Last night, May 1st…

(also the 3rd b-day of my 3 yr old nephew who must have drenched himself in the river of cuteness)

….Tac and I attended our first Aqualung concert.  It was also our first time being in The Triple Door; the venue.  It was built in the 20′s and has been preserved very nicely and had wonderful acoustics.  It was really different from our usual show, we even sat down in a comfy booth, enjoyed the classy atmosphere and the company of two wonderful people sitting next to us. Hi Mary and Jonas!

Aqualung plays Seattle with special guest Krista Polvere

I have been enthralled with Matt Hales from the first time I heard him sing and play at a listening station in a music store.  I remember so well that we were on our way out, but the cd caught my eye and I had to listen and I knew in less than 30 seconds that we were buying it, and that I was about to be wonder-struck.

Last month Aqualung released an album titled “Magnetic North.”  At first I wasn’t sure if I would love it as much because some of the songs were happier and enthusiastic; not at all what I have loved or expected from Matt Hales.  But that turned out to only be a few of the songs, and the others were much like his other material, but not exactly either.  I think I’m trying rather unsuccessfully to say that I grew into loving this album with all of the qualities that I already knew I had a strong attachment to and the new ones as well.

Most of the show consisted of Matt Hales at his piano with nothing but a microphone.  Simply put, it was enchanting.  He is magical on his piano and his voice is fabulous.  His lyrics are clever and intelligent, but in an open and unambiguous way.   He sings love songs, he said last night that he is a romantic guy.  I loved his interaction with the audience, Tac said that was actually his favorite part of the show.

About the show…I can’t remember every song that played, my memory isn’t the greatest, and when I’m watching that is all I’m doing.  I don’t want to think about writing or eating or breathing, I only want to soak in every note and sound and feeling.

I do remember however, certain songs such as: “Pressure Suit,” “Something to Believe In,” “Finger Tip” which he introduced to us as having the word “do” in it a lot,  “My New Friend,” “Reel Me In” and “Thin Air,” which he told us was his most romantic song.  I loved hearing details like that, and if you have not heard that song then I will attest that is is incredibly romantic.

“Sundowning,” one of my most favorites from Magnetic North was preceded with Matt telling us about a documentary he watched on dementia and the term sundowning being about the feelings and confusion that can be associated with the sun going down and shadows and darkness appearing.  Then he explained that he used it in more of romantic relationship context, but the meaning remained intact.  That added so much to the richness of the song.

Towards the end of the performance he told us that he would play a few more songs and then he would stop and go back stage, but that he could also be persuaded to come back out and do a few more.  Can I tell you how much I adore this person and his sense of humor in dealing with the weirdness that I have previously referred to about the encore?

He “ended” with “Strange and Beautiful” and just as promised came back shortly.   The encore included “Easier to Lie,” an awesome favorite of Jonas and Mary, “7 Keys,”  which in my opinion one of his best songs, “Breaking My Heart,” which used to make me cry on demand while reading New Moon, and for his last song he played “Brighter Than Sunshine” and asked us to sing along with him.

As some of you read last week, I hurt my self in a bike wreck.  After an MRI we found out that I actually fractured my shoulder and pulled some tendons in my rotator cuff.  Because of this it really hurts me to clap, but Matt was so good that I was doing it anyways.  Tac, who is always taking care of me clapped loud enough for two so I didn’t have to.  He’s pretty sweet.

In closing: I dote on, delight in, am sweet on and nuts about Aqualung!  Also, he puts on a marvelous show.

If you want, you can listen to some of his stuff here.

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Seattle has given me a boost -  in concert attendance.  I am the proud ticket owner for two upcoming shows, both of which I have been “hoping against hope” I would get to see someday.   I think everyone who knows me is aware that I am going to see Muse next month.   While I don’t break into spontaneous clapping and jumping anymore when I think about it, I’m still purely delighted as the big day approaches.

One month later, I will be sitting in a nice little club while Matt Hales/Aqualung makes my ears purr.   Years ago after discovering that I loved Aqualung, I read the wonderful news in the Boise Weekly  that he would be performing that month, unfortunately that particular day had already come and gone.   Another time I remember getting so excited because he was going to be in San Francisco, and then I did the math on just how far away that was from us and how impossible it would be for us to leave like that.   So, when I read that he was coming to Seattle on his really small tour, I did a happy dance, sent Tac a hyper text message and bought tix!

Aqualung is on the mellow end of my musical cup of tea, but I find that I can listen to it at any time.   Some bands require me to be in a certain mood, Aqualung is is always choice to me.  

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Image by Jehsuk via Flickr

I think I still feel like a 6 yr. old when the UPS truck pulls up in front of the house, especially when I know that I ordered the new AquaLung album just days before that. I hadn’t even seen the song list when i ordered it, I was in a hurry and knew that I would love it no matter what. So what a surprise when I started playing it and the first song was “7 keys” which could possibly be my favorite song by Matt Hales.

I knew that some of the songs were new and different versions of previous songs, and that was especially wonderful because the songs he picked are from singles that I have, and love so very much. They include “Can’t Get You out of My Mind,” “7 keys,” “Nothing Else Matters,” “When I Finally Get My Own Place.”

Two of the new songs have really captured me. “Arrivals” is the final song on the album and it begins with beautiful and delicate sounds that I would guess were bagpipes, but that’s an uneducated guess. It continues with the piano and Matt’s voice which is AS ALWAYS lovely and full of emotion.

“Good Goodnight” starts with touching and simple words, made all the sweeter because of the piano and voice that accompanies them. I added this song to my “Twilight” play list on my ipod, I have not even been obsessing over those books lately but this song in my opinion could be the ultimate twilight song because of the lyrics and emotion. It doesn’t have anything to do with vampires or high school though, so don’t worry if you don’t like Twilight, you can still love this song.

A big first for me was also on this album, I actually don’t like one of the songs. I just can’t like “Mr. Universe” (sorry Matt), and that is the first song by him that I don’t pretty much love.

The genre section on my itunes labeled this album as “unclassifiable” which I found rather fitting. I know that I couldn’t classify it. My four year old yelled to the front of the car that he didn’t want to listen to that anymore, he wanted a band. To him a band includes your normal guitars and drums. So he would not put it in the band genre I guess.

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Cover of "Tale to Tell"
Cover of Tale to Tell

I have been waiting a very long time (at least a year, which, put in the Jen time converter is equal to centuries) for The Mummers album to come to life. I have had to make due with their two songs I was able to purchase last year, circulating as many playlists on my ipod as I could think of.

The Mummers truly have their own lovely sound, they have a band; more like an orchestra, that accompanies Rice’s voice so nicely. Its tricky, I think anyways, to get the right sound with that kind of a band. It seems like it would almost be too scary to try. But The Mummers pull it off, with almost a magical effect, like when the horn player isn’t busy he’s sprinkling fairy dust or something. They even practice in a tree house.

They are a local band in Brighton, England, and if I ever get to go to England I am planning my trip around one of their shows (and Aqualung if I could be so lucky).

See below as they perform one of the songs from the new album: “Tale to Tell.” I really like this album.

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