YAY!sayer — rocking out and meeting idols

10 Sep

The night Zack and I first met, I was still riding high from the excitement of having just seen and met Yeasayer at the Austin City Limits festival*. I’d reviewed their album Odd Blood for a friend’s blog, which forced me to listen to that record about 8 times through. Since it was a grower, this caused me to totally fall in love with the band and admire their strange sonic sounds and catchy electro-pop-rock tunes.

I went to see them play at a local venue called La Zona Rosa, and even though I was deathly sick the night I saw them, it was over — I was sold. In particular, I marveled at their bass player Ira, whose fingers darted up and down his fretless bass like it was nothing. In particular, a part near the end of my then-favorite song I thought was a flute ended up being a lick played by Ira, so of course I was googly** over his talent.

*One of countless shows we were both at before we met, never knowing the other was there. There are dozens of these. We’re convinced we must have walked by each other at least once before meeting and always look for each other in pictures from those shows.

**She’s googly over all things Ira. She clutches my arm and gets a little verklempt whenever he does something like walk backstage during an opening band. 

So when I met the band at the Austin City Limits festival, I was the most taken by Ira. When my friend Melissa insisted I get a photo with the band, I scooted up to sit on the table by Ira and he shouted, “Hold my hand. Hold my hand!” I froze like a deer in headlights, completely forgetting what the words “hold” and “hand” meant*, so that I moved as if in slow motion, barely reaching for Ira’s hand and not quite making it there before Mel snapped a photo. We then awkwardly held hands briefly after the photo was taken, and it turned into a half-shake fist-bump maneuver that we both laughed off. I told him that their music inspired my friends and I to make a band, and he jumped in saying, “So what you’re telling me is you’re going to copy us.” My face went red and my eyes widened** as I said, “N-no! No, I just mean, we want to EMULATE you…” Ira smiled and cut me off, saying, “Nawww I’m just fuckin’ with you.” I about died as he thanked me for listening, and the moment I turned away from him and walked off with Melissa, I started sobbing. Just, openly weeping. I was so overcome with happiness and excitement and whatever else I was feeling, the tears just poured out of my head.

*This is what I’m saying, about the verklempt-ness

**Man, I wish I could have seen that. Caitlin takes everything super seriously, especially if it’s someone she looks up to, so I can imagine how insanely embarrassed/nervous she was. That explains the crying. A relief from the nervousness. Adorable.

Moments before I break out crying. Note the lack-of-hand-hold.

Flash forward to two years later, and I’m only slightly less goober-y about my favorite artists. Still, I was able to somewhat keep my cool (on the phone, anyway) when I was asked to do an interview with Yeasayer to preview their show at Stubb’s here in town. My mind raced — would I talk to Chris Keating, one of the lead singers? Would it be Ira?? Nope! It was Anand, with whom I had spoken the least when I met the trio at ACL. Anand, whose expression in my photo may actually be my favorite. I had 15 minutes to speak with him, which is not very much time to get deep. I fit our discussion in on a short work break in the parking lot, sitting on a curb with my tape recorder and notepad balanced between my knees*, and was ultimately pretty proud of how it all turned out.

*Definitely an impressive rogue spot to do an interview. The best I’ve done is a tie between an in-person interview on the hood of my car and a phone interview on the back of a sushi menu in the hallway of a restaurant with a tiny sushi ordering pencil.

I watched the Twitter universe as Anand sent messages to reviewers who made factual errors or misspellings in their pieces, and found myself both disappointed that it seemed he perhaps hadn’t read our interview, but relieved that at least I hadn’t made any mistakes, hopefully. I tweeted him a message expressing the relief-side of it, but assumed he’d overlooked it (I can’t imagine being a famous person on Twitter/all the messages you’d receive in a day).

Before the Stubb’s show last Thursday, Yeasayer did a ticket giveaway as they’ve done for each city on their tour. They shot out an image on Twitter and said the first 5 people to name it won a pair of passes. I’d already bought my tickets, but figured I’d give it the old college try anyway. I guessed right and ended up winning a pair of passes, which allowed me to recoup* some of the cost of the tickets I’d bought.

Zack and I went to the show straight from work, and although I was nervous we’d miss the beginning** of Yeasayer’s set, we didn’t even miss the opening act. We were able to saunter in, buy some water, and head straight to the front and up against the gate, Anand-side. I usually choose to stand Ira-side***, but after my interview with the singer/guitarist/synth player, I figured I had to stand nearer to him. Plus, it seemed less crowded and we got to be front row.

The show was absolutely breathtaking, with an amazing light show, lots of crazy sweaty dancing, and high-energy pace with old and new favorites. Zack and I had a blast dancing together, and Zack helped me acquire**** a set list when the show was over. Set list in hand, I decided I had to try to meet the band and get them to sign it.

*I’ll take credit for this one. Caitlin was ready to give the tickets away to a scalper, but I insisted on $20.

**Classic Caitlin. We didn’t even miss a minute of the opener.

***I was pretty surprised Caitlin chose non-Ira side for once, since we’d been front row Ira side when we saw them at Moody theater, and generally try to get as close to Ira as possible.

****I stood off to the side to get the roadie’s attention and pointed at Caitlin.

Zack and I wandered around back of Stubb’s by the band’s tour bus, and sat with a small group of ladies + a couple dudes, waiting for the band to emerge from the stage below*. We chit-chatted with folks around us, and then all of a sudden, Anand appeared from the depths. More than anyone else, this time around I was hoping to meet up with Anand and introduce myself as the nerdy girl who had interviewed him a few weeks back. But he quickly waved to someone he knew and then headed straight for the tour bus.

*Being the only guy there felt super awkward. The fact that we were sitting on a railing that almost collapsed didn’t help.

Somewhat deterred, I watched Chris Keating do the same, and then when Ira came out, he stayed near the protection of some people who were his actual friends. Zack and I were leaning towards leaving when all of a sudden, Chris reappeared from the bus and Anand followed close behind. While Chris was side-tracked by some tiny barefoot blondes, I was able to grab Anand’s attention, and I waved and he approached. I said, “Hey, I’m not sure if you remember me, but my name’s Caitlin and I interviewed you a couple weeks ago while I was at work — I’m the one who talked with you about the mascot with Jane Fonda’s face on Richard Simmon’s body…”

Anand said, “Yeah, hi! Hi! You won tickets tonight, right?”

I about died. He not only knew me, but knew my Twitter account name?! He asked if I hadn’t already had tickets for the night, and I explained I had and just got lucky. I asked if he wouldn’t mind signing my set list after gushing over the band’s performance, but neither of us had a pen. He offered to grab one from the tour bus, and I thanked him awkwardly as he walked off to get it. I stood there in a daze until he returned, sign the set list, “Thanks for proofreading!” and I told him I’d use that for future job interviews. I thanked Anand, we got a picture together, and that was it — I wandered off into the night, without even trying for a signature from Chris or Ira. Bonding with Anand for that brief moment was enough. I didn’t cry this time, but just grinned as big as I ever have and grabbed a slice of Hoboken pizza with Zack and we thought back on an incredible night.

Photo by the incredible Chad Wadsworth

I know many folks these days like to play it cool, acting indifferent toward famous people or artists*. I will never be that person. I am always going to be honored and amazed to be in the presence of the people I most admire, and scream at the top of my lungs from the front row** until I’m old and grey.

*We ran into Spoon lead singer Britt Daniel at our favorite bar a couple weeks ago and even though Caitlin loudly talked about Spoon to a mutual friend and kept looking at him, we resisted the urge to take a picture or bother him.

**Only multiple kicks to the head from crowd surfers will ever stop us.


One Response to “YAY!sayer — rocking out and meeting idols”

  1. k (@wornwhite) September 12, 2012 at 4:06 pm #

    i appreciate that last part. i will never ever be the person too cool to talk to the artist either. being overwhelmed by someone’s talent and getting to tell them you appreciate it is my jam. my favorite thing. love it caitlin. <3.

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