Monday, July 22, 2013

The thing about South Broadway is, it's the only major artery that runs through my body. There's a metaphor here, somewhere, for my bloodline, this city, my hometown, the music that fills these bars, these streets, especially one weekend every year in July. Something about how the Hi Dive is my heart. How if I hadn't seen Born in the Flood 7 years ago when I was just 18, I wouldn't have any of this, might not feel like these names of these people and these bands are what would appear in my cells if you looked at them under a microscope.


Last night, front and center, I stood almost against the railing at the Main Stage in the Goodwill parking lot while my favorite band finally played the UMS again for the first time since I was someone I no longer am. I used to keep a little notebook by my bed that listed every Born in the Flood show I went to. I was that girl. When they broke up, I compared it to the end of The Beatles, got scorned by DW and JL outside The Thin Man under a tree of hanging lamps. When I was 19, I walked up to the little stage in the backyard of South Broadway Christian Church, back when the UMS was only two days long. I told NR that his music meant everything to me. I did the same thing sometime last year, in Hollywood, at an almost empty merch table while talking about home state tattoos. I know how fan girl this all sounds, but understand:

I never felt like someone until I felt connected to home. I never felt safe until I found all these places to go, to see music, to hear people who love this town as much as me play songs that assured me I was in the right place. Born in the Flood did that for me. I remember standing, wide-eyed in the Ogden as Nathaniel Rateliff yelled everything he had into a microphone, near tears. I remember driving my little brother all the way up to Boulder to see Born in the Flood in what is basically a basement on the CU Boulder campus, just so I could share this part of who I was becoming with my only sibling. I remember a particularly bad day at work, sliding down a wall in my sad waitress uniform, the lyrics to "There and Missing" running through my head. The bright orange and green of The Corner Office and The Curtis Hotel, my place of employment at the time, still appear when I listen to certain songs on If this thing should spill... Every calculus test I studied for in college while listening to that album. Every time I screamed there is no fear in love to the stars from the passenger seat of a car, screamed it like I believed it, because I did believe it, because I was 19 and I didn't know a goddamn thing.

Last night, I got to dance my heart out, got to dance my feet raw under my own vast Colorado sky. I got to scream there is no fear in love like I was 19 again. I got to scream loud enough every word to every song that my entire body felt like it might catch on fire.

No other band has given me this. This connection to my roots. To my home. To Colorado. To Denver. No other band has made me want to build an entire new world for myself out of their music and the music of their friends. I would miss my own wedding to see a Born in the Flood Show. I would drive 1,000 miles. Just to feel that connection to myself. I used to walk around 16th Street with headphones in the snow. I used to recall seeing those boys on stage that very first time, NR singing, do you think in terms of fire and dust/and does it level all that stands? me nodding along, knowing that from then on, everything would be different, that I found a place to belong.

Born in the Flood got back together last year in December of 2012. I was ecstatic when I bought tickets to their reunion show at The Gothic. Unfortunately someone very important to me passed away that week, and even though I went to the show anyway to dance out some of the grief, I couldn't do much other than cry. So this show, outdoors, UMS, mid-summer, was what I'd been waiting for forever. And even Born in the Flood will tell you, forever/that's a hell of a wait.

The UMS itself was wonderful this year. Though I do miss the days of sitting on a stack of oriental rugs watching Gregory Alan play songs off that album he recorded all alone back in the day. And I miss Bela Karoli. And I miss that time Houses owned the Hi Dive for a night. But we've still got good folks here. Amazing musicians. Committed artists. Friends. Everything that makes Denver the incredible place it is considering everything that it lacks as a major city. I will never miss this weekend. Here were my shows this time:

Thursday:
The Centennial. Hi Dive. Midnight. I was at their first show at the UMS 3 years ago.

Friday:
Sweet Tooth Meat Tooth. Irish Rover. 7pm.
The Raven and the Writing Desk. Irish Rover. 8pm.
Miss America. Gary Lee's Motor Club. 10pm.
Chimney Choir at 11pm, which isn't pictured because Gary Lee's was so packed, I couldn't even breathe, let alone reach for my camera. And, like the old person I now am, I bailed on A. Tom Collins after decided I didn't want to wait in the massive line outside of 3 Kings. Because a massive line outside meant a packed crowd inside. And I'd had enough sweat for the day by midnight.

Saturday:
Somerset. Hi Dive. 1pm. Sadly Somerset was the only band I saw on Saturday
because I went to a friend's going away party the rest of the evening. Bummed
to have missed The Blue Rider and Snake Rattle Rattle Snake, but sometimes
love trumps bands I've already seen.

Sunday:
Residual Kid. Hi Dive. 6pm.
So here's the deal: I was going to see Ian Cooke, and then M was like, you
HAVE to come to the Hi Dive to see these 12 year olds. So I waited in a hell
of a line. But I got in.
These kids TORE UP the Hi Dive. They broke the ceiling. There was crowd
surfing. There was somewhat of a mosh pit. Like nothing I've ever seen.
The lead singer of Residual Kid on some dude's shoulders
In The Whale. Hi Dive. 8pm.
In The Whale made us get on the ground. At the Hi Dive. And we did, because
RESPECT.
Born in the Flood. Goodwill Main Stage. 9pm. Both this photo and the one
below it are from heyreverb.com. I did not take them. I'm posting them because
I am in both of them.
Off in the upper left corner, a blur of joy. You can see M next to me, bearded.

And here's what else happened:
I met M the second night of the showcase. He plays bass in this band. He
gave me their album. Now we are friends. Music=friends. See how that works?
G-Hicks introducing Born in the Flood. Our governor is better than your governor.
Shadow of my front bun, because 100 degrees.
This.
In The Whale being even more awesome.
We dunked her 3 times.
Love & Music & South Broadway

This is my home. Because this is where my heart is. This is where I grew up. Because this is where I learned what it means to be a person. This is the place and these are the people that changed my life. Because I think in terms of fire and dust, and it levels all that stands.

2 comments:

Residual Kid said...

Thank you very much for your kind words, covering our show(s) at The UMS, and spreading the word about Residual Kid! We had a blast and hope to be back in Denver very soon! It was one of the best weeks ever, and we were already invited back for next years festival!

www.facebook.com/residualkid for updates! We're going to share your UMS post!

YOU RULE!

Ali Rachel Pearl said...

Y'all were incredible. Brought some awesome surprises onto the scene. I'm usually in LA, so hopefully I'll find you there sometime.