Tuesday, June 21, 2011
My best friend from high school and I were essentially the same person. So it is fitting she would be sitting next to me at such a pivotal moment in my life. "I have something to show you." So simple, yet it changed everything. The first few bars of Rilo Kiley's "Execution of All Things" filled her Honda Civic, and I sat awestruck. I was 15, and music just started making sense to me. I had always loved music, but this moment was a moment years of choir, guitar classes, and music theory couldn't teach me, it was a moment I had to feel. This was the moment I felt it, and it blew me away. It was like finding the missing piece to a puzzle I'd finished, but given up on. This is when my love affair with all things Rilo Kiley began. Execution of All Things, to this day, is the only song in my iTunes library with 5 stars. BOOM!
Under the Blacklight, was a hard record for me to get through, it started out strong and just hitting an unfortunate wall and became just about Jenny Lewis. I loved that record, but I loved it because it sounds like the last date you go on before you're about to break up with someone feels. It sounds like those last moments you laugh at their stupid jokes or talk about all the Saturdays you woke up early to beat the brunch crowd. It sounds like when you realize it's over, but you're glad you had this one last happy moment. The tour supporting the record felt like the break up, with the band playing a song off the Jenny Lewis solo record, while showing nothing representative of Blake, and The Elected.
I think Rilo Kiley fans then had two options, you were a "Jenny" or a "Blake."
A "Jenny" of course was talented. Collaborating with the best in the business, Ward, Gibbard, Oberst, oh and freaking Costello. A Jenny was on the front lines with cute bangs, and outfits, and album covers. All reviews were glowing. A Jenny, is kind of the obvious easy choice.
I, however, am a "Blake." A Blake has spent the past few years in the shadows. I hadn't even heard anything about him, even after making Mike Bloom, [his Elected counterpart] rice-a-roni after his last Phoenix show and demanding some answers. A Blake is the brains of the operation. The sweet honest spots. A Blake is the heart of the project.
The release of The Elected, Bury Me in My Rings, seems to really fill in the gap between the "hiatus" of Rilo Kiley in 2007, and now. Their first release in 5 years, reminds me why I loved Rilo Kiley so much, with songs like "Babyface" and "Go For the Throat" providing the listener with that missing piece in the recent Jenny Lewis projects. [That's right, I said it]
It was honestly an honor to see Blake and The Elected back in action this past Monday night at the Sail Inn.
The Elected played a tiny 9 song set. While opening with, "Babyface" off their recent release, their tiny set did highlight all the "fan favorites," even playing a cover from a "pretty dope ass band" Rilo Kiley's "Ripchord." The band playing as a three piece which left the songs super stripped down, [Blake kept commenting about this, "Sorry, we haven't really done this before."] but each member knew what they were doing, and the songs all took on a different, more charming character from the versions we were all used to. The violin playing, that doesn't usually grace "Greetings in Braille," made my favorite Elected song simply blissful.
The crowd tried to plead for more songs, but Blake was just not having it. So, one of our fantastic Zia customers went over and pleaded with Mike Bloom, and he kindly obliged. To a small crowd outside Mike played some of his own songs while Blake sang backing vocals. It was refreshing to see. It wasn't about who Blake was or that it was his show, it was about creating something beautiful. It was a powerful moment... Until a man wearing a balloon panda hat showed up and said, "I'd like to make a request... I want you to play some chords and I'll sing."
I could not keep it together. It was the oddest, funniest request I'd ever heard and I just could not control myself. After some back and forth, Blake left to tear down, while Mike continued to honor this mans request. "No, more like this." and, "You'll get the hang of it." It was out of control and by this point I was not the only onlooker that was laughing from confusion. Eventually, the balloon panda hat man stated, "Alright, it's that Jason Mraz song!" Mike muttered quietly and politely to me, "Yeah, I don't want to play a Jason Mraz song." and handed his guitar to the guy.
This show reminded me of everything I truly love about music, we are a community. Community can be your religion, or your politics, or your neighborhood, or school, but my community is who I share experiences like this with. My community is people who just love music.
Welcome back Blake, so good to hear from you, let's not make it so long next time.
Posted by Zia Records Blogs at 9:45 AM