A Respectable Effort

September has been Music Month.  I didn’t plan it that way, and it’s an accomplishment I doubt I’ll be able to repeat, but the final count is:

43 bands, in 30 days.

That’s practically a band and a half per day.  It’s not a very fair count; John Vanderslice is in there twice, but then, I saw him twice. If I counted all the buskers and street bands I saw in Ireland, it would be a lot higher. 23 of the bands were at Hopscotch, but a full 20 of them were not.  Some of the artists didn’t get a fair shake, as I was Hopscotch-ing and festival-ing about and in many cases, didn’t hear a whole set.  I’d love to be more open minded, but if it’s not a good musical fit, I’m not likely to stick around long.  Nick Lowe, I’m sad to say, was the shortest fraction of a set I heard all month, but that was just a case of bad timing. I’d love to see more of him and his fabulous hair.

This month I heard music in Killarney and Dublin and Charlottesville and Hot Springs, and way out in the wilds of Cary, and down the road in Chapel Hill.   29 of these bands, however, played within walking distance of my house, and I went to most of those shows on foot.  Another reason why Raleigh is, as Boylan Bridge says, the best place to live on the planet.

Even more impressive to me than the fact that the Triangle has assembled such a fine collection of artists recently, is the fact that the Triangle has produced such a fine collection of artists.  It’s a talented place, our Axis of Cool.

I’m not going to do a rundown of Music Month favorites, because, well, I’ve been doing that all month.  I will, however, pick a favorite show.  And it was tonight, at the American Tobacco Campus,  with my favorite band, so it was the perfect way to end my music marathon.  Heading to Durham today, the weather looked ominous.  Then the wicked streaks of lightning appeared, and there was a downpour.  We feared the worst for our evening on the lawn.  But just as I pulled into town, the storm blew over, and the sunlight came out, and a gentle breeze ruffled the NC state flag hanging from the water tower.

My friend Owen was there.  It was Owen’s first concert ever, as well as his first picnic.  I’m pretty sure he’s a Chatham County Line fan now, too.  He danced a little, and was definitely trying to sing along.

We all had a table tonight, up close to the stage and beside the river, while we listened to the music and drank champagne and caught up on the last couple of months.

Carolina band, Carolina flag, Carolina fall night, Carolina baby, and Carolina friends.  It was perfect.

And it’s an hour until October.  Music Month is over. I am SO sleeping in tomorrow.

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