Last night, Micah and I drove to Austin for a Trace Bundy concert.
We dined at the Beal Street Restaurant, the dimly lit tavern with walls covered in Elvis paraphernalia, business cards and BB King concert posters. Micah: Fish and Chips and beer. Myself: Garlic Hot Wings and Coke. Dessert: Hot Fudge Brownie a la Mode. Way too much dessert. Officially: I am my own worst enemy. So it goes.
We alternately watched two different tv shows in silence, rushing to read the subtitles race across the screens. On the left: Alton Brown acting out something weird that seemed to have nothing to do with cooking whatsoever. Micah was confused, so I told him that is just how the show goes. He's quirky. On the right: Awful stories about kids almost dying from drinking energy drinks or jumping out of windows. Too many scars for dinnertime entertainment. But we did learn our lesson about energy drinks (being, don't drink them. Ever.) Yikes.
We strolled up and down 6th street, weaving our way past the pedestrians, and past the mindlessly chattering bikini-wearing, hoola-hooping girls outside of one particular restaurant. Argh. That sort of thing never fails to anger me. Really, you would think it would be illegal or something. Like... soliciting or just being gross in general. And then, amid the bicycles, the ancient stone buildings, and the strolling couples, it occurred to me. Austin can be pretty well summed up in this: skinny jeans and tattoos. Seriously. It was overwhelming, how this theme so consistently ran throughout the crowd. I felt prudish and simple in my white bohemian skirt, grey sweater and eggplant blouse. I felt young. Too young. So I went and bought some skinny jeans and got a tattoo.
Finally, there was a line forming outside of The Parrish venue. We waited, walked up the stairs, got our hands stamped, and picked our seats in the intimate, dimly lit room. Second row seats. Micah, amazingly enough, met Mr. Bundy in the restroom, who was putting in contacts. He found out that Micah's birthday is today, and was shocked. Apparently, there was another Micah at the concert whose birthday was last night. So he promised him a birthday song.
Cort Carpenter was a very impressive opener for the show. I am baffled by anyone who plays a guitar while playing the harmonica. I just am. Although, I had this weird memory of watching The Mario Brothers movie, with all of those awful monsters wearing those harmonicas. But I digress. It was good. Thank you, Mr. Carpenter.
Next, Jonah Werner. Trace Bundy's childhood friend, and a very impressive performer. Witty, humble, hilarious, and extremely talented singer, rapper, and guitar player. Very good with that...um... looping thing? Obviously I know nothing about that, but he kept clicking petals to record and play back the sounds he was making on the guitar, and it was very very cool. His overall performance had a nice flow, with one overall story being told throughout the songs. He even told a story about awkward teenage romance in the 80's-90's, about a mutual love for moon boots, tang, and toast. Very sweet and funny. So much fun.
Finally, Trace Bundy gave a fantastic performance. It is one thing to listen to his music on c.d. But it is a completely different thing, and much better thing, to watch him play the guitar. Really, I couldn't help but imagine God deciding to invent this thing called a guitar, and creating all the different sounds it could make. That is what it was like, watching him play. It was like watching God invent the guitar. Even from the way he holds the guitar, it is a completely different instrument than the guitar the rest of the world plays. It is like he knows the guitar personally, and understands it like nobody else does, coaxing it to make all of these beautiful melodies that only he and the guitar and God know. Incredible. He also played drums and guitar on his iPhone, which was amusing and shocking and, well, funny. But very good. You could tell that he was having so much fun. Which made it so much fun.
And it was quite a delight for Micah to have Trace Bundy perform a birthday song for him. He played music, recorded it, and then somehow "reversed it", which made it finally sound similar to the traditional Happy Birthday song.
My favorite part of the show, however, was witnessing how humble the two best friends were in their performances. They were self-effacing, God glorifying, and communicated a simple, honest message of trusting God and thanking Him for their gifts. So there we were, a group of music-loving people, gathered in an intimate venue drinking beer and water and having a good time. And these two men, simply, honestly, told us about their love for God. They didn't do it with a K-Love slogan or a Jesus Fish bumper sticker or a Jeremy Camp song, or an invitation or anything. They played music. What most people refer to as "secular music", but was really God-inspired, holy music. Songs about pain, love, moon boots, tang and toast, and dueling ninjas. But God was glorified in their humility, gifts, and honesty. That just means so much more to me than what "Christian Sub-Culture" has to offer.
Well, that is my take on things. Nonetheless, we enjoyed a fantastic show, and got to meet Trace Bundy in person. And, we stayed out until 1 a.m. Not intentionally, but it happened and I'm sort of proud of that. ha.
Love. You. All.