Bombadil

Last night we chaperoned a show at Cat’s Cradle.  “Chaperoned,” because other than a handful of other outliers, I’m pretty sure I was at least double the average age of the crowd.  Didn’t matter.  I loved the show.  I knew I’d love the show.  It was Bombadil.

They usually have funky jackets with scrolls and patches and insignia all over them, which are badass in a quirky kind of way.  Tonight, all four of them took the stage in head-to-toe white.  I knew we were in for something special.  If you have never seen someone do an on-his-knees electric guitar flourish while rocking a white suit, well, I’m sorry to tell you, you’ve missed out.

Bombadil’s music is smart, and beautifully composed, and unexpected, with tight harmonies and surprising swells and turns and quiet moments.  The vocals are soulful.  You could say they specialize in lyrics that are offbeat and a little (or a lot) deliberately awkward, like this song:

And really, isn’t this song what it’s all about?  Awkward isn’t quite right, though.  What it is, is human.  I’m guessing if you listen you’ll find more than a song or two in which you see yourself pretty clearly.  Maybe this one:

or maybe that one’s just for me.  But I doubt it.

In my opinion, where you want to be at a Bombadil show is just behind the piano.  That’s where you see some of the most startlingly beautiful parts of the music unfold.  Stuart and Daniel traded off at the piano last night, once with Stuart doing a show-stoppingly gorgeous prelude and Daniel slipping seamlessly in for the body of the song.  These are the places where it becomes clear that this isn’t just a band, these are gifted, gifted musicians.  It’s really a lovely thing to watch.

I can’t pick a favorite, because it varies by day.  But hands-down Julia loves this one the best.  I think it’s got a perfect balance of patience and restraint, and flat-out intensity at the end.  I love the slow build.

After the show, we walked to the parking lot past the ice cream truck, at which point I did a 180 degree turn and was walking backwards while reading the menu.  I am not the least bit interested in ice cream, ever.  But Julia and Willow saw me walking backwards and said, “Wait, do you want ice cream?” and I said, “Yes yes yes I do.”  Willow got cake batter ice cream.  Julia got raspberry chip ice cream.  I ordered cookies and cream.  The guys started my cone and were really apologetic that they were about to run out of cookies and cream, so they asked if they could top me off with a second scoop of a diff….”Raspberry!” I told them, before they even finished asking.  “Wow!” they said.  “Girl knows what she wants!”

Turns out they had plenty of cookies and cream, so they went ahead and finished off the tub with a giant scoop on my cone, but since they had already offered me raspberry, they gave me a giant scoop of that, too.  My ice cream cone was bigger than my head.  It was magnificent and drippy and sticky, and midnight ice cream about once a year is the ideal way to end a night.  I didn’t say a word for ten minutes while Julia and Willow behaved like adults and carried on a civilized conversation, politely pretending I wasn’t involved in an epic battle to finish my ice cream before it melted all over me.

September, y’all.  Can’t wait to see what the fall brings.

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