Jukebox the Ghost at the Middle East, Cambridge, MA - May 2, 2011
This night lives on as the very best night of college. It was only my third semester, fooling my bio lab partner into staying out late with me the night before our final and spending the night laughing and giggling and dancing to good music. That post, of course, leaves out the details that don't translate well into blog posts, the fact that we were such good kids at the time that we stopped breathing in panic when we thought our TA had just walked in, the fact that it was the night we decided my superpower was making guitars and cute boys appear, and the fact that I will always be ridiculously awkward and lame, throwing double thumbs up at people then giggling the whole ride home. It was our first Jukebox the Ghost show.
So last night, before that bio lab partner (now roommate and best friend) moves across the country, we went to our seventh (my eighth) Jukebox show. It was, in a way no other between has been, just as perfect as the first.
Pretty & Nice opened the show and I was hit by how much I missed indie rock. They were really good and quickly landed themselves into my "Yeah, if they're playing with someone else I want to see I'll be pumped to watch them again" category. It's no surprise to me that the most listened song on their myspace is "Tora Tora Tora" because it was cute and really indicative of their sound. They really were good, but they were just overshadowed by the awesome that was the rest of the night. For that I felt bad.
Wakey!Wakey! wound up in my "I will absolutely want to see them the next time they come through Boston" list almost immediately. Violin and keyboard and bass and drums and synth and great lyrics and good voices and it was the total package of awesome.
I have to pause though and mention the crowd. The crowd was in love and screaming and the band was obviously a little shocked by how loud and responsive we were. The crowd was full of energy and love and that always makes such a difference in how the band plays. And it was so easy to get swept up in the enthusiasm that everyone was dancing and singing and cheering and it made the whole show amazing.
But back to Wakey!Wakey! who was certainly inspiring some of this reaction. All their music was great, the lyrics were perfect, but there were a few shining moments even better than the rest. Though their stripped down piano version of "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" inspired the most giggles, "Light Outside" was one of the ones that stirred the greatest emotion. "Dance so Good" was also fantastic, as was "Car Crash." Okay, honestly, it was all amazing. They also did a stripped down version of "Got It All Wrong" that I fell in love with, just an acoustic and a violin. I can't find a version of it online so it's just going to have to live in memory.
Finally, Jukebox the Ghost. There's nothing I can say about their live show that I haven't said already. The crowd was in love, we were screaming and dancing and the band literally looked blown away a couple of times. They played two new songs and old and recent songs and filled in the middle with banter and smiles and tambourines. The reason I dragged my bio lab partner out that first night was because the very first time I saw them I realized I'd never seen anyone play the way they did and I had to share it with someone else. They play their instruments perfectly, with bouncing and crazy eyes and silly dance moves.
Fueled by memories of past shows, onstage discussions of the relative locations of Boston and Cleveland, and an adoring crowd who could not keep a clap beat to save their lives, we spent much of the night not breathing because we were laughing so hard. The crowd barely let the band leave the stage before the encore we screamed so loud, and though they told us to choose one song to play they ended up playing both to appease us. Their music is happy, heartbreaking, apocalyptic, and epic.
Perfect bookends to three years of indie concerts.