The week before SxSW 2011, Clayton and I visited The Opolis in Norman to catch a new band on their way to Austin. Their first album was about to be released or had just been release and he’d heard some great buzz about them. And the tickets were cheap. And we weren’t doing anything that night anyway.
The band was The Head and The Heart and they were phenomenal. I don’t mean they were good or fun or cute or Not Boring. I mean they were a rare phenomenon in our music seeking experience. The songs were beautiful and interesting. Pop-py, folky, catchy. They were passionate give-it-your-all performers. If you could only see the stage you’d think you were seeing them play for 5,000 people.
I looked around that night and couldn’t believe I was watching them with about 24 other people.
We downloaded the music and synced to our phones. Over the next couple of weeks I synced it to my heart. I hate being trite, but that’s my truth. I fell in love with an album not much longer after I had fallen in love with a boy. I had shared that experience with him, too, which made it all the more special.
We missed The Head and The Heart at SxSW but were thrilled to discover they’d be playing the Telluride Bluegrass Festival a couple of months later as we made our summer vacation plans. They played early in the week, early in the day which is code for: no one knows who they are. They were booked for a Nightgrass show. In fact, they were booked for the only Nightgrass show that wasn’t yet sold out. Before their set finished, Clayton scooted over to the box office before we missed our chance.
That Nightgrass show a couple of weeks later was a musical luxury that I rarely experience. It was held in a high school auditorium and maaaaybe held 300 people and they were all there, voraciously, at midnight, to see The Head and The Heart. We all knew the words to every song. Clayton and I, ever the indie dorks, rushed the stage and were treated to a night of joy.
Imagine the thrill of learning that The Head and The Heart would be playing Austin City Limits Music Festival. We would now be seeing them FOUR times this year!
We should have quit while we were ahead.
Sunday we were running late for the festival. We were almost jogging the mile and a half into Zilker Park and missed the first 20 minutes of their 1 hour set. 3,000 people (literally) had beat us to the stage and as we were chatting and weaving our way through the crowd we lost each other. He said something and I responded to him. I turned to say something else to him and he was g o n e.
Author’s note: I started this post (everything before this note) on or around September 30 and promptly abandoned my blog for several months for no apparent reason. Thus is the life of the fledgling blogger.
What I do remember about that performance: I tried to be real, real cool and just enjoy the concert. Enjoy the concert already, Freak! But mostly what I did was listen to these perfect perfect songs and cry behind my sweaty sunglasses because the love of my life wasn’t right there with me to hear all these perfect songs. Neither of us knew why we got separated in the crowd that day other than that stage and its position in the festival makes for difficult maneuvering. I went on living and breathing.
About 2 weeks ago we watched the Austin City Limits performance they recorded the night before the above mentioned show. Guess who gripped her lover’s hand and cried through the viewing? The Head & The Heart was the soundtrack to one of best years of my life and the very best year of my heart. Worth every embarrassing tear.