went to see bill callahan (a/k/a smog) last night at niceto. it was real good. he started out playing a whole string of favorite songs: river guard, our anniversary, blood red bird, i can’t remember what else. i feel like the mother of the world. rock bottom riser.
in truth it was my third or fourth? time seeing him. a few years ago i was in the height of my smog obsession and he came to play a few nights in new york and friend of a friend was working for the tour and he put me on the list to get in free, so i went to the show three nights in a row, without getting tired of it at all, only an increasing illusion that bill callahan was really my imaginary boyfriend because we were hanging out together every night. by “hanging out” i mean he was playing beautiful sad songs for me and 200 other people. i think at the bowery ballroom show i saw nick nolte descending from the balcony. he looked like the walking dead. at the hoboken show, bill callahan asked “what do you want me to play for the encore?” and i shouted “held!” and he made a face and said “okay, really I don’t want to hear what you want me to play. i am just going to play what I want” and he did not play held. maybe he hates that song. maybe everyone always asks for that one. it’s my favorite. he didn’t play it last night either. the weird thing at the show last night was that at various points during the show, three people fainted near me. they weren’t hanging out together or anything. they happened like twenty minutes apart. creepy. each time everyone was very polite about making way while they were carried outside. drugs? bad ventilation? the shittiest thing about Niceto Club is that there is really no ventilation and everyone smokes like crazy. The best thing about Niceto Club is it’s like four blocks from home.
anyway, i haven’t listened to smog so much in the past year or two, though i still love him. so it made me think of moments from the past. sitting alone in the moldy basement at 206 skillman all day, making things out of paper and glue, and listening to the “supper” disc which Ben B had burned for me. Or drawing in my room at night when I lived upstate in Rosendale, hearing the sound of crickets and coyotes outside and listening to “knock knock.”
it’s music for quiet times.