidly stoned surfers waiting for their cutesy hack of a hero Jack Johnson to play his shitty songs. Suffice it to say that, when my favorite bands have come to town, I’ve been more ashamed than proud of my San Diego residency. This time was different though; this time was good. And the Avetts ate it up.
They played flawlessly for over two hours, reaching deep into their surprisingly big discography. Until seeing them live I was under the impression that all I needed from them as a fan was the album Emotionalism and a few EP’s. I was really, really wrong; the stuff they played from their earlier albums was all phenomenal. I am now on a quest to get my hands on everything they’ve recorded. They finished the night with an encore: a tune I hadn’t heard before called “Salvation Song”. The chorus to the song fit the evening perfectly, and I left the show feeling happy and alive. It was a good night to be a San Diegan.