We went to see Sean play the other night. It has been awhile. I can’t even remember the last gig, the last time I
saw heard Sean. How sad is that? I have been missing the music. That is for sure.
The night started simply enough. Dinner at the Albany Pump Station. If you haven’t been you need to go. For the hoppy people there are plenty of beer selections and for the foody people like myself, plenty to chose from on the menu. We were told there would be an hour wait when we first arrived so the boys ordered brews and I busied myself with texting a friend. I was secretly, no – I’ll admit it, openly hoping he would swing by for a few minutes. It’s been too long. Within twenty minutes we had a booth designed for either lovers or patrons with flashlights. I don’t remember the restaurant being as dark the last time…(?) But, the food was good and the company, even better. We had nachos piled high and amazing sandwiches with fries (with vinegar- only had to ask twice).
While dinner was great it marked the end of simplicity. Sean’s venue, the Marketplace Gallery, was in an interesting location. We had no problem finding the address. We just couldn’t believe where we were. We asked Where Are We? a lot. The area was definitely industrial. Poorly lit streets littered with trash. Not a sign in sight. If a black cat or a ghost had crossed our path I wouldn’t have been surprised. Sean’s website said the show started at 7:30pm and people were starting to pull in and park around us. We hesitantly began to feel like we had the right place. A mailbox inside the door confirmed our hunch and indicated we needed to climb two floors up. We complied still questioning. Where are we again?
If we hadn’t run into Sean in the hall I would have definably had my doubts. Everyone we passed was art personified. Young art. Colorful art. Drinking art. Hip art. Too cool for me art. I felt like an ancient redwood standing in a forest of tender saplings. I felt like I had crashed someone’s going away party. Sean’s hug was reassuring if not his words, “you are really early. I don’t go on until 9pm-ish.” It ended up being more like 9:45pm-ish but it was well worth the wait.
There is something about Sean’s voice that people always rave about. Soulful and sage. He can reach into your psyche and pull out emotions you didn’t even know you had tucked away. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. It’s the songwriting that grabs me tight. The words lock themselves around me until I am constricted and concrete. Frozen to every utterance. I cannot breath for wanting more. ‘Wet’ will always be the song that devastates me. The imagery is strong like whiskey, hard to swallow and burning. Yet, there is a warmth that bubbles from within. I cannot explain it any other way. Until recently ‘Wet’ was Sean’s last song of the set list. After each show I would be sent out into the cool night air with words of abuse ringing in my ears and tears stinging my eyes. This night at the Gallery Sean started with ‘Wet’ as filler while waiting for a friend. I didn’t have time to drink in the poison. Probably a good thing. I did not swallow. I didn’t cry.
The rest of the show was distracted and disconnected. Because I spent most of the night staring at airbrushed images of Jason Voorhees’s face on a toilet seat and a buxom vampire on a skateboard the music took on a surreal quality. From where I sat I couldn’t see Sean at all. It was if he had become an angst-filled devil wailing behind the wall of coffins and caricatures.
The best thing to come out of the trip was hearing new music. Everything Sean touches is Magic – pun partially intended. I dare you to listen to his words and not be moved. I hope there is a new album in the works. Then I won’t be asking Where are We because I will know. Heaven.
Sorry – no set list this time. From where I sat I had an incredibly hard time understanding the introductions to the new songs. As for the “old” songs he busted out Wet, Old Black Dodge, American, Jonathan, Surprise and Night. Definitely not in that order. You can check out a video of American here.