High Anxiety, The Evens and Fort Reno
They've moved on, they're older now and pursuing families and lives of their own, and guess what: you're older too. You're out on your own, making your rent and making your own music -- you don't need Fugazi to be your abstract rockout superheroes anymore.
Amy Farina's drumming is tighter and tighter every time I hear her, and Ian's guitar retains its signature chingly changly semi-disco kinda African but totally rockin' sound. The Evens are not giants, they are not legendary, but they are very, very good, and to lie back in the tall grass surrounded by kids and dogs and good friends and hear a very good band is one of life's greater pleasures.
That's not to say that I have an easy time participating in that pleasure.
For some reason, every time I get around a large crowd, I freak out a little bit. I have to ditch whoever I'm there with and just go for a big fat walk, circling the crowd and bisecting it, then bisecting the bisections until I've gotten a good read and a long look at every face there. I can feel the flickering of a million conversations and the tracings of billions of pairs of eyes like tiny insect feathers across the back of my eyes.
I love walking against the flow of human traffic at large protests and just surfing the waves of humanity at the beach, rock concerts, even the mall at Christmas. It's hard to be sure, but I think I turn invisible, dropping out of my 6'2" frame and becoming a ghostly floating pair of eyeballs bobbing through the night. Nobody sees me and I see everyone and I can't sit still.
Then one of my friends, quite understandably, goes to talk to me and I come slamming back to earth. I always get a little irritated but underneath it all, I'm really sorry -- it's just that I can't sit still. I can't be here now, or be any one place now. I just want to be someplace else, floating past the next person, hearing the next conversation, shifting, moving, pacing like a giant dog trampling circles for a makeshift bed.
I always see a ton of people I know or kind of know, turn visible for just long enough to chat and split, fading back into floating eyeballs as soon as nobody is paying attention. It's like I'm a phantom running for office.
Then finally it all collapses and so do I, back in the grass, surrounded by people who understand me and love me anyway. You guys know exactly who you are, and you're great.